He spied a blonde wearing too much lipstick and anger. Hates men. Yeah, she’s certainly my type, he mused as he clinked the ice in his glass. It had been… eons, it seemed, since he’d had a drink, and even longer since he’d practiced his craft. He supposed the digging gold with his sweet lies and tender kisses had been added to the lengthy list of sins to atone.
She looked right at him.
He smiled, lifting his glass of ice water. Fate.
She turned away. “Tell the creepster in the corner to quit staring at me!” Her voice carried through the bar.
The bartender shook his head. “Sweetie, no one’s there. You’ve had enough.”
She pierced the man in the corner with her seething glare.
He raised an eyebrow.
She stood and swerved her way toward him. “What’s your problem?”
He leaned back and crossed his arms over his chest. “Got none.”
The bartender approached and put his hands on her shoulders. “Sylvia, honey, you need to sleep it off. I’ll call a cab.”
She slapped his hands. “I’m talking to…. to… what’s your name?”
“He thinks you’re talking to yourself. ”
“N-Nick, you can’t see him?” Her voice wavered.
The bartender shook his head.
“I’m outta here.” She fished her keys from her purse and staggered out the door.
The man followed.
“Get the hell away from me!”
He wrestled the keys from her and shoved her into the backseat. He didn’t need her address; he already knew where she lived.
The woman safely at home, the man sat on the curb and looked up. “Well?”
The misty apparitions of the children pinned under his wagon’s wheel two hundred years ago gave him his answer. He could still smell the moonshine on his breath.
He buried his face in his hands and cried. His Hell was an eternity of trying to right his wrongs; saving others to save his own soul.
Always grasping for hope just out of reach.
CRAFT (noun): 3 : skill in deceiving to gain an end <used craft and guile to close the deal>
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