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Flash Fiction- The Watering Hole

I am a writer of poetry and fiction. I especially love flash fiction. My name is Ruby, and I live in Southern Illinois. I am a retired R.N.


Pete sat motionless as he listened to the mortician's remarks.

Pete only had a couple stair flights to reach his favorite watering hole, a bar where he spent every waking hour. He sat down and ordered his usual, a double shot of whiskey with a water chaser.

He'd lived in a little one bedroom apartment above the bar since his retirement two years ago. He'd worked on the docks loading and unloading ships since he was old and strong enough to lift cargo coming and going.

He had never married and had no surviving family.

Joe, who owned the bar paid little attention to him as long as he paid-up and didn't bother anyone.

Pete lived in his own little world drinking, and making friends wasn't on his bucket list. He'd never deliberately hurt anyone, but he'd never gone out of his way to help anyone either.


A large mirror hung on the wall behind the bar, depicting a nude woman on a lily pad. Pete had never noticed it before, but tonight, he saw movement and was astonished to see his body laying on a slab at the city morgue.

The mortician was in the process of performing an autopsy for medical students. First he removed the liver which was black with areas of green pus. Next, he removed the brain which was dark gray. He had a normal brain and liver encased in a see-through container to highlight the difference between the normal and diseased organs.

Pete sat motionless as he listened to the mortician tell the students, " This is a typical case of alcoholism and how it destroys the liver. ( Cirrhosis of the liver ) and the brain, ( Alcoholic Psychosis )

This man's name I'm told, is Pete. He was robbed and murdered in the hallway, just a few steps from his apartment above the bar where he spent most of his awake hours drinking.

Pete ordered another drink and downed it quickly before stumbling out of the bar, heading for the stairs that led to his apartment.

Fumbling for his door keys, he saw four hoodlum killers walking toward him.

There really wasn't four, there were only two. Double vision is another common occurrence when too much alcohol reaches the brain.


Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on April 04, 2020:

Hi Peggy. Pete needed a friend. Alcohol can be a killer as well as the two hoodlems looking for a kick. Poor Pete.....Thanks again my traveling friend.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on April 03, 2020:

Poor Pete. He imagined his demise before it happened. As Maria mentioned, you combine your nursing expertise with your storytelling, and it is a great combination.

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on June 13, 2016:

I'm happy you saw a moral in this story. Alcohol is a killer that's harmed my family. Thank you for loving my flash fiction. I love writing it....

Shauna L Bowling from Central Florida on June 13, 2016:

There's a definite moral to this story, Ruby. Love your flash fiction!

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on May 31, 2016:

Hello Mar. This piece came from my day's as a nursing student, watching an autopsy on an alcoholic brain and liver. Pete needed a friend. Thank you my dear friend...

Maria Jordan from Jeffersonville PA on May 31, 2016:

Love when your inner nurse combines with your writing muse, dear Ruby ~ a tale with depth and credibility.

Excellent story! Love, Maria

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on May 30, 2016:

Hi manatita, Thank you for your awesome comment. Happy you enjoyed..

manatita44 from london on May 30, 2016:

Awesome, Ruby.Interesting and Excellent Hub!

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on May 22, 2016:

Hello Shyron, I guess I could've given him a reprieve, but his life was over due to alcoholism. There's no repairing organs that's diseased from alcohol. Thank you my pearl of a friend. Hugs...

Shyron E Shenko from Texas on May 22, 2016:

Ruby, Ruby my gem of a friend

I could not believe that would be his end

I thought there would be a reprieve

And divine intervention he would receive

But, alas there were no twists

As his name was added to the list



Ruby you get better and better at this Flash Fiction.

Blessings and hugs my gem of a friend.

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on May 21, 2016:

Theresa, don't worry about that. My typos show up frequently. lol..Cheers.

Faith Reaper from southern USA on May 20, 2016:

Oops, I mean prequel not prelude there.

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on May 16, 2016:

Hello Theresa, Frank writes some great flash fiction hubs. I learn something every time he writes. I must say that I love writing the unusual. Thank you so much for the terrific comment....

Peace and blessings...

Faith Reaper from southern USA on May 15, 2016:

Hi Ruby,

I didn't see a notice about this one! I'm so glad I popped over here and saw this flash fiction. If I didn't know better, this could be a prelude to one of Frank's flash fictions. His last flash was about a mortician performing an autopsy is why I that thought popped into my mind.

There are so many sad and lonely souls out there in this world. It seems alcohol is so misunderstood, in that so many use it to drown their sorrows, so-to-speak, but it just really takes them deeper down that dark hole of despair.

What a sad life and ending of life for Pete.

On another note, you are a terrific flash fiction writer!

Peace and blessings always

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on May 15, 2016:

Wow Frank, thank you. So glad you enjoyed...

Frank Atanacio from Shelton on May 15, 2016:

wow always.. this one was very good.. wow... very well written

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on May 13, 2016:

Hello Martie, so nice to see you. Thanks for your ' winner ' comment..

Hugs my friend...

Martie Coetser from South Africa on May 13, 2016:

Oh dear, how scary, and powerful. This is a winner, dear Ruby!

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on May 12, 2016:

Hi DDE, I do enjoy dabbing in fiction with a twist ending. Thank you for coming by....

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on May 12, 2016:

Hello Nell. Thank you Nell. I loved your flash fiction, talk about gruesome, the blood transfusions were scary and unique....

Devika Primić from Dubrovnik, Croatia on May 12, 2016:

Amazing and so much you have in mind. This is what happens when you start to enjoy what you do.

Nell Rose from England on May 11, 2016:

You do flash fiction so well Ruby, I tend to write too much, you get it totally right! gruesome stuff! lol!

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on May 11, 2016:

Hi John, I love to write flash fiction. I can blame Frank for that. lol. Thank you..

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on May 11, 2016:

Hello Audrey, I felt sorry for him too. Funny how that happens. Thank you for the upbeat compliment...

John Hansen from Gondwana Land on May 10, 2016:

Ruby, it looks like you've found your new niche...flash fiction. Well done..poor old Pete didn't even get a chance to learn a lesson from his prophetic vision.

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on May 10, 2016:


You're a flash fiction artist. You have me feeling so sorry for this poor man. Excellent work my friend. Mighty fine job!

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on May 10, 2016:

Hello VenKatachari. I'm so glad you liked this one. Thank you so much.

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on May 10, 2016:

Hello Clive. What is weed tea? Is it a drink? You are correct, his life was wasted..Thank you...

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on May 10, 2016:

Hi Genna. I read an article that told of the many older people who are alone and lonely. They had turned to alcohol for companionship. It is sad indeed. Pete needed someone to reach out to him, maybe he wouldn't accept it, but perhaps he would. Thank you for always supporting whatever I write. Hugs..

Venkatachari M from Hyderabad, India on May 10, 2016:

Wow! It's a great flash fiction. You have done it so well and left the ending for the readers to complete.

Clive Williams from Jamaica on May 09, 2016:

pete needs some good ginger and weed tea. His life is wasted.

Genna East from Massachusetts, USA on May 09, 2016:

My heart went out to this poor, solitary man, and the fact that those double shots of whiskey were his only comfort in his final years. Loneliness sometimes takes the bottle as a friend; it can destroy the soul the way liquor can destroy the body. I have to agree with Bill...flash fiction is your wheelhouse, Ruby. Well done!

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on May 09, 2016:

Mike, when I was in nursing training, I was one of the students who watched this autopsy of an alcoholic. I just used that experience for Pete. Of course I let my mind run wild about the mirror. BTW the picture above the bar made the story come alive for me. I am still that woman who loves Elvis and my birds, but I also love to write flash fiction, and sometimes you must get down and dirty to make a point. There are many Pete's out there with this horrible addiction who need someone to care enough to get them needed help. I've known a couple. Thanks for asking the question. Hugs......

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on May 09, 2016:

Bill, your comment blows me away! Wheelhouse is a new accolade for me and I love it. Thank you so much..

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on May 09, 2016:

Eric, I think we're both doing fine. lol.. Thanks for making me laugh...

Ruby Jean Richert (author) from Southern Illinois on May 09, 2016:

Hi MizBejabbers. I do believe I enjoy writing flash fiction more and more. It suits my attention span. A long story is difficult for me to stay involved. I am so glad that you enjoy my stories. Thank you so much.

mckbirdbks from Emerald Wells, Just off the crossroads,Texas on May 09, 2016:

Well, this is a gritty piece of work from our bird loving, Elvis following, happy-go-lucky writer from IL. I sometimes, like now, wonder what inspires a story. Hi, Ruby.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on May 09, 2016:

That's one rotten retirement if you ask me. :) I've said it before but that won't stop me from saying it again...flash fiction is your wheelhouse.

Eric Dierker from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A. on May 09, 2016:

Well I reckon my life ain't so bad after all.

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on May 09, 2016:

Wow, that's a goodie, and it carries a ring of truth, too, along with a little metaphysical prophecy. Love your flash fiction, Ruby. You keep 'em short and not-so-sweet...and very interesting. Keep it up.

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