“Get the hell out of my bar!”
Is she screaming at me? I can’t tell. Her slurred words tell the story of a day’s long drinking binge, and she’s finally decided to take it out on someone. That someone is me. Truth be told, I don’t even like this fucking bar. It’s one offense away from being shut down by the health department, and the people in here are one step above meth addicts and homeless psychopaths. The only problem is, it’s the closest place to get a drink.
“You talking to me?” My teeth gritted, with a cigarette stuck between them.
“Who the fuck do you think I’m talking to, you stupid asshole?”
She’s pissed, and rightfully so. I’ve just slammed a man’s head through a glass table and bludgeoned his friend with my fist. I don’t fight very often – well, not for money anyway – but these halfwits had it comin’.
“Just shut the fuck up, and pour me a shot and brew.” I try to reason with the ugly gash. Well, kind of.
The two men begin to come to, but after spotting the blood all over their faces it’s apparent they want no part of me. They quickly scramble, and hide in the darkness at the other end of the bar. Plotting their revenge? Probably not.
“Get your shit and get out! Or I’m callin’ the cops!” Her blood curdling scream startles the other patrons of the bar. I can barely see her through the smoke filled air as she points toward the exit. I throw my hands up, and reluctantly agree to her dumb ass demands. It’s not the first time I’ve been kicked out of this bar, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. I finish the rest of my beer, and walk out the exit.
The bright sun blinds me momentarily as I gather my bearings. It’s only one o’clock in the afternoon, I’m drunk and already been in a fight. I look down at my right hand. My knuckles are smoothed over with swelling and bruises. My old lady’s not going to like this.
I take a walk down the street and spot a few guys on the corner. They’re all smoking cigarettes, and each of them grips a bottle filled paper bag.
“You Kutter?” One of them shouts in my direction, before whispering over to his buddies and pointing my way.
I walk up slowly, and their posture quickly becomes defensive.
“What’s it to ya’?” I clinch my fists. The adrenaline from the fight at the bar still has my heart rate up, and my instincts to defend myself are still on high alert.
“N..na…nothin’, man. We j..ja…just saw w you on TV last night, and I was wondering if that really w..wa..was you.” The stuttering prick can barely put the sentence together, as the nervous tension rises.
“Yeah, that was me.” A little bit of fame never hurt anyone, I’ll cop to it.
“Are you really going to beat that Michael Byrd guy with your baseball bat?” The youngest of the trio blurts out the question in a high pitched, young voice.
“Well, that’s obviously the plan, dick nips.” I hate fans, but I’ll entertain notion of having them, if it means more money in my pocket.
The little shits laugh at the insult, and suddenly my adrenalines back up. They’re not taking me seriously. My inner monologue is trying to get me to destroy these peasants where they stand, but the promised money of a match next week remains on my mind, and eventually I talk myself out of crushing their skulls with my fist.
“That’s goin’ to be awesome!” Fans these days are all blood and guts, but it suits me. I’m all about blood and guts.
“Your damn right it’s goin’ to be awesome. I’m going to grab MY bat from that pole and beat Michael Byrd’s fuckin’ brains in. Well, as much as they’ll let me anyone.”
Suddenly, the kids scatter as I hear a car pull up from behind me.
I already know who it is.
“Shawny!” Paulie shouts from from the backseat of a Lincoln, with the window half cracked. He wants his money. I already know. Problem is, there’s no money yet.
“Get in.” His voice is stern, and it’s apparent that this is definitely not a request. Against my better judgement, I turn around and walk to the car. The door swings open and I get in the back. The car pulls away from the curb and begins driving down the street.
“What’s up, Paulie?” I ask, hoping he’s not going to ask about money.
“So.” That’s all he has to say.
“Look, Paulie. I just worked last night, this isn’t how it works. I haven’t been paid just yet.” You Italian prick.
“Paid or not, I want my fuckin’ money Shawny.”
“I won’t have money, Paulie. How the fuck would I have money, if I haven’t been paid?” It’s daring talking to Paulie like this, but I have to get my point across somehow.
Paulie slowly reaches in his jacket pocket, and pulls out a lighter. Concerned that he might be reaching for his piece, I scooted away from him. Seeing me move brings a smile to his face. He grabs a cigar from a compartment on the door and fires it up before putting the lighter back into his pocket.
“Alright, Shawny. You’ve got two weeks. Two weeks till I get paid something, and it better be good.”
“Look, Paulie. FWF’s is pretty fuckin’ official. I’m sure the check is in the mail.” That’s a lie, I have no idea when I’m getting paid, but I’ve got to appease this prick somehow.
“That’s good to hear. Now, tell me about this kid Byrd? You going to win this match, or should I [wink] place a bet against you?”
He wants me to take a dive, but there’s no chance on this fuckin’ planet or any other that I’m going to do some shit like that.
“I can’t take a dive, Paulie. There’s no long term money in doing something like that. If you want your 200 thousand, it’s got to be a slow burn. I’ve got to win next week, to get that slow burn started.” Paulie hates waiting, but I think he can agree with me on this one, especially if it means not risking his bottom line by betting on a match.
“Fair enough. So, tell me about the kid?”
“Yeah, Byrd. Who the fuck else are we talkin’ about here?”
“Shit, Paulie. There ain’t much to tell. He’s a pretty lookin’ little halfwit, but that’s about all I know. He wrestled like a chump last night in some kind of battle royal match, and didn’t win shit. So, I’d say my chances against the little prick are pretty damn good.” I’m underselling my confidence. I still don’t want Paulie betting on the match, because in Paulie’s eyes; if he loses the bet, I’d owe him that money to.
“Good to hear, Shawny.”
The car comes to a stop, right back where we started. That’s a classic Paulie move. Drive you around just to grill you for some information.
“I’ve got to win this match, Paulie. This is what’s going to get my career in the FWF going. I need to be left alone for the next week, so that I can prepare without worrying that you’re goin’ to be coming around all the time. This is the way to your 200 big ones, and more money later on down the line. Let me pound this runt, and get it going.”
Paulie looks me up and down, with a smirk.
“Alright, Shawny. You got it. But if you lose to this little bastard, I’m goin’ to come find you, and I’ll be looking for an explanation.”
“No sweat, Paulie.”
“I’m fuckin’ serious Shawn! Don’t lose, and we won’t have a problem.”
Paulie’s driver opens the back door. It’s time for me to get going. Just as I’m halfway out the door, he reminds me.
“And I’ll be back in two weeks. Have my money, or don’t be in Philly.”
- Kentucky Tarzan