The Saloon

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

Will she avenge her husband?

The Saloon

By Joseph Logsdon

Eva walked into the dirty saloon. It was a rough establishment, the type of place that you wouldn’t want to bring your family to. As was to be expected, smoke polluted the air. Eva stared into the crowd, intimidated by what she was seeing. They were quite rough, too rough for her to handle. What was she even doing there? They weren’t exactly her kind of people. Come to think of it, they weren’t exactly people at all. They slept all day, drank all night, and didn’t care who got in their way.

Eva proceeded to approach the bar. The bartender, Charlie Wilson, stared back at her. He had seen her before, though he didn’t quite know where. Charlie remembered everyone he had ever encountered, so it was strange that he couldn’t recall her name. That fact troubled him as she approached the counter. She was, after all, quite beautiful. Everywhere she turned, eyes were on her. There were big eyes, small eyes, every type of eye. They were all just waiting for her to say something. Most of all, Charlie was waiting for her to say something.

When Eva finally did make it to the bar, she didn’t say one word; she just stared at the dirty wall. Almost without warning, Eva started to cry. Something was on her troubled mind, and that something made it impossible for her to think clearly.

“Pardon me, are you okay?” Charlie asked.

Eva didn’t respond to his question. Without even knowing him, she already knew that he was insincere. He only asked because he felt obligated to, and not because he actually wanted to. At the end of the day, people only pretended to care about her.

“You men, you’re all alike,” Eva grunted, slamming her fist on the counter.

“Sorry?”

“Don’t give me any of that. From the moment I walked in this place, you’ve been staring at me. I can see it in your eyes, in the eyes of every man here. You want me, don’t you? Don’t bother denying it; I know you want me. You’ve wanted me ever since I walked in the door,” she hissed.

“You got me all wrong. I’m here to wipe the floor, serve drinks, and listen to pathetic sob stories. Even if I were attracted to you, which I’m not, I would never embarrass myself in front of people. To someone like you, we’re just a bunch of savage animals. We’re not worth your time, let alone your kindness. It’s obvious, from the way you’re dressed, that you don’t favor people like us. Well, if we displease you so much, why don’t you go to another bar?”

Tears poured down her face. Eva turned away from him, just barely managing to hold herself together. Charlie glared at her, surprised by her sudden change in behavior. Feeling somewhat responsible for her misery, he calmly poured her a drink.

“It’s on the house,” Charlie stated, handing her the drink.

“I’m sorry for yelling at you. My husband, God rest his soul, died recently. It’s been hard coping with his death. While I watched the kids, he would come here. He would get drunk, sometimes very drunk. I hated him when he was drunk. He wasn’t the same person, as is often the case. For every wrong he did, there was also a right. Whenever he would get sober, he would immediately apologize. It wasn’t his fault, in the end. He told me many times that he wanted to get better. He was getting better, and had he lived, I’m sure he would’ve recovered,” she sobbed.

Charlie stared at Eva, regret in his eyes. Her pain was almost too much for him to bear. He patted her on the shoulder, concerned about her health and wellbeing. Eva stared back at him, touched by his friendly gesture.

“Hundreds of people come to this place, every one of them carrying some kind of chip on their shoulder. Some of them carry heavy chips, while others carry lighter chips. Your chip is very heavy, indeed. Had I known about your situation, I never would’ve made those comments. You have my sympathy, as well as my apology,” Charlie stated.

“I appreciate your kindness. In a world filled with so much hatred, it’s difficult to find people you can talk to,” she exclaimed.

“You’re welcome to talk to me anytime, anywhere,” Charlie stated.

“For a start, would you like to know how my husband died?”

“Are you sure you want to tell me that? I’m a stranger to you, definitely not someone you can trust. Do what you want, it’s all the same to me,” Charlie exclaimed, wiping the counter.

Eva stared into his eyes, somehow managing to capture his attention. Charlie froze, captivated by her hypnotic gaze. There was a tear, accompanied with another tear. There were many tears in her eyes, each one more tragic than the last.

“A few days ago, my husband came home from work. He was frantic, practically insane. He needed money, and he needed it fast. I was so hysterical, I nearly called the police. What else could I do, let him destroy the house? It was awful, the way he behaved. I only shudder to think what would’ve happened if he had stayed,” she gasped.

“You mean, he didn’t stay?”

“He left me, left all of us. Tommy, my son, asked where his daddy had gone. Do you know how painful that is? His father, the man I loved, had abandoned us. He owed someone money, that much I gathered. The next time I saw him, he was dead, shot in the head. Someone had killed him. Do you know who that person was?”

“Of course not. Why would I?”

Eva removed the gun from her pocket, determined to use it. Charlie froze, stunned and confused. He held his hands in the air, all the while trying to come up with a plan to save himself. There was a gun under the counter, loaded and ready to fire. In an act of desperation, Charlie reached for the gun. Just before he could retrieve it, Eva fired a bullet into his arm. The crowd screamed and roared. They ran for the exit, their lives being more important than the life of Charlie.

“Now, it’s just you and me,” Eva laughed.

“You’re beyond delusional, you’re crazy. I never killed your husband; I’ve never killed anyone. It’s true, I do gamble from time to time. Many men owe me money, more than I can count. If they can’t pay it, then it must be collected. I send men out, dangerous and powerful men. They’re meant to collect the stolen money. Regrettably, they’ve made many mistakes while doing their job. Right at the beginning, I told them not to kill. Sometimes they listen, sometimes they don’t,” he grunted.

“Your men, your murder,” Eva stated, putting her finger on the trigger.

“What would that solve? We don’t have to be enemies, you know. I could help you restart your life. What will it take for you to understand? I’ll give you money, that way you can start over. You can go to a new town, get a new job, lead the life you’ve always wanted to lead. Dead, I’m useless. Alive, I can help you,” Charlie begged.

Eva considered his offer briefly, right before pulling the trigger. The bullet penetrated his head, instantly relieving him of his life. His body fell on the floor, dead and motionless. Eva placed the gun against her head, tired of the game of life.

“God, for the sake of my children, forgive me,” she cried, softly pulling the trigger.

The End

 


Submitted: August 21, 2015

© Copyright 2022 JL reaper. All rights reserved.

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