Bobby came to slowly, looked around. He’s lying on the floor next to and old desk with boxes stacked clumsily around the room. He could hear music playing on the other side of the door and recognized the smell of the bar. He felt a foot connect with his stomach-
“So yer finally awake are ya?”
“What, what happened”
“I just beat the piss outta you, that’s what happened.”
The bartender hovered over Bobby’s limp body.
“Had to do it . . . you understand.”
The bartender slid himself up on the desk, his feet dangling inches from Bobby’s head.
“Now I don’t know exactly what you’re up to but I know it ain’t no good. You and that woman talking again . . . the god damn sheriff coming around . . . poking his big nose around my place of business . . . I don’t like that shit, understand?”
Bobby said nothing.
“The sheriff wanted to know if I had seen you two together. Told him I had. Now if you’re just screwing around with this broad, why would the sheriff care about that?”
Bobby mumbled something.
“What’s that?” The bartender cocked his head.
“I’m not having an affair with her.”
“I know that. Know how I know? Do you? Because if all you were doing is screwing her, the sheriff wouldn’t be involved. Know what I mean? He don’t give a shit about stuff like that. So if you’re not screwing her, what the fuck are you two up to?”
Bobby rolls to his side, the pain in his ribs is excruciating.
“Now what could you be doing? Trying to scam her for money? Is that what you’re up to? Nah, probably not. Like I said, I know her old man, they don’t have any money. Damn, what could it be?”
Bobby slides his back up against a stack of boxes.
“Do you really want to know what all this is about?”
“Shit yeah, it’s driving me nuts . . . all the wondering.”
“I guess I might as well. I need to tell someone, this shit is getting out of control.”
“Let’s hear it.”
“That woman, I’m not sleeping with her, she wants me to do something.”
“She wants me to do something to her husband.”
“Oh shit, don’t say it . . . don’t say it!”
“She wants me to kill him.”
“GOD DAMN!! I knew it, I fucking knew it. That crazy bitch. Women . . . can’t trust a one of them.”
“I told her I didn’t want to do it but she won’t leave me alone. Her husband has followed her here and saw her talking to me. That’s why the sheriff was here. Her husband knows what she’s up to.”
“WHEWW!!! What a fucked up mess. You’re in worse shit than I thought.”
“I don’t know what to do, should I go talk to the sheriff and tell him everything?”
“Holy shit, don’t do that. You’ll somehow end up being an accomplice. That sort of shit always happens. Conspiracy to commit murder. You can’t talk to the law. That won’t work.”
“What should I do then, I mean, what would you do if you were in my place?”
“First of all, I’d never be in your place. I’m too smart to get tangled up in any shit like this. Second, I definitely wouldn’t go to the cops. Cops are nothing but trouble. You need to take care of this mess yourself.”
“I’m thinking on it. I might have a plan. I think I just might. . . something that will get you out of this mess once and for all.”
“Why are you helping me?”
“What?? Of course I’m gonna help you. Shoot, helping others is kind of my thing.”
“Like you just helped me by kicking the shit out of me?”
“Come on now, why you gotta be like than son. Why you gotta bring up the past like that. Throw it in my face while all I’m trying to do is help.”
Just then a large man in a flannel shirt bursts in to the room.
“Get out here quick, they’re stealing beer. Mother fuckers are just taking it outta the cooler and handing it out for free!”
“What the shit! You wait here Bobby. I’m dealing with these motherfuckers and then I’ll be back.”
The door closed and Bobby heard the lock snap. He jumped to his feet and tried the knob . . . nothing, he was locked in.