David intended to enjoy a couple of cold beers, quiet time to think, and to learn a bit of information about the new area in which he now lived.
Nice bar, he thought. Clean. Warm woodsy ambiance and spacious. Being mid-day, the tables weren’t occupied. A half-dozen men and one woman claimed stools along the short side of the “L” shaped dark-oak and brass trimmed bar. David selected a stool near the center of the long side of the L…away from the other patrons.
“Hello, stranger! What’s your pleasure?” said the pretty woman behind the bar. Her smile was genuine, not the usual paste-on smile of people who make their living by serving the public day-after-day.
“A cold mug of whatever is your most popular draft beer,” David said.
Nice ass, David thought, when the woman turned her back to draw his beer from the tap. He wondered if she was attached to anyone. Probably, he guessed, and likely to a total asshole.
The woman placed a full frosted mug of beer on the bar. “I’m Doris. First beer’s on me. You?”
“David. Thank you.” The beer tasted good. He drank almost half of the refreshing brew before setting the mug back on the bar.
“Um, haven’t seen you in here before,” Doris said. “Just passing through?”
“Nope. Just moved here,” he said.
“Good!” Doris said, with a warm smile and a wink. She walked to the short end of the bar to serve the other men and woman. One had been thumping the bottom of his mug on the bar top to get Doris’ attention. They’ve probably been sitting there and drinking since the place opened, David thought. His gaze followed Doris as she walked toward the other people. Yes, definitely a good looking woman.
Harsh words erupted between Doris and one of the men. The man wore a sleeveless white T-shirt, a rolled bandana tied around his head, and his hair in a ponytail. He had a thin moustache. A tuft of hair grew under his lower lip which, in David’s opinion, looked like shit. That must be the one, David thought. Jesus….
Doris made a curt remark to the man, gathered her fists full of empty beer mugs then hurried to draw fresh beers for the group.
“Who the hell are you?” the man with the ponytail shouted at David. David ignored the question. Instead, he said to Doris, “Boyfriend?” Doris bowed her head slightly and shrugged.
“Got wax in your ears, boy?” Ponytail shouted. “I’m asking who the fuck you are?” David ignored him again.
Doris delivered the fresh beers to the group. She said, loud enough for David to hear, “Mind your own business, Bill! You’re drunk! Drink this beer and go home!”
“Yeah you’d like that wouldn’t you, bitch? I go home then you screw the new guy.” Doris pivoted on her heel. She moved away rapidly. David saw resentment, or hatred, in her eyes.
Yep, pure asshole, David thought. Why are such good looking women attracted to pricks like Bill? He’d asked himself that same question many, many times in the past. He hadn’t figured out the answer yet. Likely never would figure it out, he thought.
David had finished his beer. “Like another?” Doris said.
Setting another beer in front of David, Doris said, “I’d enjoy visiting with you, but…..”
“I understand,” David interrupted. “I’ll be back.” He thought the meaning of the smoke he saw in her eyes was clear.
“He drives a black Ram pickup with dog boxes in the bed,” she said softly. Her smile was tentative.
“Well, just in case you’d rather stop in when he’s not here,” she said.
David smiled. “Naw, I’d rather stop in when he’s here. For the entertainment value.”
“Doris! Get your ass down here!” Bill shouted. She flashed an apprehensive smile at David, hesitated briefly as if about to make a comment, but instead hurried to the small end of the bar. Bill called her a dumb Cunt and demanded she get him another beer. Returning to the beer-taps, she glanced at David with an apologetic expression, maybe shame, and poured another beer for Bill. Bill slithered from his stool and staggered toward David.
Bill leaned his forearm and elbow on the bar. His face positioned about a foot from David’s. “I don’t like you, asshole!” he said. The stink of his breath was repulsive. David thought dog shit smelled better. He ignored Bill again. He just stared into the amber liquid in his mug.
“I think you want to screw my woman so I’m gonna stomp your shit!” To emphasize his point, with his free hand Bill grasped David by the shoulder. A big mistake.
David didn’t ignore him this time. He had been holding his beer mug by its barrel with his fingers and hand pushed through the curved handle. Sudden as the strike of a snake, David swept his arm across and up from the bar. The thick and heavy beer mug connected high on Bill’s jawbone and on his temple…hard. The sound of the impact was ugly. A wide gash opened over Bill’s cheekbone. Blood splattered.
Bill dropped to the floor like a stone. The woman sitting with the men at the short end of the bar squealed like a pig and applauded. Doris blurted a short startled laugh.
“Doris?” David said quietly. “How about a refill? It seems I’ve spilled this one.”