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Crime Fiction Thriller

The early October snow started blowing sideways when Walt saw the outline of lime-green neon lights flickering in the distance. His intoxication was apparent when the words OPEN BAR looked crooked. The flashing green hue created a slight nausea as Walt yelled, “Now that's just what I was looking for and didn't even know it. Fuck Linda and all the bitches like her, I can appreciate this!”


As a 38-year-old recently divorced guy, he shared his woes with whoever would listen, “Linda decided she would rather whore around with everyone in Georgia, then moves us across the fucking country so she can screw everybody up here in Colorado. Well, Walter Wynn ain't no fool! Linda is Georgia trailer trash. Her Momma told me so!”


Walter found it hard to see as he crossed the threshold of what appeared to be a dive. It smelled like one. Walt took in a whiff and said to himself, Shit, that must be a vintage brew. Thank God Im not going to suck back the air. What is that? Mold mixed with smoke, sweat, and sex?

 

The service bar itself was beautiful old school. It looked like it was hand-crafted back in the 1920’s. The red finish was high shine on what looked like cherry wood. The lighting outlined the bottles of hootch that set like tin soldiers all in a row. They made Walt lick his dry lips, wanting to quench his depressed soul. The bottom of the swivel barstools were brass swirls with a fancy leather seat. They matched the footrest perfectly.

Walt lifted himself to sit on the middle stool out of 12. After rubbing his eyes, he noticed he was the only patron. He removed his duck-billed hat, slicked back the sides of his balding brownish hair, and said, What's a guy got to do to get a drink around here? Maybe I should poor my own!” 

He went back to rubbing his eyes. 


 “They call that snow blindness, my man.” The words appeared from a vast, effervescent, smiling mouth. Focusing his eyes, he saw the rest of a pleasant fifty-something black man standing behind the bar. Welcome to the Oasis, Walter; I’ve been waiting for you. What can I do you for?” 

Walter answered as he got up to leave, “Now, wait just a God damn minute. I might have drank a little before I walked in here, but I know damn well I didn't tell you my name. Plus, no one calls me Walter but that bitch whore of an ex-wife of mine.”


“Sit back down. Son, you can chalk that one up to a lucky guess. I must have heard you use it in that rant you were whooping up outside. I could make out the words you were yelling, Walter ain't no fool and whore Linda,” then he reached out with a friendly left handshake. “I’m the proprietor and tonight's acting bartender, Milton Cob, at your service. I was joking with you, my man. Look around; you are the only customer I’ve had all night. I couldn't talk my regular bartender into coming out on a night like this. To tell the truth, I expected to close her down early tonight. Now tell me true, my man, What brings you out on a night like this?”


“Just looking for a dive to drown my sorrows, you might say.” Walter started getting comfortable as Milt noticed he looked something like a lumberjack. Walt took off his warm, down-filled red and white vest. Under it, he wore his favorite black and white checkerboarded flannel shirt tucked into his faded Levi 501s. He wore a leather belt with an engraved knife holster on his right side with the initials WW burned into the leather cowboy style. On his feet, he wore ankle-length red socks and hunting boots. Milt’s guess is size 12.


Milt also noticed the considerable bulge in Walter’s back pocket. This sucker must be loaded, he thought to himself. Milton also noticed that Walter Wynn’s white face would have looked like a fish out of water seated at his Five Points black bar any other night. 


This particular October 23rd was different. It was the year 1978. He had been waiting for a customer like Walter to show up for ten years. Walt reminded Milt of the cocksucker who ran off with his old lady back then. He wouldn't feel bad at all about rolling him. That's why he called his old friend Rach, the hooker that paid him rent for the pad above the Oasis. She would surely take on all the risk to pay her rent. But a 50-50 split is what he asked. 


As Milt poured a fifth shot of bourbon in the shot glass in front of Walter, he chit-chatted as the best bartenders do, “Five Points used to be a happening place back when my daddy ran this place. He called his establishment Misfits Emporium back in the 60’s. And let me tell you, baby, he ran the best black bar West of Chicago. When Dad passed, he left me the place with bad decor. He left me all those platters in the Juke also. Someday, they'll be collectors gold, but for now, they add a little sound to the place.” he picked up the bourbon bottle with no label. It did have a big black X drawn on it.

“Can I top you off?” he asked Walt. 

As Walter belched, the robust smell of cheap bourbon filled the air. A bit more intoxicated now, “Why do you call” with a hiccup and a pause, then “Why call this place the Oasis anyhow?”


“That's what its original name was back in the day, in the 1920s, when black brothers and sisters would come up to Denver to perform, but they weren't allowed to stay. Great Grand Dad offered them a safe place or oasis; you might say,” then pointing to the back of the bar. “See that back there. That's where the stage once was in case they wanted to grace us with a tune.” 

Walter didn't notice that Milt kept checking his watch and then peeping out the window covered in the remnants of smoke from a multitude of cigarettes once smoked. 


And then she appeared at the threshold. She was long and tall, with dyed blonde hair that covered a good portion of her aging face. The alcohol did the rest. Milt pointed to the swivel chair next to Walter. 


She was stealthy as she walked like a tigress over to her prey. 

“Buy Me a drink, Baby?” she whispered in Walters's ear. 

Walter picked his head up with both hands as the room spun a bit. “Shit, you scared me!” He was brooding; thinking why in Hell would I want to buy you a drink simultaneously with saying, “Milt, please pore one for the Lady.”


That's when Walt sealed his fate. He took out his bulging wallet and gave Milt a crisp Ben Franklin. “Keep the change, my friend. Keep them coming, and old Ben there will invite his brothers!”


The more Walter drank, the more the blonde looked like Linda. The way she rubbed her slightly sagging breast on his arm when she giggled and the way she copped a feel of the other bulge in his pants infuriated him.


No matter how drunk he was, he noted that long hair couldn't hide a 40-something haggard face. Rach excused herself, “Got to use the lady’s room, sweetheart.” She was showing her intoxication as she tried to touch her nose but missed. “Maybe put a little powder on this nose.”


Walt and Milt watched as she walked away. Walt smirked, “Small breasts with big hips. Ten to one, she has kids,” 

“I don't know her,” Milt lied straightly and continued, “Clothes too tight like that and the smell of cheap perfume make me think she's a working girl.” 


Walt and Milt continued to shoot the breeze in Rachel’s absence. Walt grabbed a quarter from his pocket and put it into the jukebox. He danced drunkenly on the way back to his seat. Milt just knew Walt would choose the Rolling Stones. Although he liked Mick and the boys, jazz was always a better choice.


Walt started to sing off-key, “Killer..: He is just a turn away...hey kill…”

Milt stopped him mid-stanza, “I'm pretty sure those aren't the lyrics, man. If I remember right, that was an anti-war song Mick and the boys came out with after Vietnam. He is singing….War Children… it's just a shot away.”


Rach entered the conversation just behind Walt’s left ear. Her voice was sultry and sounded like it should belong to the hottest woman in the bar. “But wait, you are the only woman in this joint, “ Walt mistakenly spoke out loud as he turned to look. Milton winked as he placed a cocktail napkin down for her. 


Rach spoke while blowing the smoke from the Kool cigarette she had slowly inhaled, “The lyrics are; rape, murder, it's just a shot away…It's just a shot away…rape, murder, yeah, it's just a shot away. I’m pretty sure that is some of the lyrics anyway.”


It seemed like the words rape and murder sunk into Walt’s dark soul. Walt couldn't help himself. He grabbed Rach by the shoulders and shook her as he yelled at her accusingly, “ You bitch, just looking for free drinks and sex, I bet!” Then, looking into her green eyes, smeared with cheap mascara, she saw Linda and not Rach; you are married with kids! What a whore, Linda!” Walt’s subconscious pounded; The night he recollected, Linda had been out late. “She was at a dive, just like this one, rubbing on a guy like me.” 


As Walt threw Rachel to the ground, murder was on his mind, but his conscience repeated…” teach her a lesson, just teach her a lesson. He did want to kill her. Never realizing she's only a con looking for someone to rob.


Rach noticed his wallet bulging from the back of his pants and got excited as if the bulge had been in the front. She reassured Walt by saying, “I understand, Baby.” completely ignoring Walt’s abuse. She has no worries about his agitation as in her leather purse with the long fringe; she carries a metal nail file along with a Saturday night special. Just in case she needs it. 

Rachel’s only mistake was not noticing the bulge on Walt’s right side where his hunting knife was hidden.

All she had to say was, “Shall we take this party to my place?” 

Said with a sexual overtone, it worked, and Walt followed.

He decides to go with her to fuck, and then rough her up a bit. He planned to do some makeshift cosmetic surgery with his fists. Hopefully, it would teach her a lesson.


Standing outside her apartment door seductively with her rabbit fur coat and leather skirt pulled up, Rach said, “You want me, don’t you?” Showing Walt her lack of panties, she coxed him closer. She held her sharp nail file tightly between her middle and pointer fingers in case things got out of control. “Come and fuck me, Baby,” she called. 


Milt watched from the window, safe in the comfort of the Oasis. He couldn't believe what he saw. Things he witnessed, but would never testify to:

Suddenly, Walt lunged forward, enticing her to use the nail file’s sharpness to push him away. He looked down at the blood flowing from his belly. His eyes reddened. It made him crazy and filled with vengeance. Without hesitation, he clutched his knife and stabbed her in the chest.


The last thing Rachel saw was her gun lying almost out of reach. With her last breath, she pulls the knife from her chest and grabs the gun. Walter grabbed the knife as if it was a long lost treasure. He slashes her throat from right to left. Walter turned to walk away but then doubled over, clasping his back in great pain. 

Mortally wounded, he looked back at the woman who had appeared dead but had a gun in her hand anyway. As he stumbles back to her, it seems she is now Walt’s ex, Linda in his eyes. He falls on top of her lifeless body and dies. The forgiving snow becomes blood-soaked.


The lifeless pair looked so peaceful on top of each other. Milton Cob spoke to them as if he was grateful, “Im closing the Oasis a couple hours early tonight. I might say I’ll see you later, but I doubt it.” He then chuckled grabbed the wallet, gun, and purse, and said, “ I guess the trash took itself out tonight.” 

October 06, 2023 15:34

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