After searching a town that he wasn’t familiar with Jacob finally found Jerry at Blue’s. He sat behind a tall glass of what appeared to be whiskey. After he took a closer look he saw the bottle of Southern Comfort sitting next to him. Jacob watched from the doorway as Jerry picked up the bottle and poured some more into his glass. Blue, who stood just opposite Jerry on the other side of the bar, picked up the bar gun and shot some cola on top of the So-Co.
Jacob gently placed his hand on Jerry’s shoulder as he pulled out the empty stool next to his.
“Can I get a Chevis?”
“Sure thing,” Blue said and scurried off.
Silence was the only sound that Jacob gave. He waited for Jerry to make conversation. And he sat there for several minutes before it was broken by the whimpering that came from behind his glass of pain killer.
“I miss her already. I just thought about when she wore glasses. She would do this thing with her nose and lips to push them back up without touching them. And if they were down she would tilt her head back to see out of ‘em. It’s silly but that’s the things I’m remembering.”
He didn’t want to break his thought process. He needed this, Jacob doubted the man ever let himself think that she was gone. He held on to hope so hard that the thought had never even made an attempt to make itself known. Four months of denying himself of that grief came flowing out all at once.
“I take it you already know?”
“It’s a small town, Nathan, I knew before she was out of the woods.”
Blue sat the glass of Chevis down in front of Jacob and slid him a hand scribbled note on a bar napkin.
‘I’ll watch him, Kelsey is in the office through the back. She wants to talk’.
Great, he thought. He hoped that she wouldn’t show here, but he knew it was her job.
After downing his Chevis, throwing the glass back and taking it in one gulp, Jacob made his way past the stacks of liquor and beer boxes that lined the tiny hallway that led to the even tinier office. Inside Kelsey sat behind a small metal desk that held nothing but a stack of papers in disarray, a large calculator with a half used roll of register tape, a coffee cup with a couple pencils and a pen. Next to the desk sat a small gray filing cabinet, two books sat on top collecting dust. One was titled ‘Missouri Liquor Laws’, the other was the ‘Bartenders Bible’.
Kelsey sat reclined with her feet up on the desk and her arms crossed, her blue jeans fit tight around her legs. Her satin shirt hung loose revealing her left shoulder. Her black Berretta 9mm sat lazily in its holster on her hip and her badge hung between her breast on a chain around her neck. Her face pinched and the little makeup that she wore was beginning to leave due to the hard day she had had.
“Lets get something out of the way, Mr. Collins. The only reason I called you was because you are a representative of the Bledsoe family and they deserve that respect. But as of now this is a murder investigation and I expect you to stay out of my way.”
Jacob didn’t move from the door. He sat leaned against the frame with his arms crossed. The tension in the air was as thick as her hair which he could smell five feet away.
“I’ve done what I was hired to do. Mr. Murphy will be briefed on what I know and now that the…er…girl has been found I see no need for them to need my assistance.”
She smiled at him and threw her feet off of the desk and stood, adjusting her shirt as to not show too much skin.
“Can I ask one question though?”
“No, this is none of you business.”
Jacob stood erect, his chest grew about two inches. He moved closer to her, blocking her exit.
“When Jerry asked me to find his daughter, it became my business. The instant he wouldn’t listen to my suggestion when I told him he didn’t want to go down this road, it became my business. When I spent two days talking to people that you didn’t talk with, it became my business. The minute he handed me a flyer in that bus station, it became my business.” He stepped even closer to her, he could feel her breath on his face. “The second I walked into this bar and saw that man crying because his little girl was murdered and thrown away like a piece of trash, it became my business. So you take what ever grudge you are holding against me for whatever reason I don’t know and throw it out the window and I’ll ask you again. May I ask you a question?”
Kelsey took a step back and placed her hand on her gun. For a moment it was silent in Blue’s office, and only the heavy breathing of two angry people cut through that sound. Then the sound of something else, yelling. Jacob could hear people in the front of the bar, and not the sound of a fun loving crowd. Then he heard the sound of footsteps echoing down the tiny hallway. Blue busted through the doorway pointing to the front.
“One of you guys wanna get out there and break that up?”
They made their way back past the boxes stacked in the hallway. The sound of men yelling grew louder and his heart began to pound to the rhythm of his jog. Kelsey was right on his heels. He glanced back and caught a glimpse of the jet black Berretta flowing back and forth as her arms pumped with her legs.
As he entered through the door into the dimly lit bar his vision became night blind. Waiting for his pupils to dilate he tried to make the men in the bar. He reached behind his back to feel for his Glock. He felt the cool metal of the grip. He flipped the snap on his belt holster but didn’t pull the gun, as best he could tell no one, besides Kelsey, had drawn.
Finally his eyes grew clear and he could see Jerry bent over the bar with his hands behind his back. He held the So-Co bottle by its neck in his hand, now it was a broken thrusting weapon. It had once been Jerry’s pain killer and now it had become his pain maker. The man behind Jerry wore a ball cap turned around backwards. And a sleeveless shirt. His blue jeans were stained and torn. His arms and neck were beat red, Jacob couldn’t see his face from where he was standing but assumed that they too were red. Meth head. Then he saw the tall skinny guy brandishing a baseball bat. His face beat red and his eyes were glassy. He was the one called Bash.
Jacob looked over his shoulder to see Kelsey moving to the left around to the front of the bar in a shooters stance with her gun trained on Bash.
“Put the bat down, Rowland.”
“We just wanted to have a little chit-chat with Jerry here and he went all crazy on us.”
Jacob easily slid the gun out of its holster but kept his arm to his side. He could hear Blue behind him in the door of the hallway panting like a hot dog. Jerry had become motionless, more than likely tired of fighting for the day.
Jacob moved to his right to get a better view of the man holding Jerry in some sort of twisted arm bar, he hadn’t been trained, something he had most likely picked up on the streets. The man whipped his head toward Jacob and his eyes flashed red.
“Hey, Bash,” the man said. Jacob instantly recognized him as Bash’s toady from the street corner. “Look who we have here. If it isn’t pretty purple car man. I thought we told you to leave town.”
Jacob put his hands on the bar revealing the Glock.
Kelsey was now standing about six feet from Bash and Jacob stood right on top of his partner.
“Why don’t you let this man go,” Jacob said, tapping the gun with is trigger finger.
“You think I’m fucking scared of your gun? I got my own in my waist.”
Jacob leaned closer. “You think you can draw yours before I get a shot off? I don’t think so. So lets just let him go.”
“He owes Rainbow a lot of money. We came to collect.”
Kelsey, keeping her gun on Bash, said, “I don’t think now is the time to worry about that boys. Rainbow can settle up later. Jerry here has had a really bad day.”
“We know.” Bash said, still not lowering the bat. “That’s why we are here. Seems Mr. Murphy here just came into a lot of money. Rainbow wants what’s owed to him. We didn’t come in here looking for a fight. But Jerry here threw the first punch and broke that bottle.”
“Then why the bat, Rowland?” Jacob asked.
“The name is Bash. Like the ‘Bash Brothers’ from baseball. I used to love them guys when I was a kid, wanted to be just like ‘em. But I didn’t get the bat until Jerry broke the bottle. By time I got back with the bat, Gordy here already had the situation under control.”
“Then put it down,” Jacob said, repeating Kelsey’s earlier request.
“Gordy, let him go, we’ll talk to him tomorrow.”
“Yeah, Gordy,” Jacob said, so close now the he could whisper in his ear.
He released Jerry who shook off the pain and dropped the bottle to the floor. Jacob looked him over, he didn’t see any visible signs of injury, he seemed okay. Jacob turned his attention back to Gordy.
“I got your fuckin’ number, m’fucka. I ain’t playin’,” he said pointing at Jacob. “We told you to leave town. Now get, or I’ll find you and you’ll wish you had.”
Jacob saw the flash of a fist moving through the air. Jerry put his entire weight into the punch, throwing his body at the man who had held him captive. He connected to Gordy’s jaw and went down.
Jerry turned to the table and took the last swig of his whiskey which was, miraculously still in its glass.
Gordy bounced up and threw up his arm and Jacob could see the flash of metal in the dim light. Jacob glanced at Kelsey who was moving in to get the bat from Bash. She had re-holstered. Her hair whipped through the air as she turned to see the gun as well. Jacob threw up his gun and took aim placing the bead on Gordy, who was taking a few steps forward, moving closer to Jerry’s back. Jacob steadied the gun and fired. The loud pop echoed throughout the empty bar and then it became quiet. Until the sound of Gordy’s gun hit the floor. Then the sound of Gordy screaming filled the room.
Jacob jumped over the bar and kicked the gun away from
Gordy who lay on the floor clutching his right bicep.
“Fuck you.” Jacob said.
Jacob watched as Kelsey loaded the three men into her SUV and then make her way back to him.
“Don’t you go anywhere, I’ll be back. I’m taking these three to the station.”
“I’ll be right behind you, I’m gonna bail Jerry out.” Jacob insisted.
“I don’t think so,” Kelsey said. “I got some questions for you Mr. Collins. Frankly I don’t understand a few things and I would rather not do this at the station. If I come back and your gone, your ass is mine.”
Jacob made his way back into the bar, it sounded like a good time for some Chevis.