The listening shade had grown apprehensive and distant. It rose and sloughed off to a corner booth to nurse its liquor and memories. The Barkeep's tales always left the clientele in a poor state.
The door opened; breaking the warm, soporific haze of the bar with the cold breath of the outside world. A middle-aged man entered, intentionally scruffy but well dressed. His posture was uncharacteristically upright compared to the folk who usually wandered in. Briskly, he strode to the bar and sat before its keeper. This man had an abiding thirst, but not for the bottles standing on the shelves.
He met the eyes of the man before him, as if in challenge. A scholar, the gleam of wisdom drowned in knowledge shone in his eyes.
"What can I get you friend?"
The new client jumped a bit in his seat, like a child suddenly offered a sweet. A nearly manic grin split his face.
"I want the Truth. About everything. And I want to be alive to tell it."
Smiling, the Bartender leaned in close. "Do you know the terms?"
"Of course, I wouldn't have come if I didn't think I was ready".
A blank napkin slid across the bar beneath an ornate pen