I'm ordering a pizza, and I’m waiting for it at the bar next door. For me, it takes about a beer for the pizza to be ready. Sometimes, it takes two.
The only other person in the bar besides me is the bartender. He serves me my beer, and we watch the TV. There’s a news story on about how they found ice on Mars. There's pictures one of those rover things sent back. There's red clay in the pictures along with some patches of white stuff.
About half-way through the story, a guy comes in. Scrawny arms, shabby clothes, long beard, raggedy baseball cap. His walk says he’s already had a few. He has a sneer on his face, as though he's above everything despite himself. For all I know, he could be a millionaire. One of those weirdo millionaires that hoard all their money and walk around looking like homeless people. Like Howard Hughes or some shit.
"Would you look at that!" says the bartender, pointing at the TV. "They found ice on Mars! Absolutely amazing!" He looks at the guy. "Sir! What can I get for you?"
"Gin and Tonic, if you don’t mind," says the guy.
"You got it."
The bartender gets the guy his drink. He pays and takes a sip or two.
"There’s no ice on Mars," he says.
"Yeah, well," says the bartender, "that sure looks like ice, to me!"
"It's not ice," says the guy. "Trust me. I’m from there."
"You're from where? Mars?" says the bartender.
"Yeah," says the guy.
The bartender throws me a look. I’m supposed to say something, so I do:
"What’s it like up there? On Mars, I mean."
"About like you'd expect," says the guy.
"Mmm," I say.
"Okay," says the bartender, "let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that you really are from Mars. How’d you get here?"
"To Baldwin?" says the guy.
"To Earth," says the bartender.
"The usual way," says the guy.
"Jesus, Mary, and Joseph," says the bartender. "You know, I had a guy in here, once, said he was from the North Pole. Said he worked for Santa Claus. Said he was here visiting family in the off-season. So now I got you in here telling me you're a Martian. Fine, you're a Martian. Whatever you want. Only thing I give a rat's ass about is that you pay your bill."
With this, the bartender goes to the back of the bar to get something or other. I’ve paid already for my drink, and now it’s time to get the pizza. Before I leave, I turn to the guy.
"If that white stuff in the picture isn't ice, what is it?" I say.
"Oh, that's ice, alright," says the guy. "Got more of it up there than they know what to do with."
He takes another sip of his Gin and Tonic. "I just like to bullshit."