The Hard Road Bar
A young woman leaves her friends to go to the bathroom. Laughing and gesturing to them as she walks away from the conversation. She passes by the overweight beer drinker leaning into the jukebox with a tattooed arm hung over the selection as AC/DC pounds out their mid tempo hard rock throughout the bar.
Does anyone notice the other man, slip by after her? Another lone male, possibly on his third glass of whisky on the rocks - watching the noisy crowd, quietly in his small corner noting movements and studying mannerisms... waiting.
Like most red blooded males he sought female attention, but he had no interest in the topless girls, dancing on the tables in the other section of the bar. Their plastic smiles and false suggestive seductions only appalled his appetite. How he looked down on the drunk, gawping and cheering men, as they competed with each other to push a few twisted up green bucks into a panty or a cleavage. Begging them, pleading for more. Surrounding their feet like worms as they filled their eyes and minds with images for a moment of self satisfaction for after they had managed to crawl their way home, and fuck themselves before passing out.
‘Fucking insects - all of them! As for those women - how many more nights would they be working this shit for? Not when their tits start touching their feet? And definitely not if some degenerate drunk decides he wants his dough back, only to come back after hours and beat the living shit out of one of them, or kidnap one using chloroform or....’ His thoughts began to roll on. Situations and scenarios playing out to himself with a wry smile peeling from the corner of his face. He stared at the mixed crowd, almost in a trance. A hand in his coat pocket repeatedly snapping open and closing the blade of his pocket knife - obsessively, over and over again - without thought.
The whisky glass nearly slips out of his other hand as he momentarily fades out of reality, withdrawn into his own head. Suddenly he catches the glimpse of a young woman, cheerfully making her way from friends and towards the bathroom. The hairs on the back of his neck stand up and he immediately feels a focus. A faint rush of excitement electrifies his spine, the snapping of his knife stops and his twisting smile slackens.
He watches her pass the jukebox. The fat fuck tapping the buttons there barely registers her as she passes by. Perfect. Finishing his whisky, he gently places the glass on the side table. The woman’s friends are looking away, over at the topless dancers, talking in each others ear. ‘What about?’ He momentarily quizzed himself. Probably about who between them, would most likely end up working in a joint like this, or indeed, who would most likely enjoy working it.
‘Who gives a fuck? Fuck 'em - just girl chitchat - ‘bitch shit.’ He summed up.
Amidst their shared laughter and exchange of insults, his eyes returned to trailing the lone woman, toward the bathroom area. Slowly, he began to walk over.
Was anyone else in there? He didn’t think so. He would have seen, remembered seeing at least. After hours of watching he reckoned on having the movements of the bar tracked. No one was coming, and everyone’s attention was directed elsewhere.
The toilets were a bit rough, but the basic amenities were present - towels, soap dispenser, hand dryer and wash basins with vanity lights. The music dampened and muffled down as the door slowly closed behind him on it’s spring loaded arm.
He looked about the place, curiously and with a smile. From the far end of the bathroom, fifth cubicle down, he heard the distinct sound of a person snorting. A long, deep and greedy snort, momentarily followed by a lightly restrained ecstatic gasp. A female gasp.
The man’s smile fell flat and lifeless, his head began to tilt forward. He firmly gripped the handle of his pocket knife within his long coat pocket. Approaching the cubicle he could hear the woman inside tapping her feet gently and muttering to herself the lyrics of AC/DC’s Inject the Venom now quietly funnelling from the bar out back.
The blade finally clicked open in his hand.
By now nearly fifteen minutes had passed. The girls looked at each other
“Where the fuck is Bridget at now?” one of the three asked.
“I’m going to have one of her smokes...” another declared, helping herself to the lone packet on their shared table.
“Why don’t you go and check on her? She’s your sister... check she’s not choking on a hillybilly ham!” the other girl smiled with dry humour.
“Fuck you.” she replied, blowing fresh smoke in her face, and moved away from the table.
“Wait here, or get me a fucking beer, one of you. I’ll be right back.” Taking another drag of her assumed cigarette, she turned towards the way of the bathroom and without looking,
“Eeesh!” she walked straight into another man. Her cigarette burst and fell crooked onto the floor.
“Hey, prick!” blurted the girl in a quick moment of shock. He was clasping his right hand where she assumed the cigarette had stubbed him. ‘Was that blood on his sleeve?’ she momentarily wondered.
“Oh I’m so sorry Mr, I...”
“It’s no problem and no harm done.” he smiled at her with a slightly vacant gaze.
“Please, excuse me miss.” he broke eye contact as an odd look of aggitation appeared over his face. He walked away, disappearing into the bar filled horde. She felt herself blushing slightly before turning to her two friends for some sort of affirmation. They held their smiles of amusement and subtle mockery behind their hands.
“Was he cute, or just a little bit creepy?” she asked them.
“Whatever! will you just drag your sister out of the fucking bathroom so we can get some shots flying, please!?” one of the girls piped up.
“Yeah, yeah, I’m going.”
Lacey opened the door to the bathroom. Empty.
“Bridget! You in here?”
“It’s me, your boring sister calling you back home...” she announced in a musical tone.
No response. She sighed, then began to routinely push the cubical doors open, gently, one by one.
“If you’ve got company honey, just say, before I embarrass the three of us...”
‘...or four or five of us, whatever your doing in here...’ she muttered to herself with a hint of humour.
She noticed further along, under the fifth door down, one of Bridget’s shoes, turned on it’s side.
‘Has she passed out again?’ Lacey wondered to herself. She came to the door. It was locked and there was no response to her calls or knocking.
“God dammit Bridget, this is so fucking you!”
Lacey prepared her arms to pull her chin up over the door, first double checking that no one was going to come in.
She hoisted herself up in on enthusiastic effort and peered over. She paused, a wave of horror flooded over her. Dropping to the floor, she tried to scream, her stomach knotting. Scrambling on her hands and knees towards the exit door, she tried to find her feet but tripped. Her head struck the corner of a sink and she crashed down, to the floor again, trembling, sobbing and dazed. Blood seeped from her hairline and ran down her face as she cried out her sisters name.