Knife

She sat at the piano, worn and scratched with age, playing a simple tune she’d learned many years ago. It was a busy Friday night at the bar, and she would soon return to serving beer to the many rowdy men that liked to frequent, despite its isolated location in the countryside. It was the dead of winter, and the night wind howled furiously just outside the doors, daring anyone to step outside. No one asked her to play the piano, but no one told her not to either, and as she did not have a piano of her own playing while working was the only chance she had to practice. And she did so love to play the piano. Sighing contentedly as her fingers came to a stop and the last notes of the song hung in the air, she stood from the bench, the legs scrapping quietly against the wooden floor. The bar was an old barn the owner had bought and converted several years ago; the interior was gutted, a fire pit built in one corner and a bar counter in the other. A wood floor was laid out, furniture brought in, and just like that a cedar scented, hay ladened watering hole was born. She walked to the bar, smiled at the bar tender (an older, seasoned grandpa she got along with quite well), and collected a fresh round of drinks to deliver to anyone willing and able. She knew just such a crowd: the loudest, rowdiest, most populated cluster of tables in the whole room, all centered around one man. Michelson Connor, son of the Senator and local hell raiser. Dressed in a fine button down shirt and a freshly pressed pair of pants, it was his aura that left an impression. Apathy wafted off him like cologne. Everything one could imagine a young, privileged man doing, he had done with no repercussions. If there was one regular customer that brought a bad taste to her mouth, it was him.

 

Approaching the table with the drinks, she was welcomed with open arms and cheers. The beers quickly handed out she turned to leave, not failing to notice Michelson Connor’s hand trailing after her skirts. She felt his eyes follow her, but paid little mind. Such behavior was not uncommon coming from him; he had made several suggestions and offers to her in the past, all of which she turned quite away from. She saw the bar tender beckon, and when she walked closer he motioned to the trash basin behind the counter. They traded off who took the garbage outside to the burn pile behind the bar, and tonight it was her turn. Gathering the container, she walked through a doorway and paused by the back door to slip on her heavy winter coat. Reaching into her pockets for her gloves, she felt two strong arms wrap around her waist. Jumping in surprise, she turned to see Michelson Connor looming over her. Pushing her against the wall, he leaned in close, reeking of alcohol. He barred her way as, panicked, she tried to escape around him. His hands roamed over her body as he mumbled about marriage and leaned in to kiss her. Using her full strength, she managed to shove him away only to have him grab her roughly by the wrists. Seeming entirely sober now, he demanded her hand in marriage, promising things she had never wanted or asked for but he seemed certain she desired. Breaking free once more, she gave her final refusal in the form of a slap. Grabbing the trash bag, she hurried out the back door, hoping that would be the end of it.

 

Stomping through the several inches of crunchy snow already covering the ground, her coat flapped wildly in the wind, she failed to hear the door bang open behind her. She felt the stab of the knife in her back and dropped the trash bag out of shock. The feeling of the knife pulling out of her body made her shudder, as the open wound let the cold seep in and blood pour out. She stumbled forward and fell to her knees. Looking over her shoulder she saw Michelson Connor standing over her, a bloody knife clutched in his hand. She managed a cry and put one hand forward to crawl away before he fell on her, pulling her around to face him. He stabbed her several more times until, panting, he stopped. Leaning forward, he grabbed her chin and pulled her close.

 

“You are mine to have. Forever.”

 

Her choking gasps, full of blood, were his only response. Leaving her and the knife in the snow blooming with red, Michelson Connor calmly walked back into the bar and to the bathroom to wash up. By the time he returned to his table, everyone around him was far too drunk to notice the orange tinges on his shirt peeking out from under a jacket he had taken off a hook near the back door and thrown on.

 

Despite several search efforts, her body was not found until the Spring thaw, as the fierce snow storm from the night of the murder buried her completely. All evidence melted away along with the snow, leaving only little wild flowers sprouting around her body and the knife she was murdered with in a phenomenon no one had ever seen the likes of. While it was clear she was attacked, with no evidence and no leads her body was quietly buried and the incident quickly forgotten. Shortly after Michelson Connor moved from the small country town to a much larger city up North, and was never mentioned again in the bar he loved to frequent with the pretty woman who played the piano.

Untitled

Cecilia walked down the street in the big city, the smoke from her cigarette fogging the florescent, murky sky. Day, night, there were no tells save the suits in the bar windows. So many men fresh off work, reluctant to return home to bothersome wives and troublesome kids. So for a drink or two they’ll stave off the inevitable; the life they themselves slaved so many years to achieve as a plaque, a milestone, a social check mark. Cecilia could not help but smile. She was in her mid to late thirties, professional hair and makeup sitting atop a fine suit she purchased just the week before. An estranged mid to older man might go so far as to label her attractive in a certain light, if she allowed herself to be in such a situation. Cecilia was a successful, strict lawyer. I say successful because she had yet to lose a case. I say strict because she only represented a select group of citizens. She chose her clients very carefully. Walking amongst the tall buildings and low hanging street signs Cecilia had a rare moment of reflection. The select group of people she chose to represent were not what regular society would deem worthy of defending. They were not drug dealers, murderers, hell, they weren’t even child molesters. They were domestic violence offenders. Men (Cecilia never represented women) charged with beating their girlfriends and wives within an inch of their lives. Cecilia made a killing off defending such men, and as her reputation proceeded her she was a repeat offender’s go to woman. This evening, for instance, she was on her way to meet a client she’d worked with before. Two wives and cases later it seemed a woman had landed him in hot water yet again. Cecilia cared little for ethics. It was a relative term and she was not in the business of relativity. She arrived at a cocktail lounge, dim blue and green lights illuminating the window silhouettes, and thought it a good of place as any to meet privately for business, which she was certain her client did often. Rule number one with Cecilia: she did not want to know. Not if you beat your wife; she assumed if you were in need of her services the answer was affirmative. But to know little else. If you cheated, where you liked to eat, or even your favorite color. The less she knew the better. She walked in through the small, single door and found her client sitting at the bar, looking seasoned and all together unbothered by the most recent allegations and scandals. All thanks to Cecilia.  

The Lonely Princess pt 2

The next morning the princess was awoken by a hand on her shoulder. She opened her eyes and found herself on the streets, leaning against a light post. Sitting up a horrible headache rocked her mind. She glanced to her right and startled considerably. The man from the pub sat next to her, looking as awful as she felt.

“What happened?” She looked up at the now bright and sunny sky.

“You asked me to marry you and I said yes.” He said.

The princess shook off her hangover and looked at the man, confused. “We were drinking,”

He nodded. “We were both drunk. I don’t regret what I said, but that doesn’t mean I’m going to black mail you into going through with it.”

“What are you saying?” She asked.

He shrugged. “I’d like to know you better. Have dinner with me?” The princess’s breath caught in her throat. Truth was, she remembered the night before. Truth was, she did like him. Truth was, they were from different worlds.

The princess laughed, hiding her smile behind her hand just as her mother did at the countless parties she hosted. “Me? Go on a date with a commoner? A bar tender no less? You must have hit your head while drunk. I can’t believe, even intoxicated, I would propose to someone like you.”

“I understand.” He said as she stood and turned away. Walking back to her inn she consoled her worried maid and bade her pack quickly for departure so as to leave the town in haste.

She felt as foolish as a person could feel. She had come this far and now she was just going to run away? Perhaps love, the love she’d so desperately been searching for all this time, had offered itself to her and she’d been too heartless to take it up on the offer. How would it look, a princess running into the arms of a bar owner? She tried to convince herself it would be shameful.

That’s it. Now she understood why everyone insisted she never try. To find a decent man she could stand was all someone like her could hope for. The princess looked out the window of her carriage as it drove out of town into the countryside, the feelings of emptiness and loneliness coming to her stronger than ever. The face of the bar owner mocked the corners of her mind. It was too unbearable.

With little care to momentum the princesses threw open the carriage door without warning, taking a tumbling leap out onto the grass. Shouts from her company fell into the distance as she ran the way she’d fled desperately from. Back up the road, back to the town, back to the bar. Bursting through the door of the small, dear little tavern she found him behind the counter polishing glasses. He looked up, curious, as the princess stormed up to him. “Sir,” she said, standing at the counter looking very decided. “I accept your invitation for dinner.”

“Great,” he said in return, a small smile of amusement playing at his lips. “Where would you like to go?” After little deliberation the couple revisited their first meeting; the same time, the same table, but with slightly less alcohol so as to avoid misunderstanding.

The bar owner and princes began seeing each other on a regular basis and a few months later became engaged. They married in the bar they first met at and together moved to the princess’s home country where they ruled happily together for many years, rearing five children in the process. The princess never felt her heart ache of loneliness again, and though the couple still drank never again did they near the level of intoxication which had first brought them together.

Bazooka 1

Funny, the interrogation room seemed a lot bigger than I’d imagined it would be. The police officer, Officer Buck, handed me a cup of coffee and sat down opposite me. I cradled the cup of warm liquid and watched as he flipped through what I assumed to be my file. Looking at me, then down at the papers, then back at me he grunted and flipped the whole thing shut. “You’ll have to excuse me; I’ve been up for a while. Uh, Mr Kheschlavesh?”

“You can just call me Mike,” I humored him.

“Mike, why don’t we start from the beginning?”

“It’s kind of a long story,” I offered. The officer smiled and nodded in encouragement. I sighed and began my unfortunate tale. “It all started in a bar.”

I’d been laid-off for the better part of a year; filling out application after application with no luck I decided to take a day off and go to the bar. About a half passed noon the door opened and in walked a young girl, a teenager in her wildest dreams. This was a little concerning, why would a kid be in a bar? But the bartender was already walking over to see all about it, so I shrugged and turned back to my beer. I heard voices then scuffling. “Wow,” I thought. “Girl must really want to grow up fast.”

I felt a hand on my shoulder that spun me fast, bringing me face to face with the young girl. Definitely pre-anything, with short deep red hair offsetting her long cream trench-coat, she looked like an anime character – not that I know what that is mind you. Gripped my shirt she smiled in a way all-together unbecoming of her age. I had just enough time to look over her shoulder to spot the bar tender acting as a floor ornament before the young lady punched me in the nose.

“Wow.” The waitress said as she poured me more coffee. “And you have no idea why she hit you?

“Nope.” I mumbled, slouched at the counter. “At that point everyone else noticed what was happening and dog-piled her. I split as soon as I could and ran here.”

“Wow.” She said again.

“Oww…” I shuttered, adjusting the ice-pack the cook had given me against my nose. “She looked like she was five. A fetus. A fetus decked me.” I said in sad realization.

“What’s the problem bub?” An older gentleman, with a marvelous beard of rare white, seated himself next to me.

“Why didn’t you go home after the bar? Why go to a diner?” Buck interrupted.

“I don’t know,” I shrugged, honestly without a clue. “I just didn’t think about it. Anyways, so this guy asks me, “what’s wrong?” “Troubles with a woman,” I said.

“Ah, I understand bub. Love always had a way of tripping me up too.” The man chuckled and pounded the counter with his wooden palm. The waitress promptly fetched him his own cup of coffee.

I straightened from my weighted position and stared at him. “No, “bub”, love has not tripped me up”, I said with more sarcasm than necessary. “I don’t even know the girl.”

“Really? Well…” The scruffy man scratched his beard in confusion, then drew up a sly smile. “You old dog!” His bellowing tease accompanied a slap on my back. “You’re so good with the ladies you don’t know what to do! Let me give you some advice –”

“I don’t know her! I don’t know what she wants, but something tells me punching random strangers who haven’t done anything wrong their entire life is not how she woos them!” The waitress stood behind the counter, watching us go back and forth with amusement.

“Well you never know. This gal got a name?”

The pain rippling across my face had yet to give way to improvement. “I’m sure her mamma gave her one but I’d be damned if I know. We skipped formalities.” The heat of the coffee burned my nose as I tried to drink. I was sure the little girl broke it.

Somewhat subdued, Santa, as I have since come to know him as, pulled out a small flask and dumped the contents into his coffee. Downing the whole thing in one go he quickly ordered another cup. He then started to sniffle. “My wife –”

“No,” I threw my hands up. “No. We are not going down this road and I refuse to become your best buddy because that is exactly where this is going,”

The bell to the door rang. Everyone turned to see the most beautiful woman alive walk in. I would have liked to know her better. Too bad she shot me.

*Note: I’m super excited about this project. It’s an idea I’ve held onto since high school (feel the oldness!) and am finally setting into motion. This isn’t something I’ll be updating consistently but rather periodically whenever inspiration hits. I want this to be an ongoing story that spans a very long period of time, possibly years. A story that never ends one could say, but builds and changes over time.

Birds of a Feather

Chelly walked through the door of the dive like a goddess. Physically she didn’t quite live up to this description, but her charisma more than made up for the minor flaws holding her back from stardom.

 

Sitting down at the bar she hardly noticed the woman sitting next to her. When she did her spine stiffened. Though the woman’s face was hidden Chelly knew straight away. She was sitting next to a whore. She didn’t have to guess. It was something you could smell.

 

“Hey there missy,” the bartender smiled in a way Chelly was used to. “What can I get for you today?”

 

After ordering Chelly glanced again to the figure slumped next to her. Jerking awake the woman sat up suddenly, her face stark pale against her fake tan and flamboyant makeup. Blinking rapidly she glanced at Chelly. They stared at each other briefly. “Sister.” The woman smiled wickedly before resting her forehead against the bar.  

 

Chelly scoffed. “Sister?” The bartender returned with her drink. She smiled at him sweetly and slid him a bill. Once he walked out of ear shot she continued. “I’m certain there is no relation.”

 

“Of course there is,” the woman’s voice sounded muffled but still clear. “You’re an escort.”

 

Sniffing, Chelly clicked her tongue and looked around. “What makes you say that?”

 

“The smell,” The woman poked her nose in her bent position.

 

Chelly sneered. “You are a street walker. A prostitute. A whore.” She emphasized each syllable as she turned to face her fully. “I still fail to see a relation.”

 

“Your high-horse is annoying…” She looked up from her slumped position. “But you and I are not as different as you’d love to believe.”

 

“What are you talking about?” The woman looked scornful. “Stop talking like we’re equals. Because we’re not and I doubt we ever have been.” Her lips curled. The woman cackled into the crooks of her arms before sitting up straight. No longer looking down on her conversationalist Chelly blinked and sat up straighter herself. 

 

“Where did you pick him up; your man of the week?” the woman asked, her voice like silk.

 

“What are you babbling about?” Chelly rolled her eyes at the question. “We didn’t meet anywhere. It was all arranged beforehand.” She batted her eyes. “He flew me out from California to here.”

 

“Ah,” she smiled back, resting her cheek in her palm. “The last guy I gave a job? We met in a bar. I live just down the block.”

 

Chelly scoffed. “Completely different obviously,”

 

“Uh-huh. Sure thing Sugar Tits.” She picked up another shot delivered promptly by the bartender and downed in cleanly. “We both work for money, though the difference paid out is obvious.” She looked Chelly up and down amused. “But regardless we are bought and sold for a set price with little concern given to who we actually are as people. It’s a facade we put on to get more business. Am I wrong?” 

 

Chelly sipped her drink without a word. Her rational mind wouldn’t let the obvious in. The woman sighed before sliding off her stool. “Let’s face it Angel. We are both prostitutes with little prospects after we’re too old to bend just the right way.” Chelly glanced at her retreating figure. “Let’s hope for the best after retirement.” She said just before the door closed behind her.