Till Now

Someone needs through to the restroom. You and I meet chest to chest to get out of the way. Our sweaters rub up static electricity. We push to the bar and claim our sample whiskeys. The bartender says, “Any more and it’s six dollars.”

The distillery tour guide teaches us how to sip so every wooden note hits our tongues. He says our patience will pay off in flavor. We close our eyes and drink. The flavor is like kissing a smoker in the winter.

You tell me you’ve never had whiskey. You thought it would taste like maple syrup. I say it looks like maple syrup. You ask if they come from the same tree.

The bartender slaps your back with a rag.

He says, “Whiskey doesn’t come from trees.”

You remove layers. You’re down to your undershirt when I see your chest hair knits up your neck and becomes your beard. I’ve done the experiment where I grow out my own beard to see how it changes the shape of my face. I wonder if your chin is as square as it seems.

The bartender drops a glass. You turn your head. I grab your jaw and squeeze through the hair. Your chin is like a mossy brick in my hand.

“Listen,” you say. I lean in.

“I’ve never,” you say. “Not with.”

Casey Hannan lives and writes in Kansas City, MO. His work has appeared in American Short Fiction, Annalemma, SmokeLong Quarterly, and else- where. His first book of stories, Mother Ghost, is available in January 2013 from Tiny Hardcore Press. He is found at casey-hannan.com.