Drinking Buddy ranks among my five favorite Pork Pony stories. Weaver's tale of two ancient warriors venting had me laughing out loud in the true sense, not that cheesy, LOL-type (God, I hate those abbreviations, but that's another story for another time). Enjoy. -CL
Falco, a grizzled man 40 years of age, enters "The God's Horizon" tavern, a battered speakeasy that cries male aggression. Trekking to the center of its bar, he finds a vacant stool, disregards the thin layer of dust coating, and slumps down. His friend, Baylo, a man of similar appearance, occupies the stool directly to his right.
"Greetings, Baylo," Falco sluggishly exhales. He orders a drink from the bartender with eye contact and a head nod.
Baylo takes a glance at Falco and quickly states, "You look as if you are at your wit's end, my friend. Here, this one is on me."
"Bless, you," Falco says as the bartender presents him with a tankard full of mead. After taking a hearty swig, he gently rests the tankard on the countertop.
"Just one of those weeks," Falco quietly speaks to the air.
"What is the matter?" Baylo states with care rarely displayed by such rugged men.
"I broke an axle on the old chariot a few days ago, which made me late for work, and the boss was not pleased with me," Falco confesses.
"Well, that is not something to worry about, most chariots..."
Before Baylo can finish his comforting statement, Falco interrupts, "That is only the beginning." He pulls the sleeve of his right arm up past his elbow, uncovering a large, blackened burn mark on the outside of his forearm.
Baylo's eyes widen sharply. "By Zeus! What is that?" he exclaims.
"I was traveling the mountain on the other side of town, and I saw some grapes on the side hill. I was hungry, so I started eating a few to appease my stomach."
"Oh no, you did not," whispers Baylo.
Waving his uninjured arm in the air, Falco continues, "I did not know about the mountain troll. He hit me with a lightning bolt, and THEN he tells me not to eat his grapes. Some people, yes?" Falco takes another swig of mead, twice the size of his first.
Baylo remarks, "He should really put up a sign."
"It is the least he could do," Falco says in agreement.
The two friends sit in momentary silence, each taking their time enjoying their respective drinks. After a few seconds of silence, Baylo turns to Falco and admittedly states, "You are not the only one having a cursed week."
Baylo turns his head around, showing a deep wound on the other side of his neck. He simultaneously points and rubs the new wound with his index finger.
"Goddamn griffin pecked me," he swears. "Griffins do not make good pets, my friend."
Falco stares at the wound with empathetic disgust, and then takes a speedy sip from his tankard.
"Kid was crying for weeks about wanting a griffin, so the only way to shut her up was to get her one," Baylo complains. "See what being a good father gets you, almost killed!"
"What can one do?" replies Falco.
"Well, I smote that beast readily!" Baylo boasts with a shaking fist. Lowering his eyes, staring at the empty bar beneath him, he says in defeat, "And let me tell you, the wife was not happy about it."
"It seems the more good you do, the more trouble it causes," Falco says. "The gods are trying to tell us something, you know?"
"I cannot hear what the gods are saying, with my wife yelling in my ears all of the time," exclaims Baylo. "Banshees!" he cries. "She yells at me at home, and even at work, FROM home!"
Falco lets out a deep laugh, stroking his beard. He puts a hand on Baylo's shoulder, stating, "You think that is bad, I married a Gorgon!"
"Do not the snakes bother you?" Baylo inquires.
Falco answers, "No. It is favorable, in a way. I do not have to look at her."
Baylo enjoys Falco's retort, responding with a heartfelt chuckle.
"But her mother is a Harpy!" Falco screams. "Cursed harpy! She dwells in the room next to ours, thwarting any attempt at pleasure!"
Falco continues, "My first wife was no better. She was always complaining that I did not understand her."
"No man can understand any woman!" Baylo cheers.
Falco rubs his entire face with the palm of his meaty hand. "Especially a cross-eyed Cyclops, as she was! I did not know if she was really looking at me when I spoke, or when she was getting amorous with me, enticing me with a wink. When I thought she was winking, she would claim that she was only blinking her eye. And when she was really winking at me, I would not respond, thinking that she was simply blinking! I could not read her!"
Falco looks into his half-drank tankard, and lets out a boisterous grunt. Turning their heads towards each other, the two men clank their tankards together, the mead within sloshing to the brims, slipping over the crests and slapping against bar's counter top.
After another tandem drink, Baylo and Falco simultaneously speak. "Women!"