National Anthem, American Flag and the Unknown Soldier sat quietly at the bar nursing their beers.
Flo, the sassy high-haired waitress, cracked her gum and placed a gigantic appetizer platter in front of them.
“There ya go, boys,” she said. “Is there anything else I can get you?”
“Would you mind turning up that tv for us?” Flag asked.
“Sure thing, honey,” she answered and then she grabbed a remote and pointed it at the big screen television.
“Should we wait?” Anthem asked the others. A friend of theirs was in the latrine.
“Nah, he’ll be out in a second,” Flag answered, then they all started to dig into the potato skins, chicken fingers, cheese sticks, buffalo wings, pizza rolls, brownie bites and fun-sized candy bars.
A Sunday afternoon football game was coming on. All the patrons in the place turned their attention to the tv and watched, as they stayed seated over their wings-n-things, as the NFL players kneeled on the field instead of standing for the National Anthem.
National Anthem kept watching the show while putting a blob of sour cream on a potato skin and then ate the whole thing in one bite.
“These are good,” he told his friends with his mouth full, reaching for another.
Suddenly, a table full of dudes behind the American icons started flipping their shit. There were lots of cuss words and peanut shells flying all around them.
One guy was especially vocal.
He walked over to the bar, and put his beer down while holding it with white knuckles.
“Look at them millionaire sons-a-bitches. I’d like to kick their asses, disrespecting our country,” he said.
A puff of heated anger streamed from the guy’s nostrils like dragon fire, but, you know, not as cool. His face was as red as his ball cap.
“Ain’t you guys pissed about that,” he snapped at the trio.
Flag, Anthem and Unknown looked at him and then each other exasperated. They had grown tired over the years of people who could never grasp one of the true freedoms of being an American.
“Them millionaires got rich here and now they’re dissing you,” hot-head guy said loudly.
Everyone in the bar was watching and listening now.
Unknown Soldier took a long swig of his delicious craft beer, put it down on the counter, dragged his sleeve across his chin, turned on his bar stool and looked at the guy.
“They’re exercising their freedom of speech,” he explained calmly.
“Don’t get all fancy on me with that educated opinion shit,” he said, moving closer.
“Freedom of speech is what you guys should be concerned about respecting,” Flag explained, starting to flap a little. He was agitated. He had come here for some beer, some grub and a little relaxation. Now he had to deal with this bs.
“You know what y’all are beginning to sound like to me?” Hotheaded guy asked.
“Let me guess,” Anthem replied. “Snowflakes?”
The pissed off guy’s mouth dropped open a little, disappointed because he didn’t get to say it.
Suddenly, the door to the men’s restroom swung open and the 4th friend from the American icon group came out buckling up his pants.
He was a yuge guy—strong, muscular, longish grey-hair, good-looking and wearing little round spectacles that made him look handsomely intelligent.
He looked up to see what was waiting for him at the bar.
And he winced.
“US Constitution!”, the Unknown Soldier hooted. “Finally, dude.”
“We got a live one for ya here,” Anthem said. “Come over here and explain some things to this guy.”
Constitution walked over and stood at least a foot taller than the dude in the red ball cap. That guy looked up at him and gulped.
Constitution’s bicep with the tattooed bald eagle flexed as he snapped up his beer. He held out his hand and shook hands with the other guy and introduced himself. Then he put his arm around the guy and turned with him to go sit at his table with his friends.
Anthem, Flag and Unknown heard him say as they walked away:
“Now, I’m going to be using some big words and explaining some big ideas here for a little bit. I want you to try and listen real good, okay?”
And the trio smiled a little, feeling good about the prevalence of common sense and enlightenment, then turned back to their appetizer platter and 3 fresh beers placed in front of them, on the house, by that snappy little gum-crackin’, big-smilin’ waitress Flo.