CLOSING TIME

 closing time

        It had been a very good night at David and Jana’s bar. “If you haven’t gotten lucky by now, you’re not gonna!” laughed Jana. The last of the happy boisterous regulars exited at 2 AM. Jana went into the back room. The bar was filling up with silence as David prepared to lock the front door.

        As he reached for the door handle it suddenly cocked and the door opened. A man walked into the bar and marched right past David. The man had long hair, sun glasses, a beard and a trench coat that smelled like sulfur.

        David said nervously, “Sorry, friend. After 2 AM I stop serving alcohol.”

        The man continued to the bar, stood up on the foot rail, leaned over the bar and then reached down into the well, grabbing a bottle of whiskey.

        “Well,” the man said as he pulled up the bottle of whiskey, “You are not the one serving me, now are you?” He turned back toward David, threw back his head and swallowed loudly croaking like a bullfrog.

        David’s pistol was over there behind the man, under the bar counter just below the cash register, “Hey, pal. I don’t want any trouble. You can have the whiskey, just go, ok?”

        “Petty Officer David Ryman, you cock-sucking dumb ass, it’s me. Me!” and the man lifted his sun glasses to expose his red eyes and disfigured upper face.

        David’s revulsion flashed faster than his good manners, “Belathauzer? Allen Belathauzer! I, I haven’t seen you since, since…”

        “Since I saved your life, David? Since you emailed me in the hospital? Since you took Jana from me, David?”

        “Belathauzer, we tried to help you. You drove her away.”

        “I died for you, David.”

        Belathauzer took another drink from the whiskey bottle. “Well, David. Now I do want your help. You need to understand me clearly when I say it is a matter of life and death: I need to hide. I need six grand cash and quick.”

        “Belathauzer, I don’t have that kind of money. This bar is just getting by.”

        Belathauzer set the bottle of whiskey on the bar and then from his trench coat withdrew a sawed-off shotgun. He pointed it at David.

        “The safe, David.”

        David hollered loudly enough so that Jana could hear him in the back room, “Shit, ok. OK! It’s in the back room. You can have whatever’s there. I swear I won’t call the cops. But this makes us even, Belathauzer.”

        “I’ll tell you when we’re ‘even’, David.”

        They walked single-file into the back room. David crouched behind his desk and raised the rug to expose the floor safe. As he touched the dial David had a vision of unlocking a grave.

        “Hey, Belathauzer.”

        “Open it, David.”

        “I heard a good joke tonight.”

        Belathauzer tensed and leaned the muzzle of his shotgun closer to David’s head, “Don’t fuck with me, David. Shut up and open it.”

        Twirling the dial, David began, “Three guys are drinking in a bar when a drunk comes in, staggers up to them, and points at the guy in the middle, shouting, ‘Your mom’s the best sex in town!’ Everyone expects a fight, but the guy ignores him, so the drunk wanders off and bellies up to the bar at the far end. Ten minutes later, the drunk comes back, points at the same guy, and says, ‘I just did your mom, and it was sw-e-et!’ Again the guy refuses to take the bait, and the drunk goes back to the far end of the bar. Ten minutes later, he comes back and announces, ‘Your mom liked it!’ Finally the guy interrupts. ‘Go home, Dad, you’re drunk!'”

        “Go home, Allen.” said the soft voice close behind Belathauzer, like an Angel on his shoulder. “Put the gun down or I’ll shoot.”

        Belathauzer looked over his shoulder, inhaled, and then breathed softly, “Jana. Jana, I knew you’d be here. Come away with me.”

        Suddenly he was slinging the shotgun around toward Jana.

        “No!” cried David as Jana’s pistol flashed and Belathauzer’s shotgun blasted.

        Later, the authorities exhumed Belathauzer’s coffin and they placed Belathauzer’s body back therein.   Jana cried as they closed the coffin lid.

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