Smoke and Shadows

With the tequila cruising through my system, I ease back against the ratty bar, swiveling slightly on my squeaking bar stool. The people mill around me, bone numbing rock pumps out of crappy speakers, and the four Marines I just spent six months in the desert with eye me uneasily.

“Relax boys, this place isn’t gonna make me have a flash back to dark rooms and broken bones.” I flap a hand at them. “Go play. I’ll be fine.”

Nolan stares at me steadily, “Not you I’m worried about. It’s all of them.” He jerks his head at the crowd.

I smile and slither of my stool. “Gentlemen, I haven’t been in civilization in, well years. So, your babysittin ideas can go out the fuckin window. Now, I’m gonna go have some fun with that Italian stallion over there. I suggest you all do something similar before we gotta turn into smoke and shadows again.” As I saunter off I hear Nolan start to speak and wave my hand over my back. “I need a ride, I’ll give one of you fuckers a call in the morning.”

I hold my head and grit my teeth as Willie snorts and snickers his way down the street. The old rustbucket of a car he’s driving is and creaking and grinding and I kick the dash in a petulant fit of rage. My foot damn near goes through the floorboards. Willie’s snickers turn into guffaws.

“So what happened last night? You were there for a few hours and then you’d split. Nolan about had an apoplectic fit over it.” Willie shoots a sideways leer at me, you and that Italian stallion go work out a few kinks?” I sneer, “You know me…gunfights, car chases, and bodies in the water at the docks.”

Willie does know me and his eyes go wary as he studies me. “You’re kidding right?” I grimace as the car grinds around a corner. “For god’s sake Willie why do you drive this piece of shit?” I kick it again. “It’s a bloody disgrace.”

He laughs and pats the cracked sun seared dash. “Yeah, but she was a beaut in her day. Maybe sometime I’ll be here long enough to rebuild and restore her. Now, bodies? Do I need to be worried here?” I flap my hand at him and snuggle into the seat. “Leave me alone you gossip whore, you know I don’t kill and tell.” My voice slurs as I’m already starting to fall asleep.

His bushy blacks eyebrows wing up on his forehead. “How hungover are you.”

I open one eye and stare at him balefully before very precisely retorting. “I am flawless.” I close my eyes and give up as he starts belly laughing and slapping the steering wheel. Godsdamn it this is gonna be a long day.

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