Two Beers and a Dead Bastard

By Marc Dion

May 5, 2011 4 min read

What I remember, and I wrote about it at the time, was the voices of men saying "bastards" over and over and over again.

I was working the day shift at a newspaper the day the Twin Towers went down, and after the long day was over, I headed home. On the way, I stopped at a bar for a glass of beer.

In fact, I had two glasses of beer.

And a shot of whiskey.

The big-screen television in the bar was showing the same bit of film over and over — planes crashing into the towers. The men at the bar were saying "bastards" over and over and over. I said it a few times myself.

After the two beers and the shot of whiskey, I got in my truck and drove home. I remember I was sick of news, and I was playing a CD by the Texas Tornadoes, a relatively obscure band that sang a lot of Tejano songs. I do not speak Spanish, but I like the sound of the language, and I like those accordion-driven songs Mexicans call "norteno."

I remember driving the eight blocks from that bar to the apartment where I lived then, the happy music bouncing around inside the truck, and I was looking at all the house windows I passed, almost all of them glowing with the blue light of a television set.

And what struck me was how normal it all was.

I worked all day. I stopped for a couple of beers. I went home the same way I always went home — one block straight ahead, right turn, six blocks straight ahead, left turn, one more block straight ahead. All the houses I drove past looked the same way they had looked the night before when I drove home from work.

And, in New York, people had died, blasted into a scar in the ground. Mothers cried. Husbands screamed. Firefighters climbed a ladder of fire and never came back down.

And when I got home, I ate a ham sandwich and went to bed early. I didn't watch any more television. I was sick of news, and I didn't care if there was another attack and I died in my sleep.

I woke up last Monday, and my wife, who rises before I do, was watching the morning news on television.

"Osama's dead?" I asked after listening for a couple of minutes.

"That's what they're saying," she said.

I had to work the night shift last Monday, and I had a busy morning before I went to work.

I took bags of grass clippings to the dump. I had some pancakes in a diner full of cops coming off the overnight shift. I went to the market and bought a dozen assorted muffins and a jar of mayonnaise. I went to visit my mother.

I didn't think much about Osama bin Laden last Monday. I had too much to do.

I worked my Monday night shift. I covered a town council meeting in a nearby suburb. On the way to the meeting, I stopped and bought a pastrami sandwich, which I ate in the town hall parking lot, in my truck, before the meeting started.

And I worked the day shift last Tuesday, still frowzy and tired from the Monday night shift.

But I had plans.

Tuesday, I got off work at 5 p.m., and I drove to the same bar I drove to the day the Twin Towers came down. I had two glasses of beer. And a shot. I wanted to be where I was 10 years ago. It was important.

There was some kind of game on television. I don't like sports.

And no one was saying "bastards" over and over and over again.

Because the bastard was dead.

To find out more about Marc Munroe Dion and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit

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