I remember it like it were yesterday.I was havin my usual breakfast: two eggs over easy, a cup of black coffee, a beer and a shot of Jimmy Beam. You’d a thought the place would be empty this time of day, but it weren’t.Down the end of the long bar was two fellas I’d never laid my eyes on before.
One were small.Could tell by the narrow shoulders.His face was brown from sun and deep lines crossed it like snail tracks. The other Joe were bigger, yellow hair stickin out ever which way from under a black leather cap.
They was givin me the once-over now and again.I thought maybe they was gonna knock over the place, liberate my do-re-mi.
Smaller one of the two slid off his barstool and went over to the juke.He studied it like it were the Bible. Finally, he put his money in the slot and walked back to his seat real slow.I could tell he thought highly of himself.You always know them types cause they give their shoulders a little bounce with every step.
When the song finished a new CD dropped down.Three seconds in I knew it was the Eurythmics and Sweet Dreams.I couldn’t abide that song.And wouldn’t it just be what that little prick would play.Using and abusing.
I thought maybe it was a warning, like I should make my way outta there.But that was stupid.I wasn’t gonna let some coconut-faced midget make me leave my eggs and coffee. I drank my Beam, signaled to Hammy to bring me another. I wasn’t goin nowheres.
Them two was leanin real close, jawin away, makin plans seemed like.Didn’t give a rat’s ass long as it didn’t involve me.I was thinkin bout what I’d do if they pulled some hardware on me, when the door opened and she stepped inside.
Hammy’s place was street level so you didn’t get a bit at a time like coming down some stairs.She come in full like a Kansas tornado.
She was about five foot ten with red hair, wearing a blue dress that winked when she walked.It was cut low and the top of her titties beamed at me as she made her way to the bar.
"Help you, Miss?" Hammy said.
"A beer and a shot of Jack Daniels," she said.
Her voice was husky like you’d expect or wanted it to be.I couldn’t think of nothin to say to her, but then she spoke up.
"You know this town good?" she said.
"Pretty good."My mouth went dry so I took a swig of my beer.
Hammy put down her drinks.She picked up the shot and threw it back, didn’t make no faces or cough.
Her purse was a big black thing and she reached in, pulled out cigarettes,offered me one.Never smoked even as a boy. There were matches on the bar and I lit one up for her.She did that thing that gals do, draw on the cig and raise their eyes up, look into yours. Hers was green. I nearly dropped the match.
She looked around, took in the two clowns at the end of the bar who was staring like they never seen a gal before.When she turned back to me she said, "Can you recommend a place to sleep?"
Thing was I couldn’t.There wasn’t no place this lady would wanna stay. "I think you should go on to Tahoma, two stops down."I looked at my watch."Next bus is in twenty minutes."
"That’s okay, I got a car.What’s so good about Tahoma?"
I chose my words careful."It’s better for a lady."
She smiled. I never seen anything like it. She busted my heart like it was made of paper.
I was getting courageous. "Matter of fact, maybe I should walk you to your car when you leave."
"That bad here?"
"Okay, you can walk me when I’m ready."
I nodded my head like I was saying glad that’s settled.
She took a good swig of beer and ordered another JD.
"Could I ask what you’re doing in these parts?"
I guessed she wasn’t gonna tell me for what, so I didn’t ask no more.But I did ask if she’d found what she was looking for.
She downed her JD like it was pop.
"Fact is, when I leave here my search will be over."
I didn’t get that and I must’ve showed it.
"Don’t worry about it, hon.Shall we go?"
"Sure thing."I gave Hammy a signal that I’d be back to pay him, and me and her walked down the length of the bar toward the door.When we was even with the two bozos at the end, she stopped.
"Just a sec."She unzipped that mother of a purse, put her hand in without looking, then quick pulled something out.Didn’t know what it was until I heard the shots and watched the two of them hit the floor.
I stood there shakin, then she turned back to me."See what I mean, hon.I’m not looking anymore."
She dropped the gun into her bag, walked to the door and was gone.I looked back at Hammy who was on the phone, probly callin the cops.Then I looked at the boys on the floor.They each had a neat hole in their foreheads and were dead as road kill.
That’s why I remember it like it were yesterday.