I suppose that it was good that Christine left when she did, because it spared her from witnessing the last few hours of the evening. As drinks were poured and stories were told, an almost palpable cloud of (what? doom? anger? sadness? distance?) uncertainty fell over the favored table near the rear of the bar.
"Well... I guess she told you."
"Bender, let's not, okay?"
"Fuck you, Mikey. What would you understand about human emotions and turmoil? You never experience them. You sit in front of a goddamn laptop all day chatting with 60 year old men purporting themselves to be eligible young women."
"Listen Jay, I sit in front of a laptop because it is my job to do so. If I choose to meet..."
"Shut up, Mikey, I've had my fuckin' lecture for the evening. I don't feel the need to listen to another one from you."
"Fine, Jay, but you got that lecture for being an ass. Your continuing to be an ass after said lecture makes you not only an ass, but an unrepentant one."
"... and you need to take two seconds to think about other people's feelings for a change. Geez Jay, when is the last time you actually said something nice to someone."
"Wait, I think i have it written down here... yeah, here it is, 1994."
"It's no joke, Ry. The guy acts like a dick from sun up until sunset, and no one ever calls him on it. We just laugh and say, 'Aw, that's just Jay,' and I think that's bullshit."
"Okay, so tell us Dr. Phil, what do you suggest we do about it?"
"I don't know, THIS. Occasionally look at the fucktard and say, 'Hey, that's enough."
"Okay, Jay, that's enough."
"Thanks for jumping right on that."
"Look guys, I have to tell you that Jay isn't going to change because of an evening of drunken amateur analysis. Jay, I don't know what your damage is, pal, but what you said to Chris was out of line."
"I know Joe, but..."
"Shut up and listen for a second. We've listened to your anger-driven rants all night, so just listen to me. We tolerate the constant jousting back and forth, because we all do it. Even Christine gets involved, hell she's better at it than us, usually..."
"SHUT IT, JAY. I'm not defending your actions, here. I'm saying that if a girl like Chris, who has a skin thicker than steel was upset by your commentary, then you were way over the top. Further, if you were over the top with THIS crowd, then you were skirting the incredible with the rest of the world. My point is this, you need to learn to interact with human beings, Jay. People aren't put on this earth specifically for you to take shots at them. They aren't material for whatever warped comedy show plays in your head everyday. They are PEOPLE, Jason, and they deserve the same respect that you feel that you deserve."
After a moment of silence, Ryan and Bender rose and gave Joe a standing ovation. Within moment, Jay grinned and did the same. I stayed seated, I recognize second rate material when I see it.