July 2006/Volume Seven/Issue Two
David Thompson
The Music In The Background

Only two guys in the hotel bar
when you walk in, the bartender
and this fat guy wearing one
of those shirts you thought
only Mexican barbers wore.
You order a beer, listen to them
talk.  The fat guy says, All the scouts
told me I couldíve gone pro,
but I threw my arm out pitching
American Legion ball.  Dumbass
coach had me pitch every game.
I know what you mean, replies
the bartender.  I was going to get
a football scholarship, Penn State
and Syracuse wanted me, but I hurt
my knee in the first game senior year,
and the fucking coach put me right
back in and I blew it out completely
trying cut back on a sweep.  After that,
nobody would even look at me.
He shakes his head, starts to hang
wine glasses in the overhead rack.
The fat guy stubs out his cigarette,
then lights up another.  Itís quiet
now, and for the first time you notice
the music in the background,
one of those silly pop songs
from the 60ís youíve heard
so many times over the years
that you know all the lyrics
without even trying.