26/03/2015: Lonnie’s Bar

Category : Creative Year
Date : 30th March 2015

For the first time in this project, here’s a short story.

It was three minutes to midnight, Tuesday evening, and Lonnie’s Bar was mostly empty. It was always a quiet bar, the sort of place you’d only ever go to get drunk. On this particular evening, the evening when the man in the hat arrived, there were four people in the bar.

Firstly, there was Lonnie’s nephew, Frank, behind the bar. Frank had taken over after Lonnie’s body had been found in his bath, cold, and with his throat slit from behind. Everyone knew who killed him, and everyone knew well enough not to snitch.

Sitting up at the bar were Pete and Sammy “Small-Shoes”. They grew up next door to each other, went to the same school, then worked together down at the docks loading and unloading trucks. They’d been drinking at Lonnie’s since before they were legal. These days, neither said a word, in the way true best friends did.

Finally, there was the man in the shadows. He was a regular, although no one knew his real name – Lonnie, and now Frank, just called him “sir”. He’d visit every Tuesday, at 11.30 pm, like clockwork every week. He’d sit in the same booth, so as his face was hidden by the shadows, still wearing his hat. He’d order a bourbon and soda, and then say nothing else. Then, every time at 5 minutes to midnight, just like clockwork, a boy would come in, hand over a fat envelope to Lonnie, and then he’d leave.

The man in the shadows would then down his drink in one hit, and then, without a word, leave the bar, after taking a $10 bill from his wallet and placing it under the empty glass. Whoever he was, he had money to spend.

Every week was the same, except for today. Today, the boy was two minutes late. The man in the shadows looked over at the clock behind the bar, then at his watch, then back up at the clock. At two minutes to midnight, he obviously decided he couldn’t wait any longer. He stood, took out a $10 bill, and placed it under the still full glass. As he did this, the door opened, ringing the bell. He turned round to see who it was, hoping it was the boy with his delivery. It wasn’t. Instead, a man in a long grey coat stood in the doorway. His hat was pulled down low, obscuring his face. He carried a Tommy Gun with a 100-round drum magazine, which was pointed directly at the man in the shadows. If it wasn’t for the distant sounds of the city, you could’ve heard a pin drop.

After about 30 seconds of silence, the man with the gun spoke, well, more like spat, “she sends her regards.”

The man in the shadows reached for the revolver under his coat, but was too late. By the time he had grasped the smooth wooden grip, he was dead. A flurry of bullets had ripped through him.

The others in the bar hadn’t moved, hoping that if they didn’t interfere, they’d be spared. The man with the gun had other ideas.

He turned the gun on them. Before they could run, bullets ripped through the solid wooden bar, wood splintering in all directions. Bottles smashed and booze splashed. A wall light was hit, showering sparks over the freshly bloodied corpses.

Again the firing stopped. Silence.

The man with the gun stepped forward. He fired a short burst into both Pete and Sammy. He paced round the bar. Frank was still alive, and he was crawling for the door. Another burst, another corpse.

Again, silence.

Then, a splutter. The man in the shadows was still alive. He couldn’t move. The man with the gun stood in front of him, and, looking directly down the sights, fired every last round he had left, which was still a considerable number. The body convulsed with the force of the assault. Blood splattered over the floor, walls and even the ceiling.

Once the magazine was empty, signified by the tell-tale clicking, the gunman hid the weapon under his coat, and after the briefest look round the room, left the bar. He crossed the road and disappeared into the shadows, just as a police car screeched to a halt outside the bar.

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