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At The Empire Grille Chapter 4

Book By: meriddle
Literary fiction

A single night's events between close friends at the Empire Grille.

Submitted:Feb 18, 2012    Reads: 4    Comments: 0    Likes: 0   

Chapter 4


BC sat alone in the darkness at the end of the bar as he usually does, his head buried in his arms. Baron was doing likewise, sitting next to Les. The excitement of the evening had taken its' toll. Trucker and Buster were awkwardly dancing with some of the waitresses who had returned after getting phone calls from Helen. Malcolm had one cornered, sitting close to her no doubt making some sort of proposition about possible activities together later in the evening.

Helen and Robbie quietly chatted. Les was bored, blindly staring out the big picture window.

"I thought we were going to have a sloggin' tonight!" he abruptly announced, getting everyone's attention.

"Les is right! Right on Les! Let's go!" collectively chimed the group.

The Beach Boys harmonization on the jukebox was quelled and Robbie placed a large bottle of glistening elixir entrained with gold flakes on the bar for all to admire. The special slogging glass was placed before Malcolm and some of the waitresses scooted closer, as did the rest of the group.

Robbie and Helen held court together on the opposite side of the bar and the first glass was poured, the gold flakes tumbling around inside like cosmic stars. The scene became reminiscent of some futuristic 'last supper'.

"Wait! Wait!" Helen cried. "Does anyone have a nickname?"

"Yea, I gotta nickname," Trucker sarcastically blurted.

"You know what I mean," she corrected, playfully slapping his meaty jaw.

"How 'bout Einstein?" Robbie offered.

"Naw, too easy," someone commented.

"How 'bout massive?" Malcolm sheepishly offered.

Most gave out hoots and howls. Malcolm's waitress blushed. Another cooed.

"Ok. Ok, I got one," announced BC from the far end of the bar. "How about 'maladjusted'?"

"That's you, you idiot!" Trucker growled.

BC slumped down in his stool.

"How about super kid?" offered Les.

"No!" was the collective response.

"Can I make a suggestion?" Malcolm asked.

"No!" again resounded.

Trucker assumed legislative duties.

"The 'slogee' cannot dictate his or her own nickname. It must be arrived upon…"

"By committee!" everyone shouted, interrupting Trucker.

Trucker made a point of giving everyone the stink eye. The waitresses were a giggling mess. BC was aroused again and sat upright in his stool. Les noticed and was reminded of how unpredictable the man could be. He also noticed Baron was still fast asleep sitting beside him.

"What's with Baron?" Les asked, always keeping an eye over his extended family.

"Go check on him, will ya Les?" Helen asked.

"Check on what!" BC crowed. "He's old Helen, like me."

Everyone took notice of Les sliding over to Baron.

"Baron?" he whispered, nudging his friend.

No response.

That's odd, thought Les. His back is wet. Cold, too.

"Oh, sweet Jesus,"Les mumbled.

Helen rushed over and checked his pulse. She immediately broke into tears. The rest became concerned.

"I'll call the paramedics," Robbie solemnly muttered, instinctively knowing it was probably too late.

Snaggletooth rushed over and pulling Baron down from the barstool immediately began administering CPR. All silently watched Snaggletooth at the same time listening to Robbie on the telephone. In a few moments Snaggletooth was exhausted and Les took over. Everyone took turns until the paramedics finally arrived and took charge. Helen made the sign of the cross. Nobody spoke. Nobody moved. Everyone was frozen in the moment. Eye contact ceased. Helen placed her hand on the back of Les. Les put his hands to his face and began to weep uncontrollably. To him it was the final chapter to a meaningless life-his life. It felt like part of his soul had been siphoned away.


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