One more Jack, please!

Bell ranged when I pushed the door and entered already crowded bar. Music was appropriate for a rathole this place was. This wasn’t one of those nice taverns with neon lights flashing everywhere, scantily dressed sixteen year olds with ton of makeup and butch silky boys making them laugh. This was a proper ruin of a place with spiderweb and dust in places that never were used. I took off my raincoat and carried it to the stool where a bearded bartender stood looking at me like I brought a donkey in. His bald head shined on a dim glowing bulb above him, while his white beard sides below the lower lip made him look more hillbilly than he already was. Stench of a toilet came in soft, climbing to my nose.

– What will it be stranger? – bartender asked holding a rag in his hand, leaned on his hip like I was the last thing he needed.

– Whatever you’ll have, pour me the same. – I threw my hand away and he smiled, but only with one side of his face showing it.

– That’s a wrong answer, man. I can pour you the most priced drink I got in a bottle and earn myself a day’s pay. Common, what will you have? – he continued friendly and offered me the selection on the wall behind him, framed in a mirror.

– Give me Jack, JACK. – I pointed at the half empty bottle on the shelf and he went to reach it.

– How did you knew my name? – he asked taking the bottle he opened and snatched a glass for below the counter.

– It’s just an expression. – I nodded aside and took a glass I lurched empty and tapped on the pult when he smilingly poured me another.

– Yeah, maybe. You do look familiar though. Did we met? – he shifted his eyebrows down.

– No. We have never met before. Maybe you know my brother. People say we look alike.

– Really? Who is your brother, I might have heard of him? – he asked carefully following me swinging the glass, hard swallowing the burning liquid.

– You heard of him alright. You both served together. Does the name James Glen ring any bells? – I looked at him dead in the eyes and saw how his face turned pale, frightened and the move of his jaw that spelled “Oh my God, not you”.

– Sorry. I have to go now. – he said and turned but I smacked the pult and made people jump in their seats.

– You ain’t goin’ anywhere asshole! – I screamed and chairs screeched on the floor as some elderly men decided to leave.

Bell announced their fleeing the scene, but few people stayed to finish their drink. Jack stood frozen behind the bar when I came at the table with the persistent customers and showed them the way out. One of them gave me a smirk and a curse, but it changed his mind when I broke a bottle against his head and dragged him out. Key locked the door and that was it. Music was the only thing meddling with my tired steps at the bar where Jack’s dreaded eyes mapped my moves.

Shiny barrel of my Glock glistened in the Jack’s mirror and stopped pointing at the bald bartender’s head. I drank the rest of my glass and lurched it on the floor. That was my third shot and it was all I needed to get my grit going.

– I-I. – Jack started mumbling when I interrupted him.

– Shut up, cunt!… Camp Mithria, Sent Sebastian, tuesday 25th, James was on a guard duty, patrolling the base when you and your drunken friends came from the town. You had no permission to leave the base, but you did, and when he went to report it, you and your BITCHES ATTACKED HIM LIKE PUSSIES YOU ARE! My brother hanged himself for what you did to him, and I imagine it wasn’t pleasant, not for him. Autopsy showed he was violated. Did you all jumped him at once, or did everybody had their turn? HUH?! Which one of you shits entered him first?! Which one?! – I waved my gun in his petrified face and screamed so much that my voice almost broke, but he just kept his mouth shut, – Did you hated him, because he was gay? Is that it? You can’t stand gay, lesbians, asians, blacks? Is that it? Did he hit on you, and you got angried? What was it, JACK?! – I wanted a word out of him so I could silence him forever, but instead of words, tears ran his face and sobbs.

– I loved him. – he spoke grieving for my little brother, – Others hated him, but I loved him. He was the only guy I ever loved so deeply. – tears raced each other while he sniffled and groaned, – He wanted me to meet your parents, and he wanted to move here. We were in love. – red color consumed his face and obstructed panting suppressed the music, – I just wish I was able to help him and not be so weak to let them just beat the shit out of me. They found out about us, that’s why he was raped. I was there, but three guys beaten on me. I saw you when you came to collect his body, but you didn’t saw me laying in a hospital bed, healing from two broken ribs, bruises and busted head. I couldn’t tell you what happened you left too soon, and the officers gave you report the attackers have made to protected themselves so nobody could find the truth. I was ashamed to approach you when I got released from duty. Even I tried to hand myself few times, but I didn’t wanted to rob you of that pleasure, so if you want to shoot, shoot now. – he yelled the last word craving for death, but that’s the moment my hand lurched on my side.

I sat back to the stool and gasped.

– One more Jack, please. – I said and the bottle popped open.

 Lurch

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