"Clarence & Dean" - Your Story 51 Finalist

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"Clarence & Dean" - Your Story 51 Finalist

Postby TiffanyLuckey » Tue Jul 30, 2013 3:49 pm

“Heads, we get married; tails, we break up.”

“You’re drunk, Dean. Loaded.”

Clarence fiddled with his cuff links as he sat down. They were gold, a family heirloom his grandfather brought from the old country, and one of the few items not sold when the farm went under. He took care of them, which was exactly why he banished them to his breast pocket before dealing with the man on the stool immediately to his left.

“Hey,” Dean said, “just because I’m drunk don’t mean I don’t mean it.”

“Then what do you mean?” Clarence said. “What exactly do we ‘break up’ if you toss a tails?”

“This.” Dean attempted to gesture between the two of them, instead vaguely pointing between himself and the glass of whiskey Clarence had ordered as he did any other night. “Drinks. War stories. The whole shebang.”

“That ain’t much.” Clarence said.

“No, it ain’t much.”

With no other ceremony, Dean flipped the coin, Lady Liberty’s visage flickering under the dim bar lights. He caught it, then palmed it—left Clarence waiting.

“Well then? You my old ball and chain now?”

“Guess we’ll never know,” Dean said. “Bet your girl wouldn’t like it much if I was, would you Missy?”

The barmaid spun toward them, skirt flaring as a ship’s sail in a storm, worn and threadbare against her legs.

“You best watch yourself major,” she called. “I ain’t nobody’s woman, and you best not be tryin’ no funny business, or I’ll hold your beers.”

Clarence slipped from the stool, already filled from his acquaintance’s shenanigans for the night. He said no goodbyes, ignored the unfocused glance from Dean, and trudged to the door. He didn’t even pay for the untouched glass of whiskey.

There were nights Clarence dreamt about the coin. Short-lived, morphing dreams like the thunderclouds of summer. Dreams that left him twisting in his sheets, waking tangled and damp, with not the slightest memory of how the coin landed. Sometimes heads, sometimes tails, he liked to believe. Dean never palmed it in the dreams. Instead, it landed on the bar, in the burnt and bloodied grass, or bounced off a stiffened cot. He’d never admit the dreams slowly drove him mad; his mother would call it the work of faeries, those little creatures no one believed in anymore. Clarence would rather blame it on bullets and that little piece of shrapnel still trapped in his left thigh, the coin-shaped one he got in Germany after pushing Dean out of the fire.

Dean never did talk about the coin trick again. Maybe he forgot, Clarence thought. He had been drunk as all hell on the night in question, though Dean was always one to recount his own inebriated escapades. In the case that he did remember, for Clarence was a logical man—and a logical man observes from all angles—he kept quiet due to embarrassment. It’s not every day a man drunkenly proposes to a former brother-in-arms, though it remains only drunkenly that he do so. The only other option was that, as a lover of jokes, Dean had merely made a joke, then deemed it less than entertaining enough to repeat.

There came a Friday evening that Dean didn’t show up to the bar. Nothing was remarkable about this Friday aside from being the first one of May to not end in rain, and Clarence merely believed his friend late, so he ordered for both of them.

“Didn’t you hear?” the barmaid asked, the pitiful look she kept for the stumbling men that lost their wives pasted on her face.

“No, I didn’t hear a thing.”

Clarence stood and left the bar, paying for neither beer nor whiskey, and passing a coin on his way. He didn’t give the thing a second glance as he went by—he already knew.

Lady Liberty was smiling at him.

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Re: "Clarence & Dean" - Your Story 51 Finalist

Postby Backlotanimation » Sat Aug 10, 2013 5:23 pm

Nice story and writing, Keep on writing!

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