Thursday, December 4, 2014

Rough Cut (or, "written with two beers and an ink pen")

She fell into the cup with a vengeance. It had been a long day, and the bath with the beer was especially tasty this time --in this moment.

As she nursed the bubbles down her throat, she pondered her rapidly limiting options.

A gentleman at the far end of the bar watched her with subtle enthusiasm --but not so subtle the bartender did not notice.

Given her habit of skipping out on the bar tab, the barkeep ever so quietly dropped the charge for her beer onto the rapt gentleman’s tab.

He didn’t notice. He was too wrapped up in her wild brown hair, long limbs, and bizarrely demure black leather outfit --complete with boots that had silver spurs.

He was also enraptured by her steady focus and concentration on her beer, which disappeared down her mouth from her glass like a carnival mirage.

She knew he was watching her, the gent at the far end of the bar --and it pissed her off. She’d never seen him before, and strangers watching her eat and drink made her feel nervous.

Putting something in her mouth was a deliciously private act --and this man, with his oddly long, dark eyelashes and strangely appropriate beard and mustache --profaned it by watching her without blinking.

She slammed the empty beer glass down onto the chipped wooden bar, knowing it would be wordlessly refilled, and then, very loudly, to the bartender, she said:

“Tell Beard-O to stop fucking staring at me.”

That was the one thing that made her unsexy --or, extremely sexy, if your tastes ran that way --her extremely foul mouth.

That, and the enormous bowie knife strapped to her hip.

“My name is Timothy,” Beard-O whispered to himself, embarrassed to be caught staring. He was usually much smoother than that. Girls liked him! They really did!

The whisky in front of him seemed to reprove him too, mostly because it hadn’t been drank yet. It just sat there, the two cherries in the bottom of the tumblr staring up at him like two pairs of disapproving red eyes.

He didn’t know what had compelled him to step into this particular bar. It wasn’t anywhere on his route or on his radar. It was just a random place he’d seen across the street from a date that had gone well and he’d only stepped in at the spur of the moment to celebrate his date success with a quick drink.

The girl he’d just left had suggested the restaurant (he always asked them, guessing --correctly --that they’d choose a place in their neighborhood). The food had been just okay, but the girl had been stellar. And so they had parted after dinner only after they had made second date plans.

And now here he was, hot off a great date, knowing he’d been stellar too, only to find the sexiest woman he’d ever seen --and she clearly didn’t think he was all that stellar.

Instead, she was well into her second beer, which she seemed to drink with one, long, steady, single swallow (just like she had drank her first), and somehow sharpening her long bowie knife with only one hand.

She clearly seemed to adore that thing.

Beard-O (that is, the suddenly Timid Timothy) had never been so jealous before in his life.

And … of a knife.

Of all things.

Trying to work up some nerve, Beard-O slung back the last of his whisky --including the two disapproving cherries --but then choked and wound up coughing them up.

The cherries, mixed with whisky and distress, plopped onto the old wooden bar with little ceremony.

Timothy wanted to die as those two cherries, the bartender, and Her all turned to stare at him, rather than help him.

Why didn’t those damn cherries just choke him to death?

Feeling oddly charitable, the girl in black leather suddenly piped up, in a slow, laid-back, intensely sarcastic drawl:

“I could stab you, if you like. Right in the heart.”

She pointed directly at his chest with the menacing long tip of her bowie knife.

“It would be,” she continued, “a lot quicker...” (pause) “...than what you’re trying to do.”

Timothy just choked and coughed a little more in response --too embarrassed and starved for oxygen to reply.

God, she was a marvelous bitch.

God, he really, really wanted her. He would even let her stab him --if she really wanted to.

The moment the thought formed in his brain, she seemed to know it.

With an authoritative thud, she finished her third beer, slid down from her barstool in one easy, obviously practiced movement, and came towards him --the fresh-sharp knife tip winking at him as she drew close.

Timothy swallowed, still on the edge of coughing up whisky and cherry syrup, wondering if she was actually going to stab him or make love to him as she got closer.

Out of the corner of his eye, he saw the barkeep close out her tab and set it aside, mysteriously unpaid.

The bartender had not been as stealthy as he thought. Timothy knew he was being charged for Her drinks. He had no problem with it. Nay --he welcomed it.

She would be in his debt.

She slid in next to him, slim enough that the closely spaced barstools bothered her not at all.

She leaned in close, the scent of her soap in his ear, and she whispered:

“Hi Timothy…” (She knew his name?!) “...your date didn’t go as well as you think.”

And, with that, she shivved him in the kidneys and then left. Her job was done.

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