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Oca 19

Black Bottle Blues

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I never really planned on spending my last few hours on this fucked up planet in another pub, an empty .45 colt on the dark cherry wood of the bar, a half drunk bottle of whiskey shining in the dim light, five years sober down the can. The bartender had nearly pissed himself when I sauntered in. All right, it was more like stumbling in. Blame it on the holes leaking shiny red stuff all over the crisp Armani suit I’d stolen off a Wall Street drunk pissing against the side of a strip club. You know what though? It’s my fucking story, what little there is to it, and I’ll tell it like I please. So let me tell you something. You never expect money collection from a whorehouse to go wrong. It sounds like a recipe for disaster, but that’s only if you’re some punk kid off the street waving a gun like he’s a rapper on MTV. You have to be professional. You go in wearing a nice suit, flash the ring you keep on a chain around your neck, and they take you to the shriveled old lady and the boy toy pimp who actually runs things. The problem comes when that boy toy is the punk kid of the man you put in the ground five years ago for killing a whore you’d stupidly fallen in love with. Now let me tell you something else. You never really expect to get shot by a skinny little blonde with a joint dangling from her pretty pink lips, a mad kind of lust to her eyes. Unfortunate was what that was. I’d have figured little Joey Valentino would have had the balls to off me himself. Fucking twat. He’d had his blonde little plaything shoot me instead. A damned shame that was – cute little thing like that devoted to a sick little shit with a mean streak? I guess I should feel thankful she was the one doing the shooting; she was a lousy shot. I made my way through scantily clad women screaming bloody murder at my back and raining fists down on my shoulders. I stumbled through the door and into a cold rainy night. I gave that whorehouse from hell the finger, thanking whatever god existed for Joey inheriting his father’s stupidity. I muttered a string of epithets under my breathe at that little blonde number with the candy apple breasts. Mature? No. But fuck if I wasn’t sore about that dumb bitch putting a bullet or two in me. *** I took another pull from the whiskey and laughed, pain lancing up my side as the wheezy chuckles jostled the bullet in my side. Behind me, the bar patrons tittered nervously. I wasn’t quite sure why. I didn’t exactly inspire fear anymore. I was just another broken down hit man for the mob, recently of jail, and riddled with holes thanks to a hooker on drugs. But when I’d stumbled in off the streets, pistol glinting silver in the dull amber light, a hush fell over everyone, women in spray-on dresses escort avcılar frozen in place, their tight asses parked against the crotches of businessmen with hairstyles more expensive than a new TV. A techno beat rattled on through the speaker system and it was all kinds of awkward. Not a single scream. I’d just shrugged and ordered a drink. Fear did things to people and I’d always been bad at psychology so I didn’t try to guess why none of them decided to just walk straight out the heavy black doors. I’d be remised if I didn’t find it a tad creepy though. The only one acting normal was the bartender who’d looked ready to piss himself. And he was a hawkish little man with a sharp nose and beady black eyes who wore a pocket watch that dangled from a vest. Fucking hipsters. He hadn’t believed his young pup of a cellmate when he complained about them. Learn something new everyday I guess. *** I caught a glance of myself in the mirror as I took another swig. Silver hair had crawled through my mop of black hair. When had I gotten so damn old? A door creaked open and a bald man dressed much like the hawkish twig serving me copious amounts of alcohol walked up from a stairwell hidden behind the bar under a trapdoor. He was old, ancient really. His back was slightly hunched and he wore thick glasses and used a cane. He had to be the owner. I nodded to him as he looked around, taking in the new atmosphere and the empty .45 in front of me. “Having a rough day, son?” he asked. “Does getting shot by a hooker typically fall under rough days?” “I suppose so.” He looked around again. “Mind telling me the story?” I took another drink. “Not much to tell, old man.” “Tell me anyway and start from the beginning.” So I did, not really understanding why I began at the very beginning: the wet work, the deaths, the shattered dreams, a dying woman in my arms that I’d finally convinced to leave with me, and the five years spent in prison atoning for the mistake of having asked her to in the first place. The old man nodded along sadly, thumbs stuck in a black apron, an intricate Gaelic symbol stitched into the material with silver thread. “You know what,” he said, scratching his head, “I may have something with a bit more kick for you.” There was something in that man’s eyes when he said it, a knowing glint that unsettled me. He pushed away from the bar, cane clicking with each step as he moved slowly, muttering to himself as he disappeared back into the floor behind the bar. “Weird little fellow,” I said to the bartender. He jumped, knocking over a bottle of wine. I sighed deeply. I wasn’t going to get any conversation from the kid. Softly spoken curses drifted up from the escort bahcesehir hole in the floor. I leaned over, squinting at the orange light glowing brightly. The man’s baldhead popped out and I nearly shit myself, hand moving slowly for a revolver with no bullets. I really was getting old, but at least the liquor was finally dulling the pain in my side to a stiff ache. The man set a small dark bottle on the countertop, a teardrop that curved into a stopper made from black diamond. The craftsmanship was unlike anything I’d seen. Razor thin veins of silver and gold had been imbedded into the glass, twisting around each other into the shape of a raven in flight. “I hadn’t thought about this in ages until you showed up.” He gazed fondly at the glass. “When I was young and brash and full of hate – much like you I imagine, I came across this in a tiny pawn shop tucked away in an alley in London. It was an odd place, run by a very odd old woman.” The hunch-backed man chuckled to himself. “She only said three words to me when she brought it out – ‘it should help.’ For a kid who’d just recently seen a German warplane drop a bomb on his platoon, erasing every friend he had in the world, those three words were the sweetest thing I’d ever heard.” “What exactly is it?” The man shrugged bony shoulders. “No idea. I never had the chance to find out. As soon as she placed it in my hands, a wall of fire blew the shop apart. Fucking Germans,” he spat. He stroked the teardrop glass. “I survived. No idea how. In coping with my own near death, I suppose I came to view the bottle as some sort of savior. Never was a religious man. But that bottle. I believed in it.” A great sadness seemed to dim his eyes, tears prickling the corners. I couldn’t tell if he was talking about the bottle or if his mind was rotting away from Alzheimer’s and he was really talking about a person he knew, possibly the same old woman from the shop. Either way I was intrigued by anything stronger than the shitty Jack Daniel’s sitting half drunk in front of me. The man slid the bottle across the bar, the liquid pitch black, blacker than anything I’d ever seen. And it seemed… wrong somehow, like it wasn’t meant for man, particularly a drunk, and a former mob enforcer at that. Guys like me? We didn’t really enjoy the finer things in life, much less gifts like this. Although, that was probably because we blew all our money on liquor and whores like that blue eyed doll who shot me. “Maybe you’ll find a way to cope like I did.” Cope? Was that what I wanted? Well, death was certainly imminent. That punk kid wasn’t going to let me off. Eventually he’d catch up. I wasn’t young anymore. And prison had dulled my reaction time. beylikdüzü escort That cute little blonde with the joint had proved as much. I palmed the little glass teardrop and it hardly weighed more than the bottle of Vicodin I’d dropped outside Valentino’s. My instincts told it was poison. In my line of work, you hide that kind of stuff in the fanciest containers you could find. People with money liked glittering little baubles to store their shit in. My last contract before prison had been a fat old Italian. Had himself a gold-plated toilet. The fat bastard died on that toilet. What the fuck did it matter anyway? I was either dead from the hooker’s bullet or I was dead from pretty black sludge. I shrugged, muttered out a ‘fuck it ‘ and lifted the black gem stopper from the bottle, swirling it around a bit, a pungent aroma wafting out. The smell was hard to describe: earthy and a bit sour maybe. Blood leaking out from my belly like a squirting fountain pen, I tilted my head back and downed half the stuff. I immediately blanched, choking the liquid down. It had the thick viscosity of pure molasses and the taste of motor oil and burnt coffee. My vision blurred and it felt like a hot poker had been stuck straight through the bullet hole, burning flesh and organs as it went. Then it faded. “That… wasn’t so bad,” I said weakly, mouth sticky and dry at the same impossible time. Then the room spun and howling wind tore into my ears, battering my eardrums. The blood boomed loudly in my veins and I saw red when I felt it turn white-hot. I screeched. Yes, screeched. No yells. No manly grunts. I screamed my bloody head off, hands clamped to my temples, squeezing hard. It felt like an aneurysm and before I lost myself completely, a single thought trickled in. Poor little Valentino might be miffed at finding my tired old body slumped over a bar, dead from natural causes before the bullet hole bled me dry. I’d pay to see that bastard’s look of seething rage. *** When I came to, she appeared like a shadow in the night, an impossible beauty cloaked in black satin, pale skin glowing, a black dress, split high on either side of her perfect hourglass frame, shimmering about her like smoke. The only bits of color were her bright lavender eyes. She smiled, full black lips curving over pearly white teeth. Then she spun, flowing through alien movements, rippling through the air, a ballerina from heaven, or hell. It depended on your perspective of the dark gothic Victorian look really. I was terrible with words so the only thing I could think of was stunning. Laughter was on her lips as she approached, though no sound spilled out. Joyful tears leaked from those gorgeous purple eyes, sliding down high, aristocratic cheeks. She drew close, the swell of her soft breasts pressing against my chest, raven hair tickling my nose. I thought this would go in the direction of every teen’s wet dream growing up when they first saw Joss Whedon’s ‘Buffy’.

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