Reality Bites

“Strange men. Is there any other kind?” she sighed, scanning the row of heavy, shaggy heads bent over the bar rail.

This one had jowls that flowed over his shirt collar and when he pulled on his beer, flapped like soggy dishtowels on a sagging laundry line. That one had a nose that hovered sharp as a hatchet blade over his double shot of cheap bourbon, glinting greasily from a thicket of mouse-brown hair.

And that other one? He had so much beard that he most-resembled a thick mildew that had grown up from the pile of broken pretzels and peanut shells stuck to the counter in front of him. It wasn’t clear what he was drinking, or if he was drinking at all.

She sighed and waited. Maybe she’d come to the wrong place, trading anonymity for base mediocrity. The night was flying by, and she had to find the right one. She deserved the best this venue had to offer.

Then he emerged. He strode in from the back hallway, slapping backs and roaring with laughter, rolling back to the bar after “draining the snake,” as he loudly announced. Grinning, he planted himself on a barstool and slapped the counter.

She rolled her eyes, and leaned back, deeper into the shadows.

Broad of chest and meaty in arm muscle, thighs as thick as a bull in breeding season, his cheeks were flushed and shiny with heat in the dim light. He nodded at the barkeep and ordered a Bushmills Black. “Just leave the bottle, Jimmy.”

She raised an eyebrow and considered, “Now there’s a man with good taste. None of this cheap booze and light beer will do for him.”

She settled back and watched him drink. When the lights went on to signal closing time, she melted further into the shadows and followed him out the door. He rolled down the sidewalk, like a clipper ship navigating a heaving ocean in moonlight. He passed the small parking lot of the bar, and continued down the street, swaying to and fro as he mumbled and hummed under his breath.

“Perfect. No one will be looking for the owner of an abandoned car,” she smiled and followed in his wake, sticking to the shadows. He turned down an empty side street with broken streetlamps. Quickening her pace in the thick darkness, she soon caught up with him.

Slipping her arms around him from behind, she pressed her breasts into his back. He stopped and turned toward her as she snuggled under his arm. Laughing softly this time, he gazed down into her eager face.

Lightning quick, before he had time to scream, she pulled his head down, bared his neck and tasted the heady, whiskey-sweet blood that flooded her mouth.

 

© Liz Husebye Hartmann (2017)

Midtown Writers’ Prompt(10/07/2017):  Write for 8 minutes on Strange Men.

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