No one wants to die on a Sunday

Submitted into Contest #112 in response to: End your story with a character standing in the rain.... view prompt

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Crime

CW: violence

It was sometime after 11pm and I was lying on the cool pavement spitting out gobs of blood as feet were stomping and kicking different regions of my body. You might be wondering why I’m getting the holy hell kicked out of me. To better understand why I’ll have to take you back a few days where things really started to go bad. 

It all started on a Friday night, not so different from any other until she walked into the bar. You could smell her perfume as she sat down, all dolled up for a night on the town. But she wasn’t from around these parts. Girls who look like that don’t go into bars like this. The Tin Cup was frequented by pushers, peddlers, dregs and every other low life vertebrate. The clientele was about as clean as the glasses they served. She stuck out like a sore thumb.  

I played piano there with a blues band a few nights a week. I didn’t care about the money. I did it so I could continue doing something I loved. It never paid the bills so I had to find a day job to pay the rent. But for a few nights a week I was in Heaven. It was as if the rest of the world disappeared and the music was the only thing that existed. But tonight she appeared and little did I know she was going to destroy everything. A cataclysmic force entering my mythology. She was my sweet smelling Ragnarok. I should have finished my set and gone home but my curiosity got the better of me. I had to know who she was. After the band wrapped up I lit a cigarette and went to the bar.

She was there sipping a Gin and Tonic and not really paying attention to anything other than the glass in front of her. I sat down a few seats from her and ordered a whiskey neat.

“You play very well,” She said turning her head just enough to glance at me.

“Thanks, don’t get too many music lovers in a joint like this,” I said taking a sip of my drink.

“Then why don’t you play somewhere else?”

“Works dry all over town. Nobody wants to change up house bands so we get a little scratch here until something else opens up.”

She gave a little smirk.

“Did I say something funny?”

“If you really wanted it you’d take it,” She said sipping the straw waiting for my reaction.

“Life isn’t always as black and white as that.”

“It is if you want it to be.”

“Is that so? Your world is only black and white?”

“I’m a black and white kinda girl. There is no gray in my world. I want it or I don’t. And if I want it I get it.”

I chuckled a little.

“Is it my turn to say something funny?” She said turning to face me.

“Can I ask you a question? I’ve seen a lot of broads come through those doors and I ain’t never seen any of your caliber sitting on one of those stools. So the question is why are you here instead of some posh club?”

“Those people bore me. They’re vapid and only want to talk about money and themselves. Alcohol tastes better when people don’t know your name. Besides can’t a girl slum it once in a while?”

“A dame like you shouldn’t be in a place like this.”

“You gonna protect me? Be my white knight?”

“Don’t get fresh.”

“There’s some fire. I like feisty.”

“You wanna get outta here?” I said finishing my drink.

“Took you long enough,” She said also finishing hers.

We left the bar and walked the streets. There was a cool fall breeze blowing so I took off my jacket and put it around her shoulders. It slid over her white dress acting as camouflage to blend into the night. The vibrant color against the shadowy silhouettes of the buildings and the dark concrete attracted looks from the hustlers and beggars. I hurried her along as voices started coming from the alleys and from men clutching paper bags, leaning off street corners. 

“We should hurry, nothing ever good happens in this neighborhood after sundown,” I said putting my hand on her back, ushering her with a quicker pace.

“I’m not too worried. I have a .22 in my purse,” She said with a smile.

“You have a gun on you?”

“Yeah, you think I’m dumb enough to come down to this part of town unarmed?”

“Who are you?”

“Just a girl looking for a good time.”

“You’re bound to get hurt.”

“Maybe I like it rough,” She said with a smirk. 

We made it back to my place without any confrontation. I was a little embarrassed about my apartment but she didn’t seem to care and even if she did she didn’t seem to let on. She just walked straight in, dropped my jacket off her shoulders onto the floor and slipped her straps over her shoulders and let the dress fall in a clump at her feet. She stood there naked, her body illuminated from the street lights. The light bathing on her skin making her look like a Greek statue raising her arm and with a finger motioning for me to come closer. We started kissing and I lifted her up, carrying her soft body onto the bed laying her down in the sheets. She rolled me over and I felt the brush of her lips as they slid along my body, it was like being kissed by a ghost. The rest of the night was such a blur that I can only remember bits and pieces before we both fell asleep exhausted, panting and covered in sweat.

When I awoke in the morning the bed was empty. I rolled over to the other side where she had been sleeping and I could still smell her perfume on the pillow. This was my life. Nothing good ever lasted. I had gotten used to it but it still stung every time it became a reality. I rolled out of the sheets and sat on the edge of the mattress rubbing my eyes and wondered if I dreamt it all. The sweet smell was the only thing that made it real. I had never even gotten her name and now looking back I wish I had kept it that way. 

It was Saturday and I made my way downtown for breakfast. A few years ago I had found this hole in the wall diner run by this Albanian widow named Emina. She made this omelet topped with chili that hooked me from the first bite. She didn’t have too many employees. The old broad did everything; washing the dishes, cooking, cleaning out the grease traps, taking out the garbage. She was 65 and still outworking her 20 year old grandson. I had gotten to know her pretty well as a regular and even pulled a couple shifts washing dishes when the grandson didn’t show up and she needed more plates. 

I walked in and she was in the back smoking a cigarette while flipping hashbrowns on the grill. This wasn’t your place if you were worried about health code violations. I’d occasionally find tiny ash marks in the eggs. I didn’t mind, the chili masked most of it. There was a counter with stools and there was usually a few old timers sipping coffee and smoking there non-filtered cigarettes reading the paper. Her grandson was taking orders and running the register. He nodded to me and yelled in the back: Grandma, omëletë djegës. She laughed banging the grill. I took a seat at the counter and the grandson poured me a cup of black coffee

“There were a couple of guys in here asking about you,” The grandson said.

“What’d they look like,” I said taking a sip of the coffee.

“Rough guys, big guys.”

Great. Just what I needed. More shit to pile on to my picture perfect life. Must be related to that woman from last night. No one would pay me any mind else wise. Who was she? Obviously someone important enough to send some goons to investigate. This was turning out to be some day and I hadn’t even finished my first cup of coffee.

After I got to the bottom of the first cup of coffee Emina came out from the back with a cigarette in her mouth sliding the plate with the omelet across the table.

“You in some shit?” She asked.

“It would seem so, guess I’m Mr. popular. You know who they are?” I said.

“Assholes. Rude.”

“They say anything else? What they wanted?”

“No, just asked if we knew the piano player.”

“What’d you tell him?”

“You eat omelets. That’s all I told him.”

“Sorry for the trouble.”

“No worries. Eat up, it may be your last meal,” She said with a laugh before making her way back to the kitchen.

I took a bite of the ominous omelet and knew this wasn’t going to end well. Things like this never do. Everyone has seen enough movies to know guys like that are never going to let you off without some damage. I was just hoping they wouldn’t break my knees or some other blunt force that required you to listen to your own bones breaking. I finished my meal and gave her a good tip. If she was right about my last meal then I wouldn’t need money where I was going. Guess I’d find out soon. 

The rest of the day was filled with errands. Your typical weekend activities; laundry, groceries. I was spacing out in the laundry mat, looking out the window when I noticed two guys parked in a dark car across the street. I stared at them because they both were staring back at me. I waited 5 minutes. Pacing around and checking the dryer and they were still there, looking inside.  I wasn’t born yesterday and realized I had been tailed. The question was; what do I do now? As soon as I leave they’re going to follow me and throw me in their car or worse.  My only option was to sprint out and hopefully out run them. God, I hope they’re fat. 

So that’s exactly what I did. I hauled ass out that door and they both got out and started to chase. To my luck one was fat but the other looked lean and that meant trouble. I heard them yelling but couldn’t make out what they were saying. I just kept running. I ran down an alley and saw a chain-link fence to the back and a dumpster. I now had two options. Scale the fence and keep running or hop in that dumpster hoping they wouldn’t look inside. I chose the dumpster. I climbed in and lowered the lid burrowing under some of the garbage just in case.   I heard them come around the corner.

“Where’d he go?”

“The hell should I know.”

“Think he went over that fence?”

“ You can go check, my ass ain’t getttin’ over that.”

“You think he’d be in the dumpster?”

“He wouldn’t be that dumb, check it if you want.”

I panicked and started to dive down as much as possible. I swam under enough garbage bags to be fully covered as the lid opened. I could see flashes of sunlight through the cracks, holding my breath as not to move.

“I don’t see nothin’. You see anythin’?”

“I don’t see shit. Let’s get outta here. We’ll catch up with him later.”

They lowered the lid and I let out a deep breath, resting there for another 20 or 30 minutes just to make sure they weren’t waiting around the corner. I made my way back home looking over my shoulder the whole way home. After washing the coffee grounds and tomato sauce out of my hair I got ready for my gig tonight. If they could find me at all those places then they would know I’d be playing tonight. I could have run. I should have run. But I didn’t. I got dressed like every other night and took a shot of whiskey before I left.  The Tin Cup was full of the usual. Nothing out of the ordinary. No mob types. Just the bums and the dregs. I was never happier to see them. 

I played like I had never played before. The music came out of me that night and I couldn’t stop. We jammed like we never had before. I pushed the songs further and the solos, God, the solos I was playing. I was like a man possessed. Maybe I had to feel like I was going to die in order to feel this alive. Whatever it was, I was riding that high and if they came to get me then so be it. Let this be my magnum opus. My ninth symphony. I was ready. I shook hands with all the players and had a drink at the bar. It was closing time, 1 am. Sunday. Bloody Sunday. I shook hands with the bartender and made my way to the street. 

I never saw the first punch. All I remember is hitting the pavement and then the boots started. So now we’ve caught up to the present and here I was being dragged off the ground and thrown into the trunk of a car. Different parts of my body were pulsating with waves of pain. It had started to rain. I could hear the patter of raindrops on the trunk. I passed in and out of consciousness as I could feel the car start to slow and finally stop. The trunk opened and I could feel the cold rain as hands dragged my body out.

“Hey, wake up Mr. Piano man,” The man said slapping my face. “You know why we’re here right? You can’t go sticking your thing in Mr. Brandzinos wife and think we ain’t gonna do nothin’ about it. You pay the price for thinkin’ with your little friend in yer pants.”

The rain was falling harder now as he grabbed me by the face.

“The boss said to make it hurt before we plug ya so…”

He grabbed one of my fingers tight and snapped it. I could hear the bone break. I felt like I was going to puke. 

“Hey, hey, hey, don’t pass out on me yet. I got a couple more to go.”

He snapped a couple more digits. The men let go of my arms as I fell to the ground looking at my hands and the fingers that were going in different directions.

“Stand up,” The man said pulling out a gun.

Even with all the pain the rain felt good. It took me a second to get to my feet but when I did I tilted my head back and let the rain cover my face. I guess this is it. It was Sunday. Out of all the days to go this was the worst. Sunday’s are for relaxing, football. Not dying. Why couldn’t it be Monday? Dying would be like going back to work. Something you don’t wanna do but know is gonna happen. 

BANG, BANG, BANG. 

September 25, 2021 01:52

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