He used to grumble about the women as he sucked on budwiser at the bar, calling them vampires, claiming they were out to suck men's blood.

            Only new people took him seriously, asking Tommy the Bartender why he let the fool stay around.

Tommy had no good answer except to say the fool kept him honest, an answer people didn't get until they'd listened to the man awhile, hearing about his time in Vietnam, and how things were never so real when he got back, how he lost his wife to some "goddamn hippie," and how he couldn't get himself back onto the career track he'd started before the draft.

            We didn't feel sorry for him so much, as lucky we'd escaped, looking at ourselves just a little bit closer, at why we had what we had, and inevitably, we brought the man a drink.

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