The bar was quaint.
old swinging doors that creaked.
A long, square room with uneven sets of scratched tables and worn out chairs
full of an odd number of sullen drinkers
The bar itself at the far end
The bartender, A Tough looking brunette in a patched white shirt
Leaning on her elbows, looking distantly at the counter in front of her
Every so often her eyes would flick up to the doors or around the room.
The doors creaked open
The Barkeeps eyes flicked towards them like everyone elses
He was rough looking.
Tired bags under his eyes, A slouching bend in his back as he shuffled towards the bar
Checking both sides and trying to look at his feet, with his arms half crossed around himself
He sat down.
Eyed him up and down
"Got a gun?"
He shook his head
A slight quiver
She poured him a shot
Everyone had an eye on him as he picked it up and threw it down
He put down the glass
Everyone woodenly creaked back to what they were doing
" ... s-su something strong"
She picked out a random bottle from under the bar and put it in front of him
He reached for it but she drew it back
"This one ain't free"
He looked up for a second
Than his eyes sank back and he quiver nodded
Put a few battered coins on the bar and swept the drink to his mouth and glugged deeply
Gup gup gup gup gup gup gahha hah hu ha
The coins were gone
The Bartender went about fixing things around the bar
She didn't look at the newcomer
He sat there with his bottle of cheap
Powerfully weak drink
Not caring that they'd find him
Don't care no more.
Don't care that she probably took more than the drink was worth
Don't care that I needed the money
Don't care ...
He sniffed and threw down the foul liquid
I don't care anymore ...
Jimmy stumbled out of the bar
Bottle still in hand.
He swigged and shuffled down the street, the people that passed looked like him in a way
Each with troubles of their own
Each with a story
Each with the same tired eyes as he saw his life in.
Jimmy wasn't always like this
He had a family
Had a wife
He tripped and fell hard on the dirt road
Small stones scraping and cutting though his worn out shirt
Had a daughter.
He lay there
Without the will to get back up
Watching as his bottle rolled away
"Honey I'm home!"
Jimmy picked up his little girl and spun her round
What a beautiful sound
He put her down with a smile and turned to her mother
She took his coat and hung it up
He sat at the table
"I heard My Boss say the factories getting some new men from someplace, cutting some jobs loose pretty soon"
"Oh honey ... "
"No no don't you worry about a thing, I'm good at my job and I've been working there for ten years, they won't cut me loose"
She still frowned but put on a smile for him
He gave back the same smile
Life was good
Work was hard but ...
It paid good.
For a man like him
What he had
Was more than he could ever want
... and for a time ...
... Life was good ...
"Hey there sweetheart"
She smiled and hugged him
"How you doing?"
"I'm well daddy"
"Look at you, all grown up ... "
He looked different
"Listen Honey ... I-I need to go to your room to for a minute, there's something I need to t-tell mommy okay?"
She skipped away
"I'll see you real soon sweetie"
He turned to his wife
His daughter peeked around the corner
She couldn't hear everything, only words, sounds.
" ... factory ... cut loose ... "
Mommy looked worried
"Why ... you been ... ten years ... "
"Please keep it ... Maggie"
Maggie was worried
Don't ... though this ... "
Mommy nodded and went into the kitchen
Daddy sighed and put his hands on his hips
Maggie crept from her hiding place towards him
He knelt down and gently put his hands on her shoulders
"Kiddo th- ... " he sighed and scratched the back of his head
"there's been a mix up at the factory I-, I need ... "
He sighed again
"Things might be tough for a while, okay?
But don't you worry, I'm gonna be strong for you and Mommy, okay?"
"Don't worry ... we'll get though this"
"We'll get though this"
Jimmy came home and crept inside
He didn't want to see their faces
Not like this
His Wife came to greet him
He held her close and didn't let go
"How was it?"
She could already tell
"They're not hiring, no one's hiring, everything's full, I've tried everything Honey"
"Don't worry, things will work out"
"yeah, yeah your right, th-th, things will work out"
He smiled that same tired smile
"I know it will"
He buried his face in her hair
" ... sfu sfu I know it will ... "
He'd remember that moment
That last embrace
Till the day he died.
"Honey, I'm Home!"
He stepped into the house
A huge grin on his face
Maggie crept into view
"Hey there Sweetie, come here"
He picked her up
"Guess what, it all worked out
Daddy got his job back at the factory"
"that's wonderful Daddy"
"everything worked out just, I like I said"
And this time
He meant it.
He put her down as Mommy came out
He almost ran to her and hugged her tight
"Got my job back."
She seemed confused at first
Her face changed
Glowed with joy
She held him tighter than ever before
"Everything worked out Honey
Everything's gonna be okay"
Three days on.
"Honey I'm ho-"
"James ... "
She was sitting on the couch
Around her were four men
"No ... "
"Jimmy! Glad you could make it"
"What the Hell you doing in my House?" He growled
"Well I, Me and my Associates are strictly business I'm afraid"
"Get out of my house ... Get Out!!"
"Please James ... be, Civil"
The suit glanced at his wife
Jimmy rose a fraction
"Not in my house"
"Yes well I was just wondering about the 'investment' we made,
How's it coming James"
Jimmy eyes turned to his wife
She looked back
It dawned on her.
"I-I-its coming just fine"
He blinked several times
I'm going to trust you on that.
I'm going to trust you'll do what is best
For You, for Your Family"
The Suit was smiling
Son of a Bitch was smiling while he threatened My Family
"I will ... always have"
The Suit nodded and beckoned his thugs
Jimmy was waiting to close the door
Turned at the last moment
Jimmy had a sinking feeling in his stomach
"Thank you Madam, the tea was wonderful"
With a final glance at Jimmy he left
Jimmy closed the door after him
Lent against it and dreaded what would happen next.
As Jimmy lay on the ground, The bottle out of reach
A pair of boots passed him
Jimmy turned to face his Wife
He held no fake confidence
No excuse for what he had done
Only the grim conviction to see it through.
"Maggie, I need to talk to Mommy alone for a minute okay?"
She nodded and went to her room
"And don't worry, like I said
Everything's gonna be alright"
His wife tensed but said nothing
"I love you sweetie."
She didn't want to hear the fight she knew they would have.
"How could you?!"
He sat stiffly opposite her
And felt a world apart
The coffee table may as well have been the whole desert.
"How could you?! You borrowed money from the Sharks!?
Why are you doing this to us?! How can you do this to Maggie!? Do you see what Your putting Her through!?"
She sniffed and her voice thickened
"You lied to me, You told me everything had worked out"
He didn't try to stop her
"And you dare tell Our Daughter ... "
She shook her head
"How could you?
How could you?"
" ... I-I ... I'm not going to try and make up, uhmf ... excuses, for what I've done, But please, just ... just hear me out
Just this once"
She wiped her eyes ... than nodded. She couldn't look at him.
"I borrowed money from the Sharks, a lot of money.
I never got my Job back
I, uhm, lied to you
I held you and I lied to your face.
I'm sorry ... I-I'm ..."
He almost broke there
Almost Ruined Everything
But he choked it down
and managed to keep going.
"things never worked out for me ... I don't think they ever will.
So I, I made, I made a choice ... I decided, to let the thing that mattered most to me, and, I, to let it go"
he stood up
"what are you saying?"
From his pocket he drew an envelope and sniffed
"I want you to ... to read this when you and Maggie, get to your sister's place ...
I won't be coming with you."
"wait ... I don't-"
"Pack your bags
You have to leave as soon as you can"
He moved to her room and started to pack for her
"I don't understand, James!"
"Take everything you need, everything you want. Take Everything"
"I don't ... James talk to me"
"Stay here, pack your bag, Please?"
The desperation started to show in his voice
He went to Maggie's room
He opened the door a little more
She was sitting on the bed
"Maggie ... uh ... You, Y-you and Mommy are going away for a while, okay?"
She looked at him. Almost angry, almost Sad.
"So, you wanna help Daddy pack your things please?"
She didn't move
He started without her
After packing her clothes and other necessities he started asking
"do you want this?"
He ran out of room in her smaller bag and ran to fetch his
He packed her dolls and other toys into it
and everything else he could.
"Daddy ... ?" "Yeah sweetheart"
"Do you still love Mommy?"
He was taken aback
"uh o ... o-of course, Hon ... sweetheart, You and Mommy ... I Couldn't Live without you"
" ... You're Lying Daddy"
" ... I I-I ... "
His mouth opened and closed like he was about to say something
"you told me, everything would be alright ... YOU LIED DADDY!!"
He caught her
He hugged her to him
"I've always put you and Mommy first no matter what, I've ... I've always tried my best to be a good Daddy ... I'm so sorry Maggie ... Don't ... Don't hate me for this ... "
He let her go
"I love you so much"
"No! Y-your Lying I h-Hate You!"
She ran to her Mommy with tears in her eyes
James soon shuffled after
Mommy had her bags packed
Maggie stood behind her
Glaring at him
Awkwardly, like a man on thin, broken ice
He moved to put her bag with his Wife's
"Honey, I want you to know
that you are the most important thing in my whole life, Both of you, and I love you both with All my Heart ... read those letters ... "
He took several deep breaths
"Now ... "
He smiled weakly.
"GET OUT OF MY HOUSE!!!"
Rough hands dragged him back to the present
and down the street
His knees bleed as the scraped along the ground
But He didn't care
The wooden floor hurt when they threw him on it
But He didn't care
The punches from The suit's thugs hurt like hell
But He didn't care
He could hear the things they were yelling at him
But He didn't care
He could see the gun the suit was waving around
But he didn't care
... Didn't care ...
He was remembering His Last Embrace with his Loving Wife.
His Wife, Maggie and their bags
Were making a slow trip through the city when the rain started.
They sheltered in a doorway.
It had been a long and tiring night.
Maggie wasn't confused
She'd seen this coming
A long time ago.
And the Rain fell.
Maggie's mother took out The Envelop and opened it.
Inside were two letters
One for her.
And one for Maggie.
Read from the light behind the door.
"To my dearest wife.
These last weeks I haven't been the husband I promised I would be when we married, I'm sorry that I sent you away like I did.
I'm sorry for so many things
I'm sorry for not having the money for and for Maggie.
I'm sorry for not being there when you needed me.
I'm sorry for lying to you.
I'm sorry I couldn't be the Husband you deserved.
When I borrowed money from those loan sharks, I never was going to pay them back. The money is in the envelope.
I hope its enough to see you by.
I sold the house too, A few days ago
I want you to spend that money on Maggie
Buy her dolls and toys
And send her to school like I couldn't.
I knew the loan sharks would come after me
And you too
So I had to make them believe you meant nothing to me
So they wouldn't come after you
To get to me
I don't expect you to Forgive me
I Just want you to know.
You and Maggie were the most important things in my whole life
I wanted to grow old with you
I wanted to so much.
I am so sorry
I love you.
Take care of Maggie.
She looked up
Tears in her eyes
"James ... "
Maggie opened her envelope
I know you must be confused
I know I lied to you
I only wanted the best for you and Mommy-
Maggie looked up at her mother
She was crying and holding her letter to her heart-
This is what happened
I borrowed money from people called Loan Sharks
They lend money to people and expect to be paid back more.
I sold our house
That money is yours now.
I'm sorry that I couldn't come with you
That I couldn't explain what was happening
I lied to you because I wanted to see you Smile
One last time
Because it's so beautiful when you Smile
And I missed it so much.
Every time I looked at You and You weren't smiling
And I couldn't make you happy
It broke my heart.
You don't have to forgive me
Grow up strong
Like I Know You Will
This happened because I wasn't strong enough.
Take care of yourself
Like I couldn't.
I'm so sorry I couldn't be there for you
I love you Sweetie
With all my heart.
Maggie felt the tears welling up
"I don't hate you Daddy"
James stared down the barrel
I love you sweetheart.
"I don't hate you!!
I DON"T HATE YOU!!!"
I know Sweetie
James closed his eyes