Conversations with the Devil

I am working on a new novella writing series among finishing a new book. During a search for a writing prompt I came across something that intrigued me. It will be many parts. Enjoy.

One

Cat or mouse? The choice is yours. Do you run from the threat of termination, or do you fight for what you have left?

I don’t know how I found myself sitting in the bar’s corner. I swore I would never visit again. I met my ex there three years ago and every memory of him should be in a sealed vault, but at 1 am, the nights get lonely. I guess that’s why I made my way to the bar tonight. Some days I wish that a writer’s insomnia would afflict someone other than myself. A full eight hours a sleep would be a godsend. Thankfully for me, this is one of those places that no one speaks to you unless they’ve had too much to drink. Hence, that’s the reason I sat nestled in the room’s corner. Plus, I am a natural people watcher. My editor suggested I pull from an actual life experience. God, the horror I’ve endured could burn the pages in the first chapter alone.

“What are you drinking tonight?” asked the bartender.

He’s one of those men that wear the leisure suits, slick back their hair, and slap on the old spice before leaving home. I might be lonely, but that is a level of desperation that I will never reach.

“Tequila, just bring the bottle, but not that cheap shit. I’m willing to pay for the top shelf brand,” I said.

The bartender looked taken aback by my statement. Maybe he wasn’t used to people willing to pay more. By the looks of the place and the clientele most sucked up the watered down shit and passed out in their seats. At the opposite end of the bar, a man who seemed to be about 90, rested. His head on the counter and his false teeth hanging out of his mouth. It took everything I could not to walk over and shove them back in. The entire time I waited for my drink, the urge was there.

“Top shelf for the lady,” snapped the bartender. He was annoyed at being called out to the cheap alcohol served to regular patrons.

Honestly, I couldn’t help but laugh. Not in his face, of course, but the moment he walked away. Opening the bottle, making sure the seal cracked when I did, I poured a shot into the little glass provided. “Welcome to Canada?” asking, I shrugged. This is Los Angeles, so this little guy was a long way from home. Pouring the clear liquid into the glass, I starred for a moment at the way the fluid settled into a smooth surface. Funny thing was, I waited for a few minutes for it to move. Why? Because in that one Jurassic park movie when the Dinosaur came, the liquid vibrated. Stupid thoughts go through your mind when you’re lost.

A slam on the counter brought me back to the here and now. My liquid quivered, and I drank. One straight shot down the throat and it was gone. Oh, that burn was what I needed more than anything. No pain, no gain, right? Three seats away from me, a male pulled the tattered old stool from under the counter. His other hand still on the bar as he waited for some attention. Another slap to the fake wood surface and the bartender dropped his shoulders and stood in front of the male.

“Whiskey,” he said.

I jumped a little when the man spoke. No, not because of fear, but the way his voice warmed the room. He had one of those radio personality voices. Smooth, deep, and could drive you insane if you let it. Honestly, men like him could look like the back end of a dog and still charm the panties off a nun. Did I dare even look over at the man? Maybe another shot first and then I will take my chances. Pouring another, my hand now wrapped tight around the glass, I didn’t wait to swallow. Down the hatch and the warmth radiated from my toes to my nose. There, that would give me the liquid courage I needed, right? A slow tilt and for the second time tonight I felt the warmth breathing deep into my soul. Have you ever saw someone that you was the Devil, yet you were so drawn that you can’t look away.

“Look away, now,” I screamed inside of my head.

“You like the Princess down there and need the special kind?” grumbled the bartender.

A slight chuckle from the man as he nodded, reaching over and grabbing the bottle on his own. Without wasting time, he twisted the cap off and brought the bottle to his nose to smell.

“It smells like desperation. I don’t drink water, so don’t fuck with me, boy,” snapped the male.

Pulling back the bottle, the man behind the bar slapped it down on the back bar, threatening to shatter the glass. A quick reach below and he brought up an unopened bottle, shoving it forward with force. A shot glass followed before the male walked away.

I kept my eyes on the glass before me, but my ears kept tuned into the male to the side. Shivering when the sound of the stool next to me pulled out, I knew without looking who it was. Did this man think I was some whore because I was in the place close to closing time? Again, I was a little lonely, but not for sex. I needed conversation with someone other than the computer screen. Day after day of sitting at my desk not only numbed my ass, but my social skills as well. I wondered for a minute if he could hear the acceleration in the beat of my heart. I know it was making my head throb the moment he looked in my direction.

“What’s a nice girl like you doing in a shit hole like this?” he laughed.

In the midst of a drink, I choked. No, I erupted into a volcano of laughter that forced the alcohol to pour from my nose in a tequila river. Grabbing the napkin, I brought it to my face, knowing that I had to be every shade of red ever created.

“Cat got your tongue?” he added.

It took me a few seconds to compose myself from that episode. Not only was I shocked at the question, but intrigued by the man next to me.

“I needed to clear the cobwebs from my head tonight. As for cat, no. I’m allergic,” slightly snippy.

I still hadn’t fully looked at the man. Maybe the voice was all I really needed tonight. Something to make me feel alive. Eyes forward on the aged mahogany wood, I poured another shot. This time, I waited until I indulged. No need to humiliate myself again. We sat in silence for what seemed like an eternity, but the old clock on the wall claimed that only five minutes had passed. God, what the hell is wrong with me? Has it been so long that I forgot how to communicate with others?

“Thirty minutes until closed. Wrap it up, people,” yelled the bartender.

Exhaling sharply, I brought the glass to my lips, holding it there before speaking. “Have you ever just wanted to watch someone get hit by a fucking bus?” I asked. My dislike for the bartender was growing faster than the ticking hands on the clock.

“I can arrange it, you know?” the man said, his voice matter of fact and directly to the point.

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