Dinner and a Job

His keen memory did not disappoint as he rounded the corner and caught sight of what looked to be some sort of pub or tavern through a doorway that had been propped open. A figure that smelled strongly of alcohol and smoke staggered blindly through the door and almost collided with him.

Undeterred he walked into the room and glanced about for an open table. A portly woman behind the bar must have seen the uncertain look on his face as he realized there was not a single empty seat and waved at him. She attempted to say something but the patrons of the bar were in the midst of reciting a particularly lewd limerick. Red-faced he made his way through the crowd toward her insistent wave.

"Well now'n, ye must be tha new doctor," the way she said it was far more factual than inquisitive. "Oiy, ye've had yer fill, gerroff!" She gave a grungy looking man slouched over the bar a light push and he stumbled off the stool and towards the door.

Jeremy stood looking at her, taking in the brilliant red hair shoved haphazardly under a scarf and the grease-stained apron covered an oft-patched dress.

"Whatcha fancy doc?" she asked.

"H-how'd you know who I am?" he found it hard to speak over the ruckus. 

"Oh hunny, I kin spot you ed-jucated ones a mile off. Ye don't 'zactly look like the rest o'the folks 'round here. But ye must be hungry or ye wouldn't be here," she winked knowingly at him; his stomach growled as one of the waitresses walked by with a plate of hot steaming food.

Jeremy had a feeling this wasn't the sort of establishment that had menus so he simply ordered "One of the those," pointing at the plate as the slender waitress set it down in front of a tall burly man with a shaved head.

The woman, who had not introduced herself, bustled off to make him some food after pouring him a pint of beer.

He took the time to look around the room. Occasionally gunfire sounded in the distance but none of the other patrons even blinked, even as it sounded as if it was getting closer. Every once and a while they would break out into a new limerick, it would appear they all knew the words.

A fight broke out in the corner, two men were exchanging heated words but mercifully no one bothered him.

The woman set the plate down at the bar in front of him, the mouth-watering aroma setting his stomach growling. He grabbed a fork and dug in.

Several things happened at once.

The mug of beer in front of him exploded sending shards of glass and pools of liquid into his dinner.

A woman screamed and then suddenly fell silent.

When he turned to see what had happened he realized the pub was empty except the crumpled heap of the little waitress on the floor with a pool of dark red blood slowly dying the floor beneath her.

The woman from behind the bar came flying around the corner and rushed to the woman's side. Jeremy stood, dumbstruck.

"She's still kickin doc, time to earn yer keep!"

The years of training took over and he made his way over to the waitress, placing a firm and practiced hand to her throat, the heart beat was present, but faint.

A quick examination revealed that the bullet had entered but not left.

"We have to get her to my office, I have to get the bullet out before I can stitch the wound."

The woman nodded and then called out, "Danny, get yerself in here!" Almost immediately a stocky young man with red hair to match the woman who called him came around the corner. The expression on his face did not change as he took in the scene. As Jeremy watched him he realized that any true spark of intelligence was missing from the boy's eyes. Despite this, he quietly and gently took the waitress up into his arms without being told and waited, looking impassively at Jeremy.

"This way," Jeremy gestured, hoping his mental notes from earlier would lead them quickly home.

The End

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