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Mini-Story Monday, Episode 5: The Coming Storm, Part 3

Why do you have to say motor vehicle, like some kind of … I don’t know … high browed, faggot.” The word surprised Briggs. That was a word he never used. Language he heard coming from the drivers, the technicians, but, language he never used. He prided himself on being well spoken. Being precise with his words. Much like Watson was. Why was he acting this way? “Well, sir,” Watson said, stammering, trying to keep his hurt hidden and doing a poor job of it, “I am going to … I think I’ll just chalk that up to the demon alcohol talking and just … well, we’ll just let that one pass. Sir.” He said and there was silence at the table. Briggs slowly worked the ice in the glass, Watson looked around the bar that was slowly filling up. “She swore at me,” Briggs said after a while, “said things I have never heard her say before.” “Your wife,” Watson asked, his attention pulled back to Briggs.“Yes,” Briggs said and tried one more time to suck more alcohol out of the ice in his glass. “She swore. She called me names. She said … Fuck. She said fuck and fucking. In all the years we have been married, she never raised her voice, never swore. But, tonight …” He put his glass down and made a gesture with his hands, like an explosion, “It all … came out.” Silence again. Watson felt uncomfortable. He was completely incapable of offering any kind of sympathy. When emotions came into play, Watson, like many of his colleagues, was out of his depth. He stared at the table in front of himself and wished for the silence to stop. “I’m sorry, Watson,” he said at last and Watson looked up at him. “I … I am deeply sorry I called you that. You’re very precise with your language and that … Well, that is admirable. Please forgive me.” Watson didn’t know what to do. Briggs was being sincere but, still emotional. Watson fidgeted with his drink, cleared his throat. “That’s quite all right, sir,” he said, “understandable, you’ve … Well, it’s certainly a stressful time for you. I appreciate your apology but, not necessary. I know you’re a good … a decent man.” “Am I?” Briggs asked and needed and answer. None came. They sat silently for another long moment and then Briggs stood up. “I’m getting another one, you want another.” Watson quickly finished his drink and nodded. “What are you drinking?” “Cranberry juice, tonic water and a splash of lime,” he said handing his glass up to the captain. “No booze,” Briggs asked and Watson just shook his head. Briggs exhaled, feeling pathetic. “great, the only guy I can call to be my drinking buddy, doesn’t even drink.” Watson gave him an embarrassed smile and shrugged. Briggs walked toward the bar.