Eavesdropper and the Bartender

April 14th, 2019 by P. Starks

Artwork by Russ Mills @  byroglyphics.com

Inside, everything was no different than the door William had walked through—it was all purple. The bar, the clothes people wore, the stage even—everything—purple. Smoke filled the air, like an erupted volcano. And compared to the air outside, the air inside was as humid as it could be on a Texas summer day. It had all become unbearable. And to add, from what William could barely see, a good ninety percent of the people in the room were nicotine addicts, presumably, but, of course, this was his assumption not mine. William coughed and then waived his hand in the air for safe passage. His vision was much clearer, and less smoky now. He pulled his watch up to his mouth and then spoke to the code inside of it.

“Hey… Sariah… Where are we?” he asked, concerned.
“We are at the Purple Down. It’s an underground club. Mostly filled with thugs, drug dealers, and prostitutes,” replied the code. “But don’t worry. No one will try anything, yet.”

William swallowed, and it was rough going down. He had no idea what he was getting himself into. He needed the bar. He needed a drink. So, he’d made his way over. As he walked across the floor, eyes pierced to the sides and the back of his head. It was apparent that he wasn’t wanted there. But he was there on personal business, and to him, it was the only reason that he needed, more so, it was none of their concern, he’d told himself.

“I’ll take a Mojitos,” said William, sharply staring the bartender in the eyes, to show everyone that he was no one’s bitch.

The bartender then gave an annoyed grin. She was tall, and taller than most of the men in the room. She had short dark hair—a little on the top and a little off the sides. Her arms were the size of both of Williams thighs combined, sadly. But out of all that might’ve been intimidating about her, her eyes were something else. They were crystal grey. Almost as if you could see through them. Yes, translucent, that’s the word. They were translucently grey.

“I don’t do Mojitos,” said the bartender, frustratingly. “This ain’t that kind of bar. But I got some creamer in the fridge for you. Maybe that’ll supplement for the milk you’re probably qwa, qwa, qwaa, qwaving.”

All the men and women in the bar started laughing, so hard that some were now on the floor—they tossed and turned. However, Williams eyes remained locked onto the bartenders. He said nothing and smiled confidently. Although, the bartender could tell a bluff of confidence when she saw one.

“Hey!” she yelled, waiving her hand in Williams face. “You gonna take a picture or are you gonna take a shot of what I just poured ya. And don’t even think about stiffing me on a tip or you’ll end up like the poor bastard over there.”

William looked to his right. And just the sight of the man alone was enough to bring him back to reality. It gave him the chills, undoubtedly. The man was all busted up—pants torn, shirt torn, one eye closed, with a note darted to his chest, no his nipple, that said, I GOT STIFFED. William swallowed again, and then swallowed for the third time right after, but this time chasing down the glass the bartender had placed in front of him.

“Did you by chance see the two men come by here?” asked William, sternly. “One with a banana colored suit and the other with a tailored suit.”

The bartender then turned her back, pretending to wash what looked like already cleaned glasses. For whatever reason she was nervous. And the sweat on the back of her neck would say it so. Chairs then slid back on the wooden floor William stood on. And the sound of boots clinked and clacked against it no different than how a tap dancer would. The closer they’d gotten, the louder.

“Careful William,” said the code. “There are five men behind you. Three with butter knives, one with a pool stick and the other with a gun.”

William stared at his empty glass, rolling it back and forward in his hand. In it, he could see the reflection of the five men the code had just described. Butter knifes came to mind, and for a moment he chuckled, but then his survival instinct reminded him of the thing he should’ve been worried about—GUN, said the angel on his right shoulder. Although, the devil on his left said, “Fuck em, your like Keanu Reeves, you can dodge it if he shoots.” But oh, how wrong the little devil was.

“Sariah, help…” Whispered William, pleading for safety.

One of the men then tapped William on the shoulder.

“So, you’re the one that’s been following our boss?” said the man. “He don’t like that. He don’t like rats. And my friend, you are in the wrong race.”

William turned around slowly. He looked down. The man was smaller than the bartender, smaller than most in the room, but the aura that was given from him was not one to take lightly. William responded.

“Fellas, fellas, calm down… I-I’m here like you just tryna get a drink, maybe even tickle my whistle a bit, if ya catch my drift.”

The five men then stared at one another, dazed and confused. They weren’t what any would call the brightest bunch. Yet, they all stood there, scratching the dandruff from their scalps onto the floor, deciding on rather William was telling the truth or not.

“Well!” yelled the man, with the gun, slowly edging himself forward. “That ain’t what I heard, little bird. You see, word on the street is that you’ve been stalking our bosses. And I don’t know about the rest of the dimwits here, but I ain’t buying your shit. Not for one second my friend.”

The man with the gun was about the same height as William. Five eight, or maybe five nine. Who knows?

“No… It’s not like,” stopped William.
“Clear the room everyone!” yelled the man, with the gun. “We’re about to have ourselves a little showdown.”
“Did someone say hoedown,” laughed a man, from deep dark corner.
“Oh, fuck off already Victor!” yelled a woman. “A gerbil would have a better chance getting it up than you!”

The whole club then let up like fireworks with the insults that had been thrown back and forward. Still, the man with the gun wasn’t laughing. And neither was William.

“Shut up!” yelled again, the man with the gun. “Everyone shut! Up! Were about to dance!”

The whole room had gotten quiet. Chairs and tables were moved to the corners of the room—everyone had spread out. At the bar, it was just William and the man with gun now.

“I ain’t gonna need this,” said the man, putting his gun on the floor and kicking it over to one of his comrades. “Besides, it been a while since I’ve had a good fight. Although I’m pretty sure this will be a quick one.”

The man cracked his knuckles and took his stance. He slowly grooved himself forward.

“Sariah, what the hell,” William urged.

The man then cocked back his fist and through his first punch, but before it made contact with Williams face, everything would go black.

“Hey what happened to the lights!” yelled the man.

Glass shattered in the background. Women screamed, even the men, who seemed like they were getting the worst of it all. William could feel a gush wind flow in front him. It was fast.

“Okay… Its good now Sariah, you can cut the lights back on,” William said.
“But William… I didn’t do that,” said the code.

William then felt something warm on the back of his neck. Someone’s breath—someone behind him. But who? Images of channel 2 news started to fly across his mind like a motion picture. And all that William could think about was how it would all look—African American, middle age coder shanked in the back with a butter knife, at an underground titty bar of all places. His mother would be so proud, he told himself, humorously. The lights then came back on. It was odd. William could’ve sworn he’d heard bodies fall to the ground, but there were none. Literally, there was no one in the room. And the floor was, in fact, squeaky clean, as if it had been polished. The person behind then tapped on his shoulder.

“Hey, lets go,” they said. “I’ll explain everything to you later, but we need to get going before more show up.”

William turned around, slowly. It was the bartender. But she wasn’t in her work clothes anymore. She somewhat looked like a ninja, but they were a long way from Japan. It just wasn’t fitting. But again, who knows? Especially, in the day and age that they were in.

“What happened to everyone?” asked William.

The bartender smiled. And shook her head. “Really… out of what I just saved you from, you’re really worried about that?”

She grabbed Williams arm and pulled him out of the club. It didn’t feel like he’d been in there that long, but it was dark now. The homeless man still slept in the alley, although, by now William was for certain that he was dead. No one slept that long, not even a drug addict. They made a right, and then another right, entering in what looked to be an abandoned bakery.

“Where are we going?” William asked. “I don’t even know your name…”

The bartender was quiet. She let go of Williams arm and scoped out the place.

“Who are you?” asked William, but this time he’d asked the code.
“It is unknown. She has no records. I believe she was an orphaned child. However, I cannot confirm how she is tied with the Koroshimasu.”
“What the hell is a Kromasew?”
“It’s Koroshimasu. They are a ninja clan. Well… an underground ninja clan. Its been years since there have been records of them. Until now that is.”
“Oh my god! I fuckin knew it!”

The bartender turned around fast. “Who are you talking to? We can’t have contact, or we’ll be found. We gotta lay low. Give me your phone.”

William pulled out his phone hesitantly and the bartender snatched it from him. She threw it against the wall, and well… that was pretty much the end of it. William cringed. But if anything, he still had his watch, which she didn’t know much about. William swallowed as he’d always done when all hell was breaking loose. He thought about the two men in the suits. He thought about the guys that all much jumped him for pursuing the men in the suits. And then he thought about the suspicious bartender who was supposedly part of a ninja clan.

“What the fuck…” he whispered. “Did I get myself into…”


Thank you all for reading! And if you have time please go check out the artist for the phenomenal artwork tied to it, his name is Russ Mills @ byroglyphics.com. He has twenty years of experience at what he does and I highly recommend you follow him, especially if your an upcoming artist looking for a little inspiration. 


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