It was Friday night at the pub and Riago Restorini made his customary entrance. His whiny tenori demand interrupted the status quo.
“Who’s sitting in my booth? Better move or else.”
Bodies shuffled and Riago plopped down in his bully booth and yelled for a beer.
Anticipating his next demand and hoping to postpone what might happen, Joe, the barkeeper on duty set a schooner down.
“Here ya go, Dago.”
A couple quick gulps and louder than usual Restorini’s nightly rant began.
“Didanyofya see FOX News today?”
No one responded, but he didn’t need a prompt.
“We’re gonna have a Space Force. Maybe we’ll be having Star Wars after all.”
A voice from the bar responded,
“Yeah. I guess our military can’t kill enough regular humans to suit our glorious leader.”
Joe the barkeep muttered, “Nighthawks at the pub. It looks like it’s gonna be a long one.”
Over three hours of Restorini and O’Brien exchanging opposite points of view on everything. Regardless of whatever either of them brought up, the arguments took up permanent residence in the booth and got louder, more aggressive and antagonistic. Other customers just simply ordered and drank more in hopes the booze would drown them out. It didn’t but the till kept promising the best Friday night take in many a moon.
Like most political disagreements they eventually centered on religious differences. As a devout but non-practicing Roman Catholic, Restorini was spouting dogma, doctrine and documentation. O’Brien continued to parry and thrust with a sharpened-end rebuttal of an Orange Irish Native American. Having been raised on the Flathead reservation in Montana, O’Brien had many stories for evidence about the Priests who had tried to save several generations of Native American families from their perceived pagan roots.
Not deterred by what he considered polemical nonsense, Restorini countered.
“All you non-believers are going straight to hell.”
“I’m not an atheist. I just haven’t decided yet.”
“The darkest corner of Hell is reserved for all you agnostic bastards who can’t make up your mind.”
“That’s one thing I can tell you for sure. Combat is hell. I’ve already been there.”
“You ain’t seen nothing yet, Injun.”
When the rest of the patrons could no longer hold a civil conversation, they gave up and joined the fight. With the dividing line so darkly drawn in the clay colored sawdust of the bar’s wooden floor there was nothing left to do but break bottles, windows and furniture. Five minutes of what was becoming a mind-bending melee and Joe called the cops.