“I’m telling you, Jack. They’ve forgotten everything. The war’s over, they go home. Then slowly, one by one, they make their way back .They pick up their arms once more, if they have any arms left to pick them up from the last time. Or maybe they just grow back. Like lizards do. Jack — are you listening to me? You seem distracted. I’m saying–”
“Hitler’s dead, is what all the papers say,” the youthful bartender mutters anxiously to the raccoon man, returned to the Jeogeot Gulf for a timely visit. “Yet the Japs fight on. Soon the war will be over. But then I wake up, it’s 1939 all over again. Poland is invaded.” Jack starts to sob a little here. “It just starts *over*.”
“Well, that’s what I’m trying to *tell* you Jack. I should know. I started out as a private and rose in the ranks to a 5 star general in charge of the whole caboodle. I said, from this position of power: this is it. Surrender. Go home y’all. Lay down your arms… all the things you said. Then I come back and everything is unlearned, undone. Tell me Jack.” He takes another sip of insipid beer, probably American. “Do you even know what side you’re fighting for any more? Some don’t.” He turns and looks at the 1/2 filled bar of military personnel. “If the uniforms were a little grayer here, a little drabber there, I don’t think anyone would know.”
Jack wipes the counter down nervously, thinking that 1/2 the people in the room are watching him and half aren’t. But he doesn’t know which. He tries to determine friend from foe through the caps and helmets but all the lines get blurred together. He’s lost it. He needs to go home but he doesn’t even know where that is any more. Home is here I suppose, he says to himself. He pours two shots of Jack Daniels, one for the raccoon man and one for himself. “Here’s to home,” he proclaims while raising his glass, resigned to the fact. Over in one gulp, he pours another while 1/2 the room still eyes him.
Rocky Racco stares intently down into his own empty glass like it was a scrying device, and maybe it was. He needs to figure out what went awry with his plans and end it for good this time. This smells like a Casey One Hole case in his estimation (he channels?), with everyone vying for that damned mustard seed.
(to be continued)