Day Sixty-two: Certainty
“An… an… an… And it’s the Jews, right, they’re the ones who really know what’s going on, right. They have all the banks ‘n shit and they’re pullin’ all the fuggin’ strings. AN’ you. An’ me. An’ him. We’re all juss puppets. Dolls. We don’t know anything. But I know. Damn right I know.”
The man next to Carl was, obviously, drunk. In a bar, of course, so that was fine. Expected, even. There were few places, in fact, where you could be as drunk as this man was and still not get arrested, so as far as his choice of places to get really shitfaced in went, he chose a good one.
According to the bartender, he’d been there all night, just sitting and drinking and trying to get someone interested in his weird drunk theories. Like that the Jews controlled all the banks, or that George W. Bush was a member of a secret cabal controlled by the French, or that all the white men in America were being oppressed under the iron boot of the minorities. Had Carl known this, of course, he would have sat elsewhere. But all the other places were taken, the bar was filling up, and if he wanted to stay sitting then he had to sit on the left side of a very drunk prophet of doom. When he sat down, the bartender had just shrugged as if to say, “Good luck,” and made his whiskey sour a little stronger than usual.
The man drained his glass and turned back to Carl. “You know what I found out?” he asked.
“No,” Carl said, getting the bartender’s attention for another drink. “That the Jews rule the world?”
“I already tol’ you that,” the man said. “No, thissis more important than that.”
“We never walked on the moon?”
“Monsanto has a patent on the human brain?”
He paused. “No, but I wanna hear more about that one later.”
“The mole men have been controlling the U.S. Congress since the end of the Civil War?” He thanked the bartender and paid him.
The man looked at him blankly for a moment and he burst out laughing. “Jeezus, no,” he said. “That’s just fucked up, no.” He waved to the bartender and held up his glass. “No, man, nothing like that.” He leaned in close, and Carl tried to lean away. “I found out. On the internet. That the government.” He said that word like it was dirty, like he couldn’t stand to have it in his mouth. “The government. Has been taking DNA samples from children. From children, um… uh… Name.” He stared at Carl blankly.
“Carl,” he said.
“Carl, right. ‘M Barry.”
“Yes,” Carl said. “You told me.”
“The government, Carl, is taking DNA samples from kids, Carl. To make – get this.” He looked around ostentatiously. “Clones.”
Carl actually put down his drink and, for the first time that night, looked Barry in the eyes. He raised an eyebrow. “Clones?”
“Clones,” Barry said, and he took another long drink.
The bartender was on his way back. Barry caught his eye and said, “I think he’s had enough.” The bartender grinned and nodded.
“Not had nearly enough yet,” Barry said darkly. “Cuz there’re clones out there. And nobody knows the truth ‘cept me.”
“Well, you and the guy on the internet.”
Barry nodded. “Me and the guy.” He drained his drink. “Me and the guy. And Brandon.”
Carl cocked his head. “Brandon?”
“Brandon.” Barry nodded. “Cuz he’s probably a clone now. Somewhere.”
Carl sighed. “Okay,” he said. “I’ll bite. Who’s Brandon?”
The other man was silent and still for a moment. Then he put his glass down and pulled out his wallet. From inside he pulled a photograph. It was small, discolored and creased. It showed a younger Barry, looking much less torn up by the world, and a younger man. They looked enough alike that their relationship was instantly clear. “Your son?” Carl asked.
Barry nodded. “Yeah.” He carefully put the photo back in his wallet. “He was in New York on… on that day.” He went to take another drink, but his glass was empty. “He called me that morning to remind me we were going out to dinner. And that…” He took a shuddering breath. “Yeah.”
Carl couldn’t look at him. “Yeah,” he said.
“An’ I know, I know that they pulled down those towers. They did, Carlos.” Carl didn’t correct him. “I saw the videos with my own eyes.” His eyes were filling up. His voice was getting thick. “They killed my boy,” he said. Something that was half-sob, half-laugh came up from his throat. “But I know they have him somewhere. In a drawer somewhere. An’ maybe… maybe I can get them to give him back.” He rolled his glass in his hands. “They have my boy,” he said quietly, his words almost lost in the noise.
Carl sat there next to him for a while, and neither said anything. When the bartender came back, Carl held up his hand. No more drinks right now.