Friendship Contemporary Drama

This story contains themes or mentions of sexual violence.

Finn looked down the bar and thought he knew her. The red hair and blue eyes he knew he’d seen before. He picked up his glass and moved to her. She gave him a hostile sideways look and he asked, “Did you go to Fenmore high school?” “Who wants to know?” “I give ya two guesses and the first don’t count.” “I hate guys who think they’re funny.” Finn grinned. “How about this? Did you take public speaking with Miss Conner after lunch?” “Who wants to know?” “Inquiring minds want to know.” “I hate guys who think they’re funny.” “I hate chicks that go in circles.” “Buzz off then.” “Are you always this friendly?” “I am to dopey guys with lame pickup lines.” Finn went back to his chair. Hughie came and said, “don’t let it bother you. She does it all the time.” He shrugged his eyes. “There may be some chicks coming in later you can have fun with.” “Nothing else will satisfy me. You ever get that way, Hughie?” “Sure, it's called blue balls…” told Hughie. “I had a cousin used to say that. Ended up with six kids – Irish Catholic, see?” “Sure…sure…,” said Hughie. “I was supposed to meet some chick a half hour ago and looks like she stiffed me.” “Ahh, said Hughie, “I can tell you, lad, it happens all the time. The guys that do the best move on to the next one. One bloke says, ‘women are like buses, wait twenty minutes, and another comes along. Good old Jake, he’s married now with three kids.” Finn bowed his head. He mumbled something. “I can’t hear ya, lad. “It must be nice to get laid whenever you want,” said Finn. Hughie wiped a glass with a towel. “You might be surprised how it is in marriage. I get my share of guys in here that are miserable, and they make fools of themselves trying to satisfy their needs. It’s sad, really.” “No that don’t sound so good.” A pause. “You must get women in here looking for…” “There’s many more men looking for than women looking for… that is a consummate art, lad, getting a woman to leave a bar with you that you met for the first time…” “What’s that connsuemate?" "It means very good or the best,” “Oh golly yes, I can see where that’s hard. Hard enough getting them to even talk to you.” Hughie’s face got somber. “There was one night when a secretary from the law firm one street over left with a guy she didn’t know, and they found her strangled…” “No way!” “There was an undercover cop in here for a month afterwards and my boss Sully was bullshit because there’s nothing worse for business than a cop babysitting. He went to the precinct to get them to stop and got nowhere. I don’t think they ever did catch the guy.” “I knew her,” said the red-haired girl. Finn and Hughie looked at her. “Her name was Shelly Bostwick and we used to walk our dogs in Foster Park. Sad life. Pretty sure she was raped by an uncle when she was a teenager, and she felt guilty like it was her fault, and so she’d do anything to please a man. Married a bum of a guy, and her outlook was she deserved to be treated like shit, and she never thought she was the victim of anything. I tried several times to get her to see it differently, but I’m ashamed to say, I wasn’t surprised when I heard she’d been murdered.” The red-haired woman looked down. There was silence. Finn said, “Give her another drink on me, Hughie.” Hughie took up her glass, dropped some ice cubes, and poured some whisky. “I’m Finn.” “Hi,” she said, “I’m Cassidy. I’m sorry for being rude before.” Finn raised his glass, “Cheers,” he said. “Hughie?” Finn asked. Hughie quickly poured himself a whisky and stood with the two of them. “Cheers” repeated Finn. The three of them tapped glasses and took a gulp. “It’s a long road that doesn’t have a turn,” said Hughie. They froze in sadness. “It’s a sad life,” said Cassidy. “Ah well…we shouldn’t let ourselves get down-hearted.” Hughie finished his whisky and poured another. He walked away called by another patron. Cassidy quickly looked at Finn and looked away. Finn was thinking fast about what to say. “I can see why you’d be stand-offish to men,” he observed. She wistfully smiled. “70/30, I’d say." “What’s that?” “Seventy per cent of men are decent and thirty percent are bums.” Finn laughed at that. “Really?” “Been my experience,” she said. Hughie came back. “Cassidy, do you remember last Sunday night when that guy asked you to shoot darts?” She nodded. “Do you know who he was?” “He said his name was Alan.” “He is an undercover detective for the police department.” “He shot a good game of darts.” Hughie grinned. “He spends more time on a bar stool than he does in a pew, that I can tell you,” observed the bartender. “He asked me to leave with him and I told him I had to go see my mother; I saw he didn’t believe that, but I didn’t care.” “He showed up a couple of nights after that, and I could tell by the way he looked the place over, he was looking for someone.” “That don’t sound good,” said Finn. There was silence. “Do you mind if I ask you where you work?” said Finn. “I’m a teacher’s aide at the Freeman Elementary School.” “You must like kids?” “Oh, the kids in their innocence and spontaneity make me laugh for one thing and help me cope with the cruelty and sordidness of adult life.” “You mean like what goes on in here?” joked Finn. “Hey, just a second, I run a good bar here,” protested Hughie. Cassidy finished her whisky and set her glass on the bar. “Gentlemen, it has been a pleasure, and I’m sure I’ll see you again.” “Can I walk you to where you’re going? offered Finn. “Hey, I appreciate it, but I’m fine. I’m only going a couple of blocks.” She put a five-dollar bill on the bar. “Thank-you Cassidy,” said Hughie. “Good night,” and she walked out the door, and she’d gone about a block and a half, when she heard footsteps.

January 31, 2022 07:07

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