Bob Stuckey’s rosacea was lit up like a Christmas tree. It went in
cycles, these flares. One of the girls poured from the pitcher, slid
the glass to him. Empty packs of Marlboro Red Box lay soaked in small
pools of beer slopped onto the table. It was hour three going on four.
Bob was in the Zone.
Earlier, around a quarter to five, Bob had left Barenhurst Hall, and
as he always did on Fridays, came in the side door. A couple
fraternity kids passed him coming out, said, “Stuckey Chuckey!”
Stage Two of the Zone was the Pose. Glasses pulled down his nose.
Right leg over left. Suit jacked folded behind on his seat, a Pall
Mall filterless wedged between his two outstretched fingers.
Bob offered the girl beside him a light. “Seriously, the applicant
pool is way down this year for Law.”
She was right in his sweet spot, probably from one of the little towns
upstate. He’d asked about her plans, her dreams, pulled the glasses
down when he saw she was one of the ones that takes a breath before
“Oh, Bob, I’ve barely got a 3 point. I was thinking B-School.”
“Dreams, Sweetheart! I’m telling you it’s a numbers game. You never
know, you might get lucky.”
Bob clinked his glass against hers and took a long drink. A bit of
beer foam clung to his chin and dripped onto his lap. A smile broke
across his face watching her eyes light up.