Outside and across the street, a man in a heavy windbreaker
stands idly. He wears a watch cap. You can see his breath. An
AWOL bag is on the sidewalk at his feet and a garment bag is
slung over his shoulder. He is looking at Billy's place and doing
nothing more than that, looking at the window. You would have
to know him well to realize that he is smiling. The window of
Billy B's Bar 'n Grille displays two semaphore flags. This man
happens to know semaphore. The red triangle, white background
is Foxtrot. The red-and-white squares is Uniform. Foxtrot/Uni-
form. Fuck you. Good old Billy Bad-Ass.
Of all manner of men, the easiest to identify on sight must be
the Sad Sack. The Sad Sack appears incapable of having a good
time, which is not necessarily true, but your idea of a good time
is not his. Lined up shot of Jagermeister, sassy girls with bare and
pierced bellies, crowded dance floors and spectacular sound sys-
tens give him no joy. In fact, seen alone in the midst of all these
stimulants, and alone is his usual state, he becomes an object of
ridicule to you and your circle of laughing friends.
The man watching Billy's bar is a Sad Sack, even while he is
smiling, and, again, you wouldn't know he was smiling.
Someone looking at him curbside might assume that here is
an unhappy man who has lost his way. Somewhere else, a person
might stop and offer to help him find it again, but in this neigh-
borhood lost people are left to their own devices, which are few.
It is not the eight years of hard time in a Marine brig that
have rendered him permanently blue. Simply, it is his way. If
anything, the brig put him in a state of suspension that he some-
(From "Last Flag Flying")