Another boring Florida afternoon at Izzy's bar until the girl in leather walked in...
“Please turn it up so loud that I can’t hear my life!” Billie Joe was still facing forward to the bar, a shot of Jameson in wait. The juke box was behind him. There was no one in particular he was screaming at, just a big fan of “Paint it Black” by The Rolling Stones. Billie Joe had come in for lunch and started with a Bloody Mary. It was now nearing sundown, and Billie Joe had graduated to whiskey. Two stools down sat Taj, another regular whose sole purpose was to harass Izzy over his lack of microbrews and bitch about his ex. Stay away from any girl that likes Morrissey! She will turn out insane. These were the outbursts the bar had come to expect from Taj; that, and bitching about not having Six Point on tap. At the end of the bar sat Killigan, an older Irish gentleman, who fancied himself a literary follower despite no one seeing him crack open a book in years. When Izzy first reopened the bar, it was Killigan who attempted to exchange short stories for his tab. Izzy took a couple, (not looking to piss off a regular), but quickly stopped this practice when he realized Killigan was plagiarizing Ulysses.
The bar itself is narrow, wrapping around like a horseshoe, surrounding Izzy. He was reading the local paper, nothing exciting. Nothing exciting ever happened outside Miami; this is why inland Florida was considered safe. Less trouble, less reason to get involved. Izzy grabs a Marlboro Ultra Light cigarette and lights it. He steps back and looks at his flannel shirt. There was a time he would only wear leather. Sometimes it seems like it was yesterday, other times a lifetime ago.
With the juke box silent, Billie Joe begins in on the weather and then the smell. Taj chimes in, “That’s the problem with Florida, always has been. That hooker-serial-killer smell never goes stale.” Killigan jumps off his stool and begins stomping after a cockroach. Izzy leans over the bar to see what’s causing all of the commotion, “Leave him alone Kill, he didn’t do anything to deserve it.” Izzy leans back and takes a deep breath. It has been on his mind for weeks. Had he lost his edge? He was once the man people came to when they needed help. It was seven years ago since he got out and bought the bar. Now, they come to drink and talk nonsense. Izzy takes a drag, on queue, Billie Joe speaks up, “A bear approaches you in the woods, do you choose a bat or spear?” Taj shrugs his shoulders and Killigan says, “Bat, right?” Billie Joe nods and they look at Izzy who just stares through them and takes another drag off his cigarette. Something was different today and not just the hooker-serial-killer smell in the air; maybe he was having a seven year itch – wanting to return to his previous life. No, something was going to happen.
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David S. Grant is an author of several books, rock columnist, travel writer, and NBA blogger. Follow David on Twitter: .david_s_grant