Brute

They call him Mad Dog. I don’t know his real name.
Not the kind of man to tell you. He’s frequent, and any purchase

is made in coppers. Funny, he’s got the reputation of a brute,
titled after his grim stories. How he throttled a dog to near death,

escaped the police numerous times – by any means. I never want
to know what he did to that father who swore at his kid.

You know, I like him. Others come, throw the cash onto the counter
like it’s food for an animal, and watch me count it up. Pay the change.

Mad Dog leans forward, places his fingers onto the coins
and counts in tens with me, making sure he has it all,

like he’s soothing his child to sleep.
His gravel voice. Counting sheep.

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