“Man at the Bar”
Flash Fiction by Jeff Hill
He walked into the very poorly lit bar and took the stool right next to me, even though there were literally dozens of other available seats to choose from. I politely smiled and raised my glass to his arrival, but the look he gave me sent chills right down to my core. He glared at me. He hated me.
But screw him. He was the one who chose to sit by me. Obviously he had something on his mind. He had to. Why else would he have sat next to a complete stranger in an almost empty bar?
I opened my mouth to make a comment on the latest game or the weather, I’m not really sure which, when he put up his hand and stopped me. “Don’t,” he said. “Just… Don’t.”
So I didn’t.
Instead, I picked up my drink and walked to the other end of the bar. Disgusted and a little confused, I finished my drink and signaled the bartender. He walked right past the strange, rude little man and asked me if I’d like another or to close out my tab.
I considered my options. I asked for my tab.
The strange little man across the bar started fidgeting around in his pocket and looked at me nervously. Pulling out his cell phone, he nonchalantly pointed it at the bartender and took a photo, sending it in a text message to god knows who. The bartender didn’t notice, so I paid him and started to summon up the courage to leave.
The other man’s phone vibrated, shaking the whole bar. He checked it. he glanced at me. He nodded at the bartender. And then pulled his gun and badge and arrested the man who had been serving me all night long.
Originally published in Linguistic Erosion in 2012.
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