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Sympathy

The boot rested on the brass rail above the spit trough that also needed cleaning. Against the wall, stools were stacked as the bartender wiped away the debris from the customers. This was but another time and another chore that went with everything else in this den of players. All eyes slowly went to the door as it creaked open allowing someone to join the crowd. One set of eyes stayed fixed on the new comer as he strolled to the back and to his favorite seat. With a bar towel over the wrist and a pencil on his ear, the barman approached the customer. The sounds from the music box filled the area and a grim scowl greeted the tender.
"What are you having today?" The barman asked.
"One lousy existence!" Came a grumble.
"Aren't we all, what do you want to drink?" The barman countered with a faint smile.
"One glass and a bottle of J&B, I have a lot to think about tonight." The customer answered as he let a smile tickle his lips.

Moments later he delivered the bottle and the customer removed the cap. The barman returned to his duties as others came and went for the next several hours. This would be the fourth night in a row that the Scotch drinker would close with him after everyone had left. The tip would be good and the company not all that unpleasant. Three chimes sounded as the last member left the others alone.

"It's that time again." Announced the barman as he rounded the tables.
"Yeah, I know. Could you spare me some more time to ask you something?" The customer asked.
"I was wondering how long it was going to take you to ask, sure Bud, what's on your mind?" Came the reply.
"You seem to listen to all the problems of the universe behind that bar, how come?" The customer asked.
"Guess it comes with the job, sometimes it's just good for business." The barman answered as he knew this would be a long Q&A from this patron.
"However, you do seem to care a great deal what people have to say to you." The customer probed.

A chair scratched the floor as the barman sat by the table and produced a pipe and tobacco pouch. After packing and lighting the artifact, he stared at the customer and waited for the real question. His eyes shifted slowly as the customer opened his jacket.

"I think I have a way to end this One-Ups-Man ship between me and you know who. I'd like your opinion of it." The customer said.
Lightly tapping the pipe to his palm, the barman nodded his head for the customer to continue.
"I lost a great deal when the flood came through a couple years back, and I've been working on a plan to get some of it back. I might even get more than I had before. Trouble is, He shifts the power base and that's it in brief, power. Before the flood I was on an even playing field with him, now I barely have enough to get by. I think it was a pretty dirty trick the way he used that to get the upper hand." The customer said then poured himself another drink.
"I'm with you so far on that point. Starting from scratch does seem lousy after he made the bad move." The barman agreed.
"Yes! Yes, indeed it does. He sets the board, moves the pieces, and then when everything goes against him, he decides to change the game. Not that playing fair was ever in his rule book. Anyway, here's the plan that I think will change everything." The customer said as he pulled a scrap of paper from his jacket.

The barmen viewed the print and scratched his head before tapping the pipe on the table. Relighting, he handed the paper back and thought for a moment before speaking.
"You have your work cut out for yourself, lots of variables and lots of things can crumble before you see any results." He said.
"Oh, I have the time to set it up, plenty of time." The customer said firmly.
"Yes, I guess you do at that. How do you start such a great undertaking?" The barman asked.
"Dreams and this. Just a piece of paper and text, this is the first of many future events." The customer chuckled.
"You'll have to get them to understand the script and give them knowledge of paper." The barman countered.
"That's easy, they are already scratching on rocks, paper will be simple to make and put to use in the next centuries." The customer answered.
"The trick is to what they place on the paper and how it will affect the future. Nevertheless, first things first, there must be a reason to start this off. I believe suffering will cause the need, then the board will be set for the new game to begin. Life has been too easy for the chosen and it's about to change. Some outside influences will be helpful, however, some internal strife will go further and get the ball rolling. This is where the dreams begin, select persons will have them and of course they will deem them as coming from him." The customer said as the barman shook his head.
"You'll have to play that very close to the chest if it's to be believed." The barman said.
"I know, but what do I have to lose? I know how to be good as he knows how to be bad. It's all a matter of perspective. Anyway, hear me out, then give me your opinion." The customer answered.
"Make you a deal, you help me clean this place and I'll listen to you and help where I can." The barman said with a glance around the structure.

The customer agreed to help and they talked as they worked. They refined several points by the time the mops and buckets were placed in the corner. The customer took notes on the paper and as the light started to cast shadows through the stained glass windows the customer gave the barman five gold pieces.
"So then, what do you think?" The customer asked.
"Well, I think you have a good chance if your audience is not too bright and if they are led by the nose. I still have a problem with that part about giving up his son. I know they kill cows and sheep and place flowers and other things of value on the ground, but giving up your first born is stretching things a bit." The barman replied.
"It will work. They will believe that part more then all the rest." The customer said firmly.
"Oh? Why would they believe that?" He probed.
"Because that is the only truth about all of it. He gave me up without a thought." The customer answered in a hushed tone of regret.
"Yes, I see your point. You were first born to him and he did cast you out of his house on your ear. I recall that's when all this began." The barman said.
"So, in your opinion, you think I have a chance to get even with him for that?" The customer asked.
"Yes, I think you have a very good chance at setting things to right again. Dividing the masses with something so cruel will bring him down a peg or two. Have you come up with a name for this character in your game?" The barman asked.
"Jesus." Came the reply.
"Common enough for the times, don't want to stand out too much among the players." The barman agreed.
"When are you going to make the move on this?" He asked as he held the door open for the customer.
"Soon, I have some other things to do first. Today I have to set a baby adrift down the Nile and have the perfect person retrieve him. I have to straighten up my files and begin a new listing of servants coming by next week. My work is always behind or not finished. I have to get more servants or better ones. You appear to have your house all in order." The customer answered as he glanced back into the room.
"I find it easy when I have good patrons like yourself. Take care Lucifer, I hope you will stop by when you have the time." The barman said as the door was shut.