Here is a fun one-word prompt for Thursday.

Prompt: Superhero

“Twenty seven!” The man said, slamming his small boot-shaped glass onto the table among it’s mismatched fellows.

“Twenty seven? Never! That was twenty six I tell ya’!” The challenger said, spitting and tossing his hands in the air. “Twenty six? I tell ya! It was twent-ry frive!”

The crowd roared with approval and genral jovial delight, every mind swimming in a pool of golden ale and sour shots.

The first man was not cheering. He sat with his fingers still resting against the glass boot and staring long into the man’s face. “That was twenty-seven,” he said.

The crowd cried out again in a mix of laughter and stink and now the first man was scowling. He was steady as he scowled, solid as a rock. He sat in that little dive of a bar just south of a nowhere town in Arkansas. It was only three in the afternoon and the sun was just letting up on the chrome finishes of the motorcycles lining the bar against the wood hitching posts outside.

“You know,” the first man said, tapping his glass and wobbling his head with a laugh, “I don’t think that’s quite fair now, do you?” The crowd did not call out.

“What?” The challenger said. “You – I was just saying that there was a miscount.” The challenger tried to smile but his laugh was lost. He choked on it now, under the cold, wet brow of this man. The challenger didn’t even think he had looked at the man, not properly, and if he had, he was being reminded then, only it was too late. He suddenly felt like a kid poking at a young croc with a branch in the swamp, just before realizing it was no game.

The warm life and energy of the hot bar stayed in the air, lingering in hopes of being remembered again, so that the room could forget the hot words from the first man and the unstoppable trainwreck of the the challenger’s speech.

“I think we’re done drinking for now,” The first man said and as he did, he raised his fist high into the air. “I’m done playing for now.”

The man let his fist crash down into the circular wooden table, sending such force through it that the wood exploded apart and several pieces of shrapnel found root in the challenger’s belly. The first man laughed, hand bleeding. The crowd started to run, everyone in a panic.

The first man smiled and some people later told the news companies that there was blood, wreathed in lightning and fire in his smile. The talk would have been dismissed, but the horrible truth was seen by too many. The drinking man, who spent the past four decades haunting the bars along the highway, showed up again, on that hot summer day when the Cherry Bomb bar and grill, was wholly leveled and returned to dust in the dessert sands.






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