Augus Batiste was a French-Irish redhead who owned The Underground. He was well known for his long bushy spirals, thick brows and sea green eyes. The reddish-brown facial hair encircling his mouth and chin was always neatly trimmed. Facial hair connected his sideburns with his bearded smile. Strong dimples were hidden along the smile lines of his face. Although Augus was a sexy catch, women didn’t seem to faze him. He was driven by success, and poured countless man hours into getting his new business off the ground. Each night he’d wear his black apron, serve customers, push a broom or resolve conflicts. Thomas’ music brought in a large crowd, so he let him do pretty much anything he wished, one hand washed the other. But, Thomas was a noncompliant sort and should have been kissing Augus’ feet for the opportunities given to his new band.
Augus pushed a damp dishcloth around my table, nudging crumpled napkins and debris into his tray, then he pocketed a meager tip. Although, well spoken, the deep pitch of his voice was usually slow and relaxed. His leisurely way of speaking made a person think he almost had a buzz or one too many. “You don’t have to leave right now, Tari. I could use the company.” His green eyes seemed almost transparent in the dim light. A crooked smile gleamed inside his well manicured beard.
“Thanks Augus, but I’d better be getting home. I’ve got to work in the morning.”
Augus nodded, “Yah, I understand that. You’ve gotta make a living, too.” One of the band members dropped his cymbals with a startling crash and we both turned in response. Augus called, “Easy guys. We’ll see you tomorrow night, right?”
“Yeah!” Thomas called, as he zipped his guitar bag. After leaning the bag against the wall, he noticed that Greg sat on a stool pecking out a new tune on the keyboard. Thomas shoved Greg off his seat, and snatched the plug from his keyboard. “Man, git off your raggedly butt and take this stuff down. I gotta go.”
After witnessing Thomas’ behavior, I turned toward Augus and cringed. “I guess that’s my cue.”
Augus shrugged and placed his tray on the table. “I’ve always hated eleven o’clock during weeknights. The bar seems so lonely when it’s empty.”
I stood up and stretched again. “You still have customers. There’s a black beauty sitting at that table in the rear. You didn’t forget about her did you?”
Augus turned his eyes toward the tables in the rear of the bar. “You mean Donya? Man, she came with the building. She’ll be here until hell freezes over.”
“She looks as if she’s waiting for someone. Why don’t you keep her company?”
Augus’ eyes narrowed. “No way,” he scoffed. “I mean,” he stroked his beard thoughtfully. “Donya is a branded woman. She’s already spoken for.”
“Really,” I declared placing my hand on my hip. “I guess he doesn’t care too much for her, she’s been alone all night. As a matter of fact, she’s alone every night.”
“Much like you, huh?” Augus said, pretending to dodge a blow.
“Ouchie!” I cried humorously. “I thought you were my friend.”
Augus glance over at Donya again. “I am,” he replied coldly.
“Oh, so you’re not into dark meat, huh?”
“How do you say it—Ouchie!” He held his heart and staggered backwards. “Now, you’ve wounded me. I simply must go to your hospital.”
I passed him a broad smile, with induced his smile in return. “I know you’re not like that.”
From the stage Thomas called, “Hey white boy, we’ll need to set up about nine tomorrow, okay!”
“Sure man, no problem,” he replied, projecting his voice toward the stage.
Thomas walked down stage and stopped. “Will you see Tari to her car? I’m a little busy and she needs to go home.”
“Yeah!” Augus grinned. “I’ll take care of your chocolate bunny.” He put down his dishcloth, grabbed me around the waist and kissed me on the lips. I giggled and pushed him away.
Thomas shook his head and chuckled. “Very funny, white bread. Like, I’m really scared you can take my woman. You wouldn’t know what to do with that much booty.”
Augus bent in laughter. “I think I could figure which end is up.”