The Watering Hole

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Thrillers  |  House: Booksie Classic
I got this idea from Lynard Skynard's "Gimme Three Steps." Enjoy!

Submitted: July 17, 2007

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Submitted: July 17, 2007

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The Watering Hole



I want you to get one thing straight from the getgo, and that's that I didn't start what happened at The Watering Hole that night.  I wasn't doing nothing but minding my own business when the cheese hit the grater.
I was sitting at the bar, a Marlboro smoking between my index and middle finger, when this very pretty girl walked up to me.  She was wearing this little black, off-the-shoulders dress that fit her figure very, very well.  The first thing I noticed about her was that she was beautiful with a capital "B."  She had these amazing green eyes that looked deeper than Lake Michigan.  They were the color of emeralds.
"Would you like to dance?"  She shouts over the music, trying to make herself heard.  I nodded my head, "yes," and she took my hand.  We walked out onto the dancefloor and started dancing.  She was a great dancer, and she kept telling me about her "ex" boyfriend, who had been abusive so she left him.  She said that she was looking for someone, and that she thought I was very good looking.  She said this with a bit of a blush, but she kept eye contact.  I personally don't think I'm any prize, but I wasn't going to tell her that.
At around 12:30 that night--or morning, whatever--I went to go get her another drink and was wondering if she was going to wind up with me.  At the moment, I was hoping so.  I took her drink back to her and she drank it quickly, obviously thirsty from all the dancing we'd been doing.  After she finished her drink, we left our table and went back to dance some more.  Like I said before, she was a great dancer, and she obviously loved to do it.
Anyway, we danced for another couple minutes before the door bangs open with a sound like a gunshot.  A man wearing a pair of Levis, some dirty workboots, a Lynard Skynard shirt, and a NASCAR hat walked in.  He had a .44 in his right hand, and he survied the room like the gunsling from one of Stephen King's The Dark Tower books.  His eys looked like ice-chips, and when Mary--that was the girl I was dancing with--saw him, she screamed.  
"Hey!  What the hell's this!?"  The man demands and points his piece at me.  All the spit in my mouth instantly dried up and my heart started racing.  I felt like I had just finished running a marathon.  My body pumped adrenaline into my system by the gallons, and I could feel my muscles tense up.  The barrel of the .44 looked bigger than the friggin' Lincoln Tunnel.
"Hold on, now, just hold on," I muttered, trying to sound in control and completely failing.  The man continued to aim the .44 at me, but he turned his attention to Mary.
"Who's this clown?"  He asked.
"It's nothing serious, Marshall.  He's just a guy I met tonight.  It's not like we're still together, anyway, so you can just get lost," Mary said, mustering up all of her bravery to spit the sentence out.  I could see anger flash across the man's--Marshall's--face and he pivoted the gun to Mary.  Her eyes opened up real wide and she opened up her mouth to say something.  She never got the chance.  
Marshall fired his enormous .44 and took her life.  In the small tavern, the report of the .44 sounded like 105mm Howitzer fire.  Everyone in the bar had been watching the scene unfold, and it was then that they all began to scream.  I did not scream, but I did jump and ran around the side of a table that stood to my right.  Mary was lying on the floor in a quickly spreading pool of blood that seemed extremly red.  The hole in her head looked like a red, staring eye.  I had to bite my tongue to keep myself from vomiting at the sight.  
"You.  You sniveling little pissant!  You're the reason she doesn't want to be with me anymore!"  Marshall shouted and leveled his massive cannon of a gun on my chest.  His eyes were cut into slits so small that I wondered how he could see.  
"No . . . I . . . honestly, I just met her tonight!"  I argued, but he made a low grunt in his throat that told me that he didn't believe me.  He walked towards me, his dirty workboots clocking on the wood floor in a hollow, echoing cadence.  The tavern was so quite you could have heard a pin drop.  My heart rate speeded up and I was suddenly aware that my hand was going to my pocket.  Stuffed inside it was a switchblade with a six inch blade that I kept sharper than the razors I shave with.  I popped the blade out and the sharpened edges gleamed in the dusty, dull light of The Watering Hole.  
"You best put that little pocket knife away, 'fore I blow a hole through your chest," Marshall threatened, taking another couple of steps forward.  The barrel of his .44 seemed to be getting bigger and bigger, growing to an infinte size.  Then, for the first time, I got a real look at his eyes.  They were narrowed in anger, but they were burning with a light that can only be kindled with insanity.  It was at that point that I began to fear for my life.  
"Don't make me hurt you," I said.  I instantly regretted it, because my voice sounded small and insignificant.  I wanted to just melt into the floor and slither away like a backboneless little worm.  But, because I had been raised to not back down from a fight, I stood my ground.  Possibly not the best choice I've ever made.
Marshall laughed at my threat, but it was not what you would call a "jovial sound."  He sounded extremly angry and ready to kill.  In fact, he took another couple of steps closer to me and gritted his teeth.
"Listen to me, you little pissant, I swear to God I'll kill you.  In front of all these people, too.  See if I give a damn,"  My eyes kept dancing back and forth from his face to the barrel of his handheld cannon.  This seemed to annoy him for some reason, and he shouted at me.
"Look me in the face, Buddy, 'fore I pump a round through your little chest!"
I opened my mouth to say something, but someone else spoke first.  
"Yes, sir, this is--" but Marshall cut the man off.  He had been on his cell phone, talking to the cops.  Marshall put two rounds into his head, scything his life down like wheat in a field.  
The light reflecting off the sharpened edges of my switchblade sent a spike of light into my eye and I winced at it slightly.  Then I had an idea, I tilted the knife a bit, trying to send one of those red hot spikes of light into Marshall's eye.  It didn't work.  The light kept playing across his face, but I couldn't get it to actually go into his eye.  Finally, he took another step forward and shoved the .44 into the waistband of his jeans.  He balled his hands into fists and squared off with me.  I kept my knife in one hand, but I balled my other one into a fist.  I went in swinging with both my knife and my fist.  Unfortunantly for me, it was my fist that connected with him.  He punched me in the chest so hard that I stumbled backwards about ten paces and my switchblade went flying.  The light danced across the mother-of-pearl handles and the blade.  It landed with a clatter on the floor about five feet away from me.
I tried to regain my balance, but he laid me out with a punch to the face that split my lip.  Anger flashed across my mind like an arrow with fire at its tip.  I jumped up and went in swinging again.  He had a couple of inches and probably forty pounds on me, but at the time, I just didn't care.  I got two good hits in on him, both on his nose, before he kicked me in the shin and then rammed his elbow into the top of my head.  Bright stars of pain burst across my eyes and my mind and I crumpled to the floor like a sack of taters.  For a moment, I couldn't even think; everything was eclipsed by the pain that was blooming across my head.  Finally, I tried to stand back up.
Marshall, being the fair-fighter that he was, sent his heavy workboot into my ribs and dropped me to the floor again.  I hit my lip and split it open, spilling my crimson blood onto the hardwood.  
That was the final straw.  I jumped up, drove my forearm into the fork of his crotch as I was coming up, and then kneed him in the nose when he doubled over.  He threw his head back, blood spurting from his nose, and took eight or nine steps back.  I pulled a Karate move and kicked him high up on his chest.  Hard.  He tripped and fell onto a table, spilling beer and sending a plate of fries and the remains of burger into the air.  The plate hit the ground and shattered like a mortar round.  
Before he could even get up, I was on him again.  I could feel the adrenaline pumping through my veins, feeding my rage.  I beat on his face with my fists, splitting his skin high on both of his cheek bones and breaking his nose.  As I punched his face, I continually slammed my knee into his crotch, keeping him incapacitated.  At some point during the night's festivites, he began to cry.  I didn't care, there was so much adrenaline in my system that I probably wouldn't have stopped beating him if he had died.  
Then, there was a sudden burst of pain across my face.  He had managed to cut me with a small, dagger like knife that he had produced from what seemed to be nowhere.  Blood spilled from the three inch cut that went from the corner of my jaw to the edge of my nose.  I howled in agony and surprise, then slammed my elbow into his throat.  I did a quick fade, sliding backwards and trying to spot my knife.  I finally spotted it and made a quick dive for it, sliding on my chest and stomach the last couple of feet.  I wrapped my fist around the hand and stood up, afraid that Marshall was going to be on me like a mad dog.  He wasn't, he was still on the table, writhing in agony.  I did take time to notice, however, that he was still clutching his knife.  
While I was trying to decided if I should go in for the kill or not, he stood up and glared at me.  I felt like his gaze alone was almost enough to kill me.  The knife he had had a blade of about three and a half inches, but the handle was small and had a slot for his index finger to go through, I guess so he could get a better grip.  The blade itself was recurved backwards a bit, kind of like a reverse claw, and sharper than all hell.  My knife, on the other hand, had more of a dagger blade, sharp on both sides and a little bit fatter at the top than at the bottom.  Mine was also a lot longer.  With any luck, I could slice-and-dice him before he could do the same to me.
I ran at him, screaming in a way that sounded so gutteral and animal-like that Marshall's eyes widened and he cocked one eyebrow at me.  Then he reset his face with a quick snap and braced himself to give me a bearhug that would probably end with his knife stabbing in my back.  So, I fainted right, then left when I got close to him.  He fell for the right and I sliced him pretty deep across the side of his calf.  He howled and brought his knife down in a side arc that made a swoosh! as it passed by my ear.  Then I saw some of my hair float in front of my face and I found myself thanking God for not letting the crazy bastard take my ear off.  
I scrambled to regain my balance and almost got it, but Marshall planted the heel of his heavy boot into the small of my back.  I landed spread-eagle, but I managed to keep a hold on my knife this time.  And that one was close, too, I tell you.
I attempted to regain my feet, but he sat on my back and placed the edge of his knife against my throat.  His blade was just as sharp as mine, if not more so.  I could feel the edge grabbing against my skin, wanting to cut and slice and do what it was made for: kill.  I tried to worm my way out of the situation, but it was impossible.  He began to whisper threats into my ear so horrible that I dare not repeat them.  
Just as he tightened his grip on his knife, preparing to slice my throat with it, a gunshot rang out.  Marshall holwed and jumped off of me, turning his head in a rather comical way in an attempt to see his back.  I stood up and looked around, trying to see where the shot had come from.  I finally spotted it.  George, the bar tender, was standing behind the bar, a .30-.06 brought up to his shoulder and his cheek still resting on the butt.  Even his eyes were still squinted, and I then realized that he was trying to draw another bead on the jumping, tittering thing that was Marshall.  The first shot had only grazed his back, really just enough to scare him.  Now he was jumping around and howling like one of those annoying howler monkies that you sometimes see on the Discovery Channel.  
Before George could kill him, I football tackled the man and knocked him flat onto his back.  I sat up, one of my legs on either side of his stomach.  I clinched them tight, got real close to his face, and spit on him.  He started to howl and kick in anger, but I held him down.  I beat his face again, cursing at him the entire time.  At one point, I cut his face open in a long "x" shape that probably scarred him forever.  
Suddenly, I was lying on my side.  He had pushed me off of him and he was gaining his feet.
Before I could even roll to avoid him, he had sliced his knife through my shirt and into the soft flesh of my underarm.  Blood gushed out and I could feel an odd sensation, kind of like a tingling, in my arm.  It occured to me that he may have severed some nerves, but at the moment, I just didn't care.  I regained my feet just in time to take a punch to the face that laid me out again.  I scrambled backwards, breathing heavily and bleeding like a stuck pig.  I got to my feet, punched him in the face and cut his arm, then made a quick grab for the gun sticking out of the waistband of his jeans.  This move was more of instinct than anything else, but it was also a pretty good idea.  My fingers closed around the butt of the enormous .44 Magnum, and my heart soared with hope.  Then he rammed his claw of a knife through my hand, inbetween my index and middle fingers.  The very end of the knife came through on the other side.  I howled and I could feel tears begin to build up in my eyes.  Then they began to spill over and I started to cry.  It wasn't so much because I was in pain, it was just that I was so pissed off.
I jerked my hand back, and the knife came with it.  The handle was slick with blood, so maybe that was why, but why wasn't what I was concerned with.  What I was concerned with was that it had happened.  I yanked the knife out of my hand, tucked it into the back pocket of my jeans, and smiled menacingly at him.  I'm sure that I looked quite crazy then, blood streaming off of me in quite a few places and adrenaline pumping through me, making me oblivious to the pain, but smiling nonetheless.  Anyone that saw me probably thought that I was crazy.  But, none of that occured to me at the time.  I was in a state known only as bloodlust.  
I lept for that .44 again, and this time I managed to yank it out of his pants.  I leveled the gun on him, still smiling.  The weight of the gun in my hand was comforting, even calming.  Then I looked at his face, and my feeling of control was shattered like a fragile glass window.  He didn't have an ounce of fear on his face.  He looked, in fact, like he still thought he was in control.
Anger built to rage inside of me, and I squeezed the trigger of the .44 without really thinking about it.  There was only a dry, hollow click! that told me that the gun was empty.  
"Dammit!" I shouted and threw the gun to the floor.  How was I supposed to know that he had another clip in his pocket?  
I came at him with my knife and his, duel-wielding them like some ancient samurai or ninja or something.  I slashed the air near his face and chest, wanting only to kill him.  I wasn't even sure why we were fighting, I just knew that I needed to kill the man known as Marshall.  My knife connected with the bridge of his nose, slicing an ugly cut across it in a jagged, lighting bolt fork.  He did not cry out.  I rammed his knife forward, sticking it into his thigh.  
"Holy hell!"  He screamed as I pushed the knife in.  I brought it down a bit, then jerked it out.  Blood spurted from the cut, and I considered the possibility that I may have severed his femoral artery.  Then I ignored that thought, knowing for a fact that he would have been bleeding much more than he was.
He fainted right, then left, then right, then left again.  I fell for the last one, and jumped left.  He dived right and landed on his stomach.  When he came up again, he was holding the .44.  I laughed at him, thinking that he hadn't noticed that the gun was empty.  Then he produced the other clip and rammed it home.  He pulled the slide back and there was that unmistakable chik-chik! sound of a round being chambered.  All of the spit dried up in my mouth, and it seemed like all the adrenaline left my system at once.  I felt weak, afraid, and the full extent of my pain hit me like a freight train.  The pain actually made me feel as if I was going to collapse.
"Say good-bye," Marshall said and fired.  There must have been blood in his eye or something, because the round went way to my right, shattering a beer bottle and digging a deep rut into the table.  Marshall contorted his face, trying to get a better bead on me.  I was only three feet away, he must have been a bad shot even under perfect conditions.  
Before he could click off another shot, I flicked his knife into the air and caught it by the tip.  I tried to remember exactly how to throw a knife, then decided that I might as well just wing it.  I threw it and its flight toward him seemed to be in slow motion.  I expected it to hit handle first, then clatter uselessly to the floor.  But it didn't.  It stuck into his shoulder, digging in deep and making him howl.  He squeezed the trigger on the .44 again, and this time the bullet tore through my shirt sleeve and cut my arm a little.  
I began to make my way toward the door, deciding that it was time to split.  He fired another shot, and this one was way too near my head for comfort.  His knife was still sticking out his shoulder like an exlamation point, and I laughed.  It was a harsh, crazy sound, but it was an honest to God laugh.  The knife just looked funny.  
Then another bullet whined past my face and I screamed in fear.  I turned on my heel and ran to the door.
People could hear me screamin' a mile away as I was headed out for that door.


© Copyright 2020 Austin Bello. All rights reserved.

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