Three AM

Three o’clock. Another long night was over. The crew had cleaned up the place, the books were balanced; now was his time to relax and enjoy a small bourbon before heading home. His wife would be asleep, and when he finally eased into bed, she would, as she had done every night for eight years, sleepily move next to him as they both dozed off.

Then, the next morning, they would have breakfast. He’d help her around the house. Maybe they’d do some shopping or some gardening. Then, about two, he’d get dressed and make his way to the bar for the night.

It was a good life. He made enough that they could afford the occasional extravagance. He still remembered the shocked look on her face the night he surprised her with two tickets to Paris. True, they ate poor while there, but, still, it was Paris, and that was good enough.

The customers that night had mostly been the regulars. Frank, who owned a chain of car dealerships. Matt, who married well. Louis, who went into real estate and, if the rumours were true, now owned about a third of the town. They’d all gone to school together; they used to sit by the creek and dream about the big things they’d do when they were older. None of them ever did, but Frank, Matt, and Louis all did well enough that they could afford to spend night after night in his bar, drinking and laughing and pinching the waitress’ butt until it was time to go home. They never wanted to. They insisted he stayed open for just a little while longer, just so they could have just one more, just one to steel themselves against not only the cold night wind but what awaited them when they finally made their way to their various homes. With a slight grin, he told himself he didnt want to think what was behind the front doors when they opened them.

He finished the last of the bourbon and carefully washed out the glass before turning off the lights and locking the doors. And when he softly walked into his bedroom, his wife lay there, sleeping.

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