Free Drinks

Reads: 89  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic

Guy stops in to rob a cantina between Las Vegas and L.A. but ends up the beneficiary of another gang's plans.

Submitted: February 18, 2018

A A A | A A A

Submitted: February 18, 2018



Slowly but intentionally Jack pulls his ’57 Chevy Bel Air to a stop outside Nicko’s roadhouse on the famed route ’66.  Sputtering to a halt he knows he needs to get the engine checked.  Cross country from Georgia ain’t doing no good to the old beauty.  If he only had the money he’d have this piece of history shined up and running like a top.  Just another reason to get on with it. 

Jack had it all planned out.  Nicko’s was miles from anywhere and would take the coppers at least 20 minutes to show up. With the clientele that frequented Nicko’s he knew any given night could draw 10 even 20 grand easy.

Sliding out of the car and taking a quick look around the lot, he knew tonight was no different.  High rollers making a quick get away from Vegas back down the road a bit but too jacked up to pass up a night cap at Nicko’s place.  Jack knew it wasn’t uncommon for these types to stop in on their retreat for one last hurrah and drop a few grand of their newly found green.  Jack was counting on it.  Vito was just a few hours away in L.A. and he expected payment in full upon Jack’s arrival.

Jack approached the door as nonchalantly as he could.  No need to draw any extra attention his way.  Quickly adjusting the hand canon in the back of his pants Jack quickly entered and took a seat deep in the shadows awaiting his server.  Moments later a blonde saunters up through the smoke and asks what his poison would be tonight. Jack mills the question over before answering “a double whiskey, no water”.  The blonde looks him up and down then heads to the bar to retrieve the drink from Nicko.

Jack quickly surveys the surroundings.  Just as he remembered it.  Smooth band in the corner putting on their best Vegas wanna be sound.  A few goons loitering in the background drowning their sorrows or more precisely their bad luck from a few hours ago on the strip.  Contrasting them is the group of suites up front dropping a dime on bubbly with no shortage of lace hanging on for whatever scraps they could get their hands on.  Just the type Jack was counting on.  Even though they represented everything Jack needed at the moment he couldn’t help but roll his eyes in disgust.  Clueless fun seekers from just west fitting the stereotype.  Out for a good time, got lucky on the slots or tables and wanting to keep the party going.

Jack repositioned himself so the steel wasn’t digging into his back quite so hard.  Just then the blonde reappeared out of nowhere, startling him. “What’s the matter sugar, a little jumpy tonight?”

Jack didn’t respond.  The drink was dropped in front of him and again he was alone.  Slowly he raised the glass and swirled the contents a few times.  “This will help” he thought, “Just a few of these and I’ll be good to go.”

One turned into three and Jack was nice and loose. The cool breeze from the windows chilled the sweat creeping down his neck.  The blonde appeared again and this time sat down across from him.Jack started then sat back down, just a little edgy.

“So, what are you really doing here, three whiskey’s, looking the place over?  What’s your story?” 

Damn, this is not what he needed.

“Just passin’ through miss” was his quick reply.

“C’mon now sugar, if you was just “passin’ through” you’d be up and gone by now.You been sittin’ here for two hours babe, that’s more than just “passin’ through” to me”

Jack stirred in his seat.  Had he really been sitting here for two hours, good grief.  Jack scolded himself inside for not getting on with his business quicker.  Focus on the task at hand. Get rid of the girl, then do your business and jet.

Jack smiled back, drained his glass and motioned for another.  The blonde simply chuckled.  “Alright hon, whatever you say” and off she went.

Jack looked around quickly to survey the situation.  The drifters had changed cast but the slick rick crew was still there whooping it up to the slow lounge scene that gave Jack the creeps.

Ok, number four arrives and after this that’s it, do it right and head out.  Jack knew the place all too well.  Slide around back and slip into the office in the corner.  Two grunts should be standing just inside the door.  Take them out quick like then demand the money.  No one would argue 20 grand over a pointed revolver.  He’d gone through the plan time and time again on his drive east and knew it would work. 

The blonde slides up once again and leans in real close.  Jack pulls back and looks up into her eyes. 

“20 minutes, do it then” is all she says and shimmies off.

20 minutes?  What does that mean?

Was she on to him?  How?  He hadn’t been in here for two years and he sure would’ve remembered the blonde waitress.  Maybe this had happened before.  Maybe she could smell his type.Whatever it was Jack was now very anxious and that’s not what he needed. 

Jack nursed number four to let the night play out.  Sure enough, fifteen minutes later two uniformed patrolmen strolled into the place looking it over once, then twice.  At their arrival the slick rick bunch up front turned and immediately hailed down a rain of boo’s and insults. The two officers smiled and looked over to Nicko behind the bar.

“Everythng Ok?” one of them asked. “Sure sure” was the reply.  Sure it was, milking every dollar from the oblivious Sun State losers was sure fine business.

The two officers strolled over to the rowdy bunch up front and engaged in some sort of conversation.  Jack couldn’t hear what was said but the response was no less entertaining than the sequenced starlet doing her best Cher impersonation.  Seemingly satisfied the two uniforms slowly made their way back to the bar, mentioned something to Nicko then exited the building to a chorus of whoops and hollers from the group up front.

“20 minutes huh”.  The officers were gone and the crowd got back into their own little personal party. 

Ok, times up.20 minutes have passed.  Jack quickly drained the dregs of his glass, wiped his chin then stood up.  Four might have been one too many as he grabbed the banister behind his chair to steady himself.  The blonde was nowhere to be seen.  Oh well, just as good.

Behind the bar Jack knew just where to go.  Around the corner and up the stairs.  Nicko was busy tending bar and no one else would be coming up here besides him.

Knock Knock knock.

A little peep hole slid open.

“Who is it” came the curt reply.

Pulling out his best impression act Jack quickly relied, “It’s Nicko, quick open up, the suites from L.A. need more booz”.

Clink, slide, bam. Open sesame.

Jack quickly stepped inside and one, two, done.  Two guard dogs down, one left albeit not quite a guard dog. 

“Wait!!!!, Don’t shoot!!!”  exactly what Jack expected.

“Open the safe!” Jack demanded.

Just like that, two dead goons and a pointed revolver will get you pretty much anything you ask.

Just over a minute later Jack hurried out of the office.  No one could’ve heard the shots over the music and hooting and hollering of the clientele tonight.

The door and freedom was fifteen feet away.  Jack took a quick look around and no one seemed the wiser.  Slowly Jack made for the door when BAM BAM BAM.  Three shots rang out accompanied by screams and chaos.  The suites were falling over each other, the drifters were dropping back behind their stools for whatever cover they could get.

“Nobody move and nobody gets hurt!” was the order shouted out by a beast of a man standing upon the bar. 

Jack quickly slid behind a booth and looked out.  Nicko was already down with blood pooling up beside him.Poor old Nicko thought Jack, he didn’t deserve this.  Robbing him was one thing, killing him was another thing all together.

The gunmen entered the crowd demanding everyone to put their wallets and cash in a bag they held open.  Amateurs jack thought to himself.

By now, the two uniforms would have been alerted and be headed back this way for sure.

He hadn’t been seen so he just stayed where he was.  Sure enough, two minutes later bam bam bam, the two uniforms came storming back into the place lighting up the gunmen. 

Quicker than a blink and it was all over.  Three would be heisters lay dead and the two uniforms quickly addressed the screaming crying crew of suites.

Jack knew he had to get out of there.  Two dead guard dogs couldn’t identify him but the tied up money man, now that was a different story.

Cool as the dessert breeze Jack slipped out the door as the uniforms tended to the suites and Nicko’s now lifeless corpse.

Sputter sputter.  Not now! Start damn you Jack yelled out.  Now certainly was not the time for his baby to act up.  Sputter sputter, damn it all!

Jack pounded the wheal, willing the old lady to start.

Vrooooom, there she goes!

A few minute later Jack is cruising down ’66 again headed for L.A.

Smiling Jack thinks to himself “Not bad, 28 grand, plus free drinks”.

Just then he hears a quiet snickering from the back seat.

The Blonde!  A stowaway.

She slides up into the passenger seat, rolls down the window letting her hair blow in the night breeze as she lights up a smoke.  She turns to smile at Jack. 

28 grand, free drinks, and a blonde, not bad at all.

© Copyright 2018 j.herring. All rights reserved.

Add Your Comments:

More Mystery and Crime Short Stories