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Drunken Rambling Challenge Response
from Drunken Rambling Challenge from ATSB-2 list.
"Working on your book again?" Face asked suspiciously as he emptied the last of the rum into his glass.
"No, it's just…." Amy trailed off and then stared at her glass of rum. "I've never heard you tell Murdock to shut up before," she said quietly.
Face didn't answer. Instead he emptied the glass of rum in one swig and reached for another bottle. Amy sipped at her glass and waited. "You weren't in the van when I said that," Face finally said.
"I heard the guys talking about it. About how you were acting," Amy said nervously. "They're worried about you, I think."
"So, why aren't they here?" Face demanded, deciding to skip the glass and drink directly out of the bottle. "Did you draw the short stick?"
Amy shook her head. "Please, Face. What's going on? I thought we were friends."
"It's nothing to worry your pretty little head over, Amy," Face said, in a teasing voice.
"Trying to make me mad by being sexist isn't going to work," Amy said, firmly, taking the bottle out of Face's hands. "And you've had enough. What if Decker came in right now?"
"I'd let him take me, so long as he agreed to let me drink in peace," Face said testily, all pretense of charm gone. He took the bottle out of Amy's hand. "Go home. It's none of your business. It's none of anyone's business but mine." Amy thought a moment, then rose. Face grasped her wrist. "And don't think about calling
Amy glared at him until he released her wrist, then sat back down. "I'm not leaving you by yourself in this mood," she said, unexpectedly fierce. "Do you think that getting drunk is going to make everything better? Whatever it is, it will still be there in the morning."
"Learn that at an AA meeting, Triple A?" Face asked.
"No, common sense," Amy replied, taking another sip of her rum. "Come one, what is it? Leslie?"
"NO!" Face's reply was sharp. "Why the hell do you want to know so badly?"
"Because I'm a reporter. Reporters are nosy by nature and because," Amy said, "I care about you. I don't like to see my friends hurting."
"What do the Valley Girls say? Gag me with a spoon?" Face replied, then took a long swig of his rum. "Too mushy for me. Just give me a little tail. Some long hair, tits, and a nice ass. That'll make me feel better." He turned and leered at her. "You've got the long hair, but your tits are too small and you have too many brains. I like my women slightly dumb."
For a moment, Amy considered slapping the crap out of her dear friend, but she decided against it. First, even drunk his reflexes were faster than hers and he'd probably just block her blow. Secondly, he was just trying to push her away. Usually he'd use humor or his playboy image to protect himself, but lately he didn't seem able to keep up the pretense. He had been surly and testy, even snapping at Murdock. Things had been so bad on the last case that
Amy had noticed Face had been in a bad mood, but didn't think anything of it until she had overheard the others talking about it. Face had managed to cover up his bad mood so well that only his closest friends had sensed how bad it really was.
"But they didn't know what to do about it except give him space but keep an eye on him," Amy thought. "Typical men. Why didn't they just ask him?"
Face had returned to his bottle of rum. That was an odd choice. Face usually went for really classy mixed drinks or champagne, now he was drinking cheap rum. She looked around—cheap rum in a cheap dive. "Another bottle," Face called to the bartender.
"No," Amy said firmly. "you've had enough."
Face glared at her. The old bartender looked at both of them. "She's right, bub. Why don't you let her take you home?"
"Why don't you mind your own business?" Face replied quickly, then rose. "There are plenty of other bars."
"No, I'll get you some more rum, sit down," the bartender replied. Face sat down again and smiled triumphantly at Amy.
"Pig," she said.
"Go home, Amy," Face said wearily. "I can take care of myself."
"Obviously," Amy said. "But I can't wait to see how this ends. Though I predict it will be with you puking your guts up in an army prison barracks."
The bartender put another bottle of rum in front of Face and cleared the empty bottles and glasses away. Face and Amy sat in silence, both of them taking sips of their drinks every once in a while.
"I'm sorry for saying the things that I said," Face muttered at last.
"Okay," Amy replied. They sat in silence longer. Amy noticed Face had stopped drinking entirely. Eventually he put laid his head down on his arms on the bar. Amy glanced around, glad that they were the last customers. The bartender was a few feet away, washing glasses.
"Face," Amy whispered. "If you want to go to sleep, I'll drive you home." She laid a hand on his shoulder gently and then noticed he was quietly sobbing.
"Face," she whispered again. "Come on, I'll drive you home."
"I can't do this anymore," Face said.
"Right. You've had enough to drink. I'll drive you home," Amy said.
"No, I can't. I can't… The doctor says I have arthritis in my back—that's why it hurts so much. I can't take the pain pills because they make me loopy and I can't …" he trailed off.
Amy was stunned. No wonder he hadn't wanted to drive a taxi. Sitting in a car for that long would have been agony. Why hadn't he just told the guys, though? Before she could ask, Face started talking again.
"All my life I've been waiting for my life to start. When I was little it was…when I get adopted my life will be perfect. Then I realized nobody wanted me. So it was when I graduate from college and get married. But Leslie didn't want me. Then I was just waiting till the war was over, then my life would be perfect. And then, well, then I was wanted. Wanted by the government. So I waited. Next year my name will be cleared. Evidence will mysteriously show up. I'll be cleared and I'll have a career, a wife, two kids and a picket fence, just like in the movies. Except it's ten years later and I'm still waiting." He paused again.
"I'm getting old, and it's too late. The years have just slipped by and there isn't going to be any other life for me, ever. This is my life. The hand I got dealt. Hell, maybe it's the life I deserve. But it's not…it's not what I wanted, Amy," Face said the last words softly and resignedly. She waited for him to continue.
Instead he sat up and wiped his face on his shirt sleeves. "Look at me, crying like a girl. Cheap rum always makes me cry like a girl," he said, standing up. "I need to go to the rest room."
Amy put her hand on his arm gently. "Face, let me drive you home. Don't sneak out the back, okay?" Face nodded and then stumbled off into the direction of the restrooms. Amy sat there, slightly stunned at Face's outburst and unsure what to say or do to help him.
Face returned and fumbled with his wallet for a moment, trying to take out cash to settle the bill. Amy took the wallet out of his hands, found the appropriate amount, and laid it on the table. Face seemed embarrassed now and she knew that she would probably not get anything else out of him, that he'd probably pretend not even to remember the conversation tomorrow. All she could do now was to take him home, give him some space, and keep an eye on him.
The bartender waited until the couple had left before he picked up the cash Amy had left. Then he slid a radio out from under the counter. "B.A., they are headed home. Face is pretty drunk so post a watch outside. I'll relieve you in a few hours." He waited for B.A.'s acknowledgement, then took off his wig and poured himself a drink out of Face's last bottle of rum.
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