I was on the floor all of a sudden. That was bad.
Potentially bad, anyway. It had a tendency to give a stiff bracer of courage to a fellow not quite sure of himself to see his man on the floor. If he gets hinky about you gettin’ up, he might bring in the boot. And if he has hinky friends, well, they’re all shod, ain’t they?
All the dirt and corruption of the world is on the barroom floor, my mother would say. Now, I was no stranger to dirt and corruption, but I had no desire to get right down in it. Still, a man could pause a short moment and take stock. That fellow is as surprised as me to find me down here. He’s like a fellow that prays in church but don’t really believe it. He looks around halfway through, to see if anyone notices him funnin’. That’s what he’s doing now.
You can never go halfway in church, sonny. And this is my church.
He thinks I’m old. He thinks it might be over before it started. He thinks I might not want any more of what’s he’s giving.
Son, I’m not going to get any more of what you’ve got.
He paused, and I did too. I hit my head on the way down somehow. There’s nothing soft in a bar that ain’t a woman. And in here, they’re all pretty hard, too. They’re lookin’ on like any Roman watching the lions do their business.
Well I ain’t a Christian right now, exactly.
I kinda like the tingly feeling where I hit my noggin’. It’s not pain right now. Plenty of time for that tomorrow. It’s like a vibration; it’s the soothing warmth of a rock that’s had the sun beatin’ on it all day. I feel it travel through me like a telegraph signal, to the very heart of my bones. And I feel Cuchulain in those bones.
I can’t linger in the moment. Shame. A man’s switch is on the outside, and only another can throw it. Roll over easy, like you might not get up, to get the right buffer. Then stand up, and put your hand one inch behind that feller. The beer is gettin’ warm.