Killing Time

Posted: February 3, 2015 in prose

There was one other party at the bar. It looked like a family. They were loud enough at least that they had to be close. Thankfully they were far enough away that the bar top itself still felt relatively secluded. She shuffled over with her eyes to the floor and sat down in front of one of the taps. In her seat, she looked up and scanned the TVs for anything interesting. Sports, nightly news, and some talk show promised her she wasn’t missing much.

“How’s it goin’ darlin’? Can I get you anything? We’ve got some food specials if you’re hungry.”

“Any appetizers?”

“Chicken fingers and onion rings are $3 ’til midnight.” The bartender glanced at his minimum-wage watch. “You’ve got about 15 minutes. The night’s still young.” He smiled.

“I’ll take the chicken if you don’t mind. And a gin and tonic. Sapphire.”

“No problem.” He gave another quick smile and disappeared into the computer.

She went over his figure in her head. He must have been at least 5’10”, maybe 5’11”. He was slender but not skinny. She could barely see beneath his tragic uniform but could tell he had put at least some effort into himself. He probably played basketball on the weekends with his buddies. Mostly though, as she could tell by his unkempt stubble, he seemed not to put much effort into most things. She hoped her gin and tonic was different. Thankfully she wasn’t looking for much more.

Glancing around the room she eyed the other patrons for a moment. One, the eldest child, was already looking her way but jolted back into the conversation once her eyes were almost at his. She chuckled to herself; his failed attempt at subtlety amused her. He looked college age, though only barely. He couldn’t have been much younger than the bartender. He was there with who she presumed were his parents, totally engrossed in their conversation and his younger brother and sister, who were trying to stay awake through it. He had on khaki shorts and a baby blue polo, the douchebag calling card she had run into one too many times during her own time at college.

The bartender set her drink down in front of her.

“So what brings you out tonight,” he asked, keeping his tone light and his eyes heavy. This must have been his best Casanova impression.

She took the glass and sipped it. It was heavy on the gin which she appreciated, but expected nonetheless. Whether he was actually trying to flirt with her or just playing his role, he looked thirsty and she could tell. Thankfully it was autumn and the sweater she was wearing didn’t show much of her chest. Otherwise she was sure he would have stolen a glance or two by now.

“Oh,” she said, setting the cold glass back down and pulling her sleeves over her wrists, “just killing time.” She thanked him for the drink and pulled an old copy of The Great Gatsby out of her jacket, which she had draped over the back of her chair. A few old yellow lights kept the bar fairly dim but the TVs added just enough light for her to read comfortably. He took the hint and found something on the other side of the bar to clean.

A few minutes passed and the bartender returned with her chicken fingers and some silverware.

“Anything else for now?”

“Another gin please,” she said. Hers was nearing its end.

“Sure thing.” He left to make another drink while she tore off a piece of chicken and dipped it in some ketchup. Just as she brought it to her mouth the old bicycle bell attached to the door jingled and three older men in suits walked in. She paused for a moment to glance over at the newcomers, then rewarded her mouth with the bite she had prepared.

They all scanned the bar themselves and wandered off to a table along the right wall past the family whose conversation had quieted significantly. Two sat on the bench against the wall and the third took a chair with his back to the room.

The bartender dropped off her gin and wiped his hands with his towel, looking over at the three newcomers.

“Thanks,” she said. “Can I get the bill too? Whenever you get a chance.”

“Sure, no problem,” he said. His eyes stayed on his new guests.

One of the men against the wall got up from the table and walked over to the bar top, stopping right next to her to look at the taps. He was balding and gray, and looked like he drank way too much fine scotch and ate way too much fine Italian food in his day. His suit was black and well-tailored with a matching plain black tie. How original, she thought. This close she could barely see the straps of his leather holster peeking out from beneath his blazer.

“How’s it goin’ buddy. Can I get three a’ these Octoberfests?” He pointed at the middle tap.

“Of course my man,” the bartender responded. He grabbed a pint glass from behind the bar and started pouring. “Did you wanna start a tab?”

“Yeah that’s fine.” The man put one hand on the bar top and the other in his pocket. He watched the TV with the news for a few moments then looked down at her as she read. “The Great Gatsby, huh? I think I had to read that in school. Bored the shit out of me.”

She stopped reading and reached one hand out for her gin. She forced a laugh out and took another sip.

“Me too. I’m trying to go back over the classics to see what I missed.”

“Hah,” the man belted. “Good luck with that, doll.” He patted her shoulder. She clenched her jaw slightly and forced out another chuckle.

The bartender finished pouring the third beer and slid them all over to the big man. His hands were large enough to hold all three. Beer in hand he stomped back over to his group and gave out the beers. The next thing she heard was the clink of glasses, and the mumble of the two other groups.

A few minutes later the bartender came back with her check and dropped it off, face-down and folded in the middle. She thanked him. She read a few more pages but stopped soon after. She just couldn’t get the stink of the big man’s cologne out of her nose. It was a strong cologne but not strong enough to cover the massive amount of natural ambiance that man must produce on a daily basis. So instead of masking his smell all it did was add to it. She shivered and looked at her bill.

As she expected, the gins and chicken were barely over $10. She took out a $50 bill and folded it up with the receipt. She downed the last of her gin and pushed the glass to the other edge of the bar top, leaving the last chicken finger. Sliding her chair back, she got up from her seat and went around behind it for her jacket. She loved that jacket. It was a great winter jacket, black leather with pockets big enough for classic literature. She put it on and adjusted the sleeves to fit comfortably over her sweater.

She placed her folded receipt under her glass and grabbed her book, depositing it into her left coat pocket. She left both her hands in her pockets and paused for a moment. It would be chilly outside.

“Have a great night,” she said to the bartender with a slight nod.

“You too,” he replied with a two-finger salute. “Be safe out there.”

She turned and walked closer to one of the TVs at the end of the bar, the one showing a soccer game. That end of the bar was close behind the table with the three suited men, who were almost done with their first round of Octoberfests. The two facing the room looked up at her with a raised eyebrow each but quickly returned their focus to the man facing the wall, who was telling them some story about a woman with whom he was apparently quite irritated. For a moment she stood and looked at the soccer game. Red and green were tied with a few minutes left. Green looked like it was trying harder, so she hoped it came out on top.

The TV went to commercials and she turned to the table with the three men. Facing the man with his back to the bar, she pulled her right hand out of her pocket and with it her black, silenced Beretta. She quickly let one shot off straight into the back of his head, then two more between the eyes of the other two. The shots were quiet compared to un-silenced shots, but still loud in the quiet bar. The man who had gotten the beers had managed to pull his own pistol out from his holster but not in time to fire it off before she had already scratched the itch in his brain with hers. Behind them the wall was covered in crimson. Behind her she heard gasps and a glass break.

She turned around.

The bartender was standing behind his post with his hands in the air. The family had their heads down with their hands over their heads and turned outward in surrender. All except one of the younger kids, the girl, who was motionless staring straight into her eyes.

With her right hand she put her gun back into her right pocket. With her left she brought one finger up to her lips and gave the girl a wink.

She stepped outside into the cool October air.

Three down. The night is young.

  1. Yo Mamma says:

    I hope that didn’t happen at BWW’s. Though I hope the tip was real!!!


  2. eversojuliet says:

    Nicee!!! That was badass!!


  3. Ryan says:

    Great story! Is everything ok? 😉


  4. sis says:

    DA faaaaq???? That was awesome!!!!


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