Bar

—Come on. Guys. Guys. Come on. Jason had his face pressed to the window, he was illuminated, still as red and as flushed as he had been indoors. The pores of his skin open and wet. He tapped on the window with closed knuckles, lightly, bent his neck for empathy. Guys. The table of flushed and burnt necks kept to themselves, hunched, talking low. Occasionally someone would look back across at Jason but turned away immediately if there was any trace of eye contact, Jason responding with frantic knocking and pleas. He strained his neck to keep the window in sight as he pawed across the wall to the entrance, finding it and gripping his fingers on the corner, he held his weight, made the switch, his face close to the glass, he pushed the heavy door open into the pub.

—Get out. Get out. You’re not welcome here. You’re can’t talk to people like that. We will not accept it. You are not allowed here. The man stood in front of the bar, the lights above reflecting off his hair.
—Come on mate, I was only joking. I’m not trying to offend you or anything.
—You are not allowed in here. Please leave.
—I was joking mate. I’m just going to sit back over here.
—Leave now or I will call the police.
—Fuck off mate, I’ve not done anything wrong.
—Leave now.
—Come on, I’m not- I’ve not done anything.
The man turned to his co-worker behind the bar and leant in to the conversation. —We are calling the police.
—What did you just say to him then?
—Please leave. We are calling the police.
—What the fuck did you just say to him?
—Please can you tell your friend-
—You don’t make it easy when you’re chatting all this.
—The police will be coming now leave now, please.
—You fucking watch it in this place mate. Jason pointing. He stepped back from the entrance, from the hard coarse carpet under his feet gluing him in place, trying to keep eye contact locked when exiting through the heavy door. —Don’t fucking try anything like that again.

The other man had returned, was resting on the bar with both palms downturned, avoiding the room, looking up but unsure if he could see. The man in front of the bar had taken several steps forward, was stood straight and still, fixed and rooted. His breathing quicker.
—The police aren’t coming. Jason shouted through the closing door.
The street was quiet, long and open, the pub almost indiscernible from the noises running through the city that burnt the night sky orange with the energy from the day. Close to the border, closer to Ida, the vital points of commerce could occasionally stay functioning in the summer months, though to do so was at the cost of almost double the government subsidy. The lights above the pub sign illuminated the street corner and half the road ahead, the rest fading off into pitch. All safe, quiet and vulnerable around the windows. Jason returned to his own and began to knock again.
—Guys. Oi, come on. I was just having a laugh. It was just a bit of fun. Guys.
People kept their heads low, tried to keep talking as though not hearing the taps, Jason’s strained voice. Jason beat on the window with both palms.
—Oi. Guys. He shouted, he started shouting. Hitting harder and more rapidly. —Oi. Oi. Guys. Fuck. Guys. Come on. Come on. Guys. Guys. Guys. Guys. Guys. Guys.
—Will you please leave the property now, you are disturbing the customers. The man who stood in front of the bar stood half open in the street, his hand still on the heavy door of the entrance.
—I don’t know what your fucking problem is mate?
—I would like you to please leave, now.
—They’re my fucking friends in there and I’ll talk to them if I want.
—Sir. You are causing a disturbance to both my customers and the people on this street. Please could you leave here now.
—I’m not leaving anywhere mate. Jason slapped the glass with both hands, shaking the window frame. —Hey. Guys. Come on out here and have a look what’s going on. This little fucker is trying to start something. Whey. Guys.
—Sir please could you stop hitting the window, you’re going to break it.
—You can’t tell me shit. It’s over mate. I don’t have to be here if I don’t want to. You think this place means anything? No matter how much money you make here you won’t scratch on moving back in. You’re as fucked as the rest of us. You are fucking pathetic.
—Sir, I would just like you to stop hitting the window and leave.
—Guys, guys, guys, guys, guys, guys-
The man pushed Jason, he fell into the brick indent of the window, supporting himself with an elbow grazed, bringing himself back to standing and lunging forward, pushing the man. There was a hollow clock as the man’s head hit the pavement, teeth clapped inside. The man dazed, slowly bringing his arm up, attempting to lean, maybe sit up, but resting his head back down. Jason stepped forward, wary, quiet, he came before the man’s feet, leaning in, looking down at the man’s foreshortened body, his limbs out of joint. Jason’s arms rested away from his side, he didn’t know whether to lean toward the man, help him up. The man didn’t make much noise. Jason was quiet. He stepped closer, through the light of the doorway, lifted his arm out. The sound was so loud and strange that Jason thought it came from outside himself, a brick being thrown at the building, the corners shattering, falling into dust behind him. He collapsed to the floor, hands on his head, there was no pain yet but he felt like he had been pushed away from himself. He didn’t have time to recover or look at his palms for blood before the kicks shot into his chest. Paced but dull the hits felt more like an inconvenience than pain, managing to roll into himself they soon stopped before he had time to register who and how many people were around him. He managed to look up, the desire to do so but his body reacting slower than he would like. Strangers, he guessed, at least not from the pub. One standing by his feet, the other helping the other to his feet.
—Get the fuck out of here now. Get out. The man was coming back by the door, he swung his arms as he was being helped to stand, shouted to the floor where Jason was crouched, definitely blood. Jason shifted toward the pub wall and reached up for the windowsill to take his weight, inside dull and orange, people, probably people. The man by his feet still watching over him, arms out by his side he wondered if he would help. Standing, Jason pushed his foot out as quick as he could and the man flinched, Jason laughed. They were talking about the police, Jason heard. —Fuck them. They’re not coming.
—Get the fuck out of here now. The man who stood over him said.
Swinging from the windowsill, to try and aim a punch at the man’s stomach, Jason fell with momentum. His fist fell against bone somewhere, the man swinging his knee at him on the way down then kicking him while on the floor. Jason remained still. He heard the man being brought back into the bar, footsteps trailing away, quiet if no talk from inside, he thought he heard birds.

The scene was clear when he regained his senses against the wall, the lights still on inside, people watching, everyone indoors. He edged along the side of the pub, his jacket scratching on his way, his whole weight distributed over a foot of space between his shoulders. The end of the building led into darkness again, the beige brick giving way to fencing around a small overgrown empty plot. The fence poles gripped good inside his palm, turned, spun smooth. He caught his breath, both hands out in front of him like an imitation prison cell, the poles loose . The men inside sat quiet, waited for the police or for him to fall asleep.
—Hey. Hey. Oi. Hey.
Metal clanked against the pavement outside, scraped. The window burst, the swollen and disintegrating noise of outside, glass shattered and falling. The black pole hung in the window-frame, Jason appearing as it’s carrier, breathing not smiling. He disappeared from the window, the pole dragging out after him, appearing briefly at the door then again at the window next along. Banging on the glass shouting, hey, hey, hey. Hey. People kept back and didn’t say a word. Jason began to beat on the glass with his fist, his punches coming in at wide angles, the top of his palm almost stroking down along the glass. He banged on the window then stood back. The window burst, the pole rolling along the window ledge then falling inside. Jason stepped away, walked on.

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