Strickland's SisterWeb del Sol 2000/Muzzle Flash Fiction 2007
I was sitting at the bar in the Time Out Tavern, a shot and beer joint, when Strickland walked in. I saw him in the back bar mirror. He looked around and then came up behind me and accused me of messing with his sister. I swiveled around. "No," I told him. "I didn't mess with your sister."
Strickland threatened my knees.
I didn't need my knees threatened so I did the only thing I could do under the circumstances. I threatened Strickland back. "You won't find my knees, Strickland, I'll poke both your eyeballs out with a cue stick," I said.
The bar was watchful and quiet now except for the juke, Nancy Sinatra singing her'Boots' song.
"You threatening me?" he asked. "You're the one that messed with my sister and now you're threatening me? You creep! Why you threatening me? It was you that done the messing."
Strickland is tough--a lot tougher than I am--but he looked confused. Mean, but confused. He had a good fifty pounds on me and I was scared, but it wasn't noticeable as long as I forced myself to stay in a relaxed position. I knew if I tried to stand I'd be spazzing all over the place.
I was leaning back with my elbows on the bar and he was but a couple of feet away, standing with his fists balled and eyebrows winged out. He looked menacing. I knew that I didn't.
"I'll puncture your eardrums, Strickland." I spoke slowly--a little under conversation tone. I had to--otherwise my voice would quiver.
Strickland's right hand went up to his ear. "If you didn't mess with my sister than who did?"
"Strickland. My patience with you is about used up," I said, not believing I could say these words at all, much less to a tough like Strickland. "Go find your sister and ask her. You stay here and I'll rip your tongue out. I'm fed up with you," I said even more softly, almost a whisper, as Strickland leaned forward to hear me. He was still covering his ear.
Strickland rubbed his chin, mumbled something, and left the bar.
I got off the bar stool, took a table and ordered a pair of beers while every one went back about their business. Strickland's mother came out from the shadows and sat on my lap. She laughed and began kissing my neck.