September The 30th
‘Man that was close’ I said to myself after freeing my voice from the confines of my dry throat by taking one long drink from the beer glass. I placed to glass down and looked around the bar. I was so paranoid at that time I would have pulled a gun on an old lady asking for directions. The bar was old, well kept, but old. The neon lights advertising different brands of soft drink must’ve been at least 50 years old and they needed a repair ASAP. The dusty clock read midnight. The last day of September had just begun; it was time for me to put all of this behind me. The barman who had just handed me my nectar of a drink was bald, fat and ugly but at that moment in time he was my best friend. His nice smile and so very friendly voice had won me over, yes I would like some salted peanuts and some crisps you prime specimen of humanity, I love you and I would love to move in with you and live out my remaining days with you in your fine establishment, forever drinking your delicious beer, oh how I love you. The rest of the bar was empty apart from a few drunks and men with things to forget. I was one of them and I needed to forget fast.
‘Man, that was so so close’ I repeated to myself. It was unavoidable to think differently. What I had just done was abhorrent on so many levels morality had certainly lost the day, but I had done it and done it well, albeit being very close to death at the time. I couldn’t help it, I started to laugh, I must’ve looked mad. A strange looking gent laughing his face off while taking repeated and long gulps from his beer. I had every right to laugh however. I was free, absolutely positively irrefutably free. I had done the impossible. I was on top of the world and I couldn’t help laughing.
My laughter was cut short when I noticed two new faces among the crowd of hopeless drunks and troubled men. They didn’t fit in at all, one of them was a bald, cauliflower eared and ugly monster of about 40, the other was a younger bull but looked just as bad. My heart sank down so far that I am surprised it didn’t leave a hole in the floor. Here they were, they actually found me and I am deader than a dodo. They waltzed up to the bar, I can’t exactly call it waltzing but I find no other words in my dictionary to describe the sick dance these creatures performed for the audience of me as they traversed the few metres to the barkeep. The older one obviously the leader, in whatever the ‘hired goon company’ called a hierarchy, leaned in close to my good friend the bartender, a few words were passed and he leaned back to reassume his imposing stance. The barman, once the greatest man in the world now the most hated fattest lump of turd in the world, turned to the solemn crowd of nobodies and alkies and called out that ‘these two gentlemen (if it is even possible that they could be gentle) are looking for someone’. He then only used my first name as a reference to the man they wanted. Strange as it was, someone obviously thought that these two ‘gents’ were looking for him and him personally, I have no idea how the idiot came to this conclusion but still he thought it was him. Poor him if I am to be honest.
As this unknown bearer of my first name took a stand and proudly announced the drunken monosyllabic accusation of ‘Yes?’ my heart, which was once through the floor and touching upon the nine circles of hell itself suddenly rose, up and up and up until at last it wedged itself in my throat. What the hell was going on, wasn’t it common practice in such an establishment that these two ‘men of the knife’ get their hard earned money, to at least supply some form of identification apart from the victims first name and a basic whereabouts? Not that I was in anyway complaining at the time that someone else was about to jump up and take the bullet meant for me, I was simply confused. Admittedly, there was some annoyance on my part as to why on earth such powerful men with such powerful wallets would send such thick men with such thick skulls to take me out. Didn’t they remember that I probably had ripped them off so bad that they would be feeling it all month?
Anyway, this poor creature jumped to his feet and proudly announced his drunken presence to the rest of the bar; the two goons suddenly took a great interest in this strange drunken man. Before he could even ask a ‘what do you want with me?’ or a ‘would you like a drink?’ the younger of the two monster men whipped out a pistol and shot the poor blighter right between the eyes. He stood there a second, his brains decorating the wall behind him a strange colour of dark red, before falling like a ragdoll in a crumpled heap on the ground. I got a good look at the man before his short and fast meeting with the laminate floorboards. His face still haunts my dreams.
Immediately after this shockingly violent occurrence occurred, the two goons made their exit. Everyone in the bar was so shocked or drunk that no one made a single noise for two whole minutes. All eyes were fixated upon the lifeless man right in the middle of the room. I personally had fallen unconscious and I now lay face down in a puddle of what I learned later on was a strange mixture of beer and urine. Either my ex best friend the barkeep had done a funny one in my drink, while we were still the greatest of friends or I had wet myself from shock. I personally prefer the first but I doubt it very much.
Sometime later, after everyone had finally become accustomed to the dead body in the room and had either silently returned to their beers or began to yell swear and generally panic, someone roughly shook me awake. Once I opened my crusty eyes I was greeted with the spotty face of a 20-something man with a genuine look of sympathy on his face, I had found a new best friend. I sat up and surveyed the scene; the bar was relatively clean although the barman had recently dropped the pint he was pouring as the murder happened, the police still had not been called as no one had thought at all to call the boys in blue after a murder and also a few people, including the fat barkeep was were sobbing their guts out after having viewed such a heinous act, light weights. I tried to stand but my new best friend was still shaking me constantly asking me if I was ok, I tried to push him off but he simply refused to budge. I left him to it as my body suddenly decided that staying conscious in a circus act like this one just seemed a little too much for it. Once again I blacked out.
A long time after this I woke up again, only the bar was mostly empty and the body had obviously been taken away by the police; I guess someone had eventually called them. I quickly took my bearings and went out the building through the back. I jumped into my car and sped away from the bar as fast as my car could take me. A man had died; he was dead, so very dead, deader than dead in fact, it was simply quite impossible to be as dead as that dead man was at this present moment in time. He was dead and it was my fault. I had killed men before, it was part of my job but this was different. This time the bullet was meant for me, I was prepared and ready, but someone stupidly jumped up and took my place. He shouldn’t have died but he was dead. Oh man. These thoughts ran through my head as I drove quite speedily home from the scene of the crime. It wasn’t a pleasant journey.
The last thing I remember about September the 30this me running from my car back into my house, crashing through the front door and screaming. Good thing I lived in a detached house. After that I believe I fell unconscious for I woke late the next day surrounded by numerous body fluids of such a nature as I would rather keep to myself. In my defence I was already drunk and paranoid, all I needed was another burden of guilt on my already guilty conscience.