The Wisdom of Whisperin' Ron

Little old Peggy, the bartender, was eighty years old,
but the Bashful Bandit was slow.
She waddled out of the back room
and set down a big bowl of grapes on the bar
in front of Whisperin’ Ron
like a still life in the half light.
Whisperin’ Ron had a cancer operation on his throat
ten years ago when he
turned fifty,
and now he talks in a hoarse loud whisper.
Sometimes it’s annoying
because you can’t hardly hear him and
he really likes to talk,
like a yippy dog that had its vocal chords snipped
but still barks all the time.
He puts his cigarette and beer down
and carefully picks out a big
fat purple grape.
“Freshly washed and chilled,” Peggy said.
Whisperin’ Ron put the grape
into his mouth and chewed thoughtfully
and with obvious pleasure
for a long time.
“Mmmmmm, mmmmm, mmmmmmmm...”
Then he swallowed demonstrably.
“You know what, Peggy?” he whispered.
“What, dear?” Peggy said,
leaning her ear toward him.
He looked at her as if he was about
to reveal a tremendous secret
that would affect both their lives and leave
them forever altered.
“Grapes make great wine,” he said.
He smiled very big and sat back.
“Yes they do, dear,” Peggy said,
“Yes they certainly do.”


Mather Schneider
Mather Schneider is a cab driver in Tucson who has had work published in the small press since 1996.