“You don’t know what a man pushed to the limits is capable of.” I said stoutly.
“With all respect, neither do you.” Pouring a glass for himself the bartender raised it to the lights, examining the amber liquid sway back and forth. Finally he sighed. “I know this guy,”
“And I didn’t even have to ask,” I smiled. Bartenders are great connections. They know everyone.
He narrowed his eyes. “Don’t take the situation so lightly.” He glanced around at the empty bar and drew closer once more. “Look for Ricardo. He’s a dealer who works with a lot of bounty hunters who aren’t looking to work directly with the police, if you know what I mean. He gives tips, tricks, and info on which rock to look under. They bring him the bounty, he turns them in and they split the reward. Not a bad gig really… But he doesn’t work with just anyone.”
“Where’s he at?” I asked, looking for a pen and paper.
“Tisk, you do your own leg work. Be the brains and the brawn. But keep your eyes to the ground. He doesn’t like new faces and if he decides he doesn’t like you he’ll act on that. Shoot you right then and there and collect the bounty all for himself. The first rule of street smarts is don’t be stupid. Got it?” I nodded. “If you’re lucky he’ll work with you. Maybe. If he likes you.”
“How do I make him like me?” I asked.
He shrugged. “Same as you get anyone to like you. Just walk in, explain what you’re after, buy a gun, and leave. Don’t pussy-foot around.”
Sheepishly I looked at the bartender. “Do I have to buy a gun?”
“Jesus, you really are stupid.” He touched his forehead to his palm. “You want him to like you, yes?”
“You want him to talk to you, yes?”
“Money talks but only if changes hands.” He leaned in close. “So go talk with money.”
Sighing I stood from the bar and headed towards the door. “Hey, what’s your name?” I stopped and asked. Funny, I’d frequented the place for months and he was the only one ever working, but I didn’t know his name. Seeing as he knew so much and was helping me, a complete stranger, I felt it only right. But also, maybe if I did some name dropping, Ricardo would warm up to me a bit easier.
“I have no name,” the bartender drained his glass. “Don’t think about telling him I sent you. I have a reputation to uphold and I can’t have people knowing I associate with guys like you.”