A man walks into a bar.
The wind howled like a pack of wolves on the hunt. Fat, dark clouds raced across the sky blotting out the stars and the silver coin of a moon. People were in a mad rush to get off the streets; afraid to get caught in the approaching downpour. Men held on to their hats lest they be blown away and the women held on to their skirts lest their secrets be revealed.
Standing alone in the streets, caught between a dead-end alley and a decrepit four story building, was a small bar. Its neon sign, which flickered constantly as if relaying a message hidden in Morse code, read “Jimmy’s”. In the midst of the stampede of bodies, one man extracted himself and slipped into Jimmy’s.
A little bell hung above the door and it rang whenever someone entered the bar. This time though, that little ringing sound was devoured by the wind’s haunting howl. Jimmy, the bartender and owner of the place, watched as the man stepped inside. Jimmy grabbed an empty beer mug and started wiping its inside. His eyes followed the newcomer’s movements.
The man wore a fedora hat and a brown coat with the collar raised. The man walked hurriedly to the bar and sat on a stool. Jimmy placed down the mug he was wiping and walked over to the man. Jimmy takes pride in his “reading” skills. He would boast to his regulars how he’s able to know the quality of a person just from reading that person’s body language, how the person dresses, and how the person talks. The man seated in front of him now read like a novel gone wrong.
“What can I get you, bud?” The old bartender asked.
The man seemed to have heard nothing. He kept his head down low and his hands clasped together in front of him. Jimmy waited. Then, as if shocked with electricity, the man looked up sharply. His eyes were wide and a Cheshire grin was spread wide across his lips. But it was really the eyes that made Jimmy sure the man was bad news. They were cold eyes, emotionless eyes, they were the eyes of a man who wouldn’t think twice of hurting you.
“Scotch. On the rocks!” The man exclaimed.
Jimmy answered with a nod. He grabbed a bottle of scotch and started making the man’s drink; every now and then he stole a glance at the man. The man was jumpy and his hands seemed to have a life of their own as they wouldn’t stop moving. Jimmy handed the man his drink before he went back to his mug wiping.
The man didn’t touch his drink. He looked at Jimmy with his cold eyes and huge grin.
“Have you experienced the pain of losing the one you love?” The man asked.
“You’ve a problem, bud? You lost someone?” Jimmy said.
The man removed his fedora hat and ran his hands through his hair multiple times. “No, no, no,” he said, “I didn’t lose anyone. She was stolen from me. You understand, bud?” The man said.
Jimmy felt as if a huge stone got caught in his throat. He wiped his forehead with the back of his hand.
“Oh hoho, you know what I’m saying, doncha?” The man got on his feet. “Tell me, and be honest, was she fun in bed?”
“Look,” Jimmy took a step backward, “I—I think you should leave.”
She told Jimmy no one would find out. It was just a single night. Both of them were drunk.
The man laughed maniacally. He pointed a finger at Jimmy. “Leave?! But I haven’t finished my drink yet!”
Jimmy tried to say something but the words retreated from his tongue as he saw the man point a gun at him. The black steel winked from the light’s reflection.
“Did you like how she tasted?” The man asked. “How was she? You stole her from me!”
The man didn’t give Jimmy a chance to answer.
Outside, no one heard any other sound aside from the wind’s ceaseless howling.