Hubert – Melinda Dus

Hubert barreled out of the store. Deanna caught up to him two doors down at the bar. The pig dropped to his haunches. He nipped at her bag of kibble, announcing his snack time. She piled a heap of food on the pavement and stepped inside.

Stools and booths showcased bold, mix-and-match colors. Table tops displayed images of drinks painted on the surface, an optical illusion. Travis. Deanna approached the bartender.

“Are you ordering?” He asked.

Deanna requested a seltzer. Off the bartender’s quizzical look she clarified and suggested a club soda. The bartender’s frown soured further.

“Gonna order something I can charge for?”

She handed him her card, “whatever you like best on tap,” and asked for a club soda on the side. He set the two drinks in front of her. Deanna pushed the pint toward the bartender, “For you,” and drank her water. She pointed to the painted seat next to her, “Clever.”

“One of my regulars,” he said, “drew someone’s drink on a napkin a while back. It started becoming a thing. Took me a minute to warm to it but he keeps folks drinking longer. They buy the rounds and he paints. On weekends mostly. He has a real knack.”

She toured the bar like a gallery. Travis must have spent a lot of weekends here. Deanna admired her brother’s handiwork and ingenuity.

When she exited the bar, her anticipated reunion with Hubert failed to materialize. The pig had abandoned his post. Worry built for a moment until Deanna caught sight of the animal one strip mall over at the corner convenience store.

Hubert seemed to proceed along a familiar circuit making his rounds. Normally Deanna scheduled her day, every appointment planned well in advance. Allowing herself to travel on pig-time, destinations unknown, felt refreshing.

The pig nudged Deanna into the shop. Hubert maneuvered to the storage area in the back and capsized, as if to nap for a spell. The animal’s actions caused no concern until the clerk noticed Deanna. The startled man gawked and gulped, opening his mouth to speak then snapping it shut fish-like. He managed to make the moment more awkward when he said, “You’re a right sight for sore eyes.”

Deanna went to rouse Hubert, “Watching him for my brother.”

“Well now, Travis, he stocks goods for me from time to time. We have ourselves a system,” the man told her, beaming. He rolled up on the balls of his feet before rocking back to his heels. “Nothing official. I Help him out.”

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  1. Lisa says:

    Love this story!!!

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