My blog fiction continues...
by John L. Harmon
Samuel sits in a bar predominately illuminated by neon signs, with corners as dark as his mop of hair. Leaving his lab-coat with his coworker, he is attired in a dark blue, long sleeved, buttoned shirt (three buttons unfastened), faded black denim jeans, and blacker than black shoes. Some would feel uncomfortable sticking out like a sore thumb in a hand full of plaid and rock concert t-shirts., but Samuel left such awkward feelings behind in his teenage years. He easily relaxes on a stool, sipping a Gibson, enjoying the stadium rock of the jukebox, and conversing with the bartender.
“So this is the pinnacle of Sturgeons nightlife?”
“Yup,” Gordon, the bartender of many years, answers, giving a sly glance to the crowd whooping it up among the tables and chairs. “For the 21-and-over crowd anyways.”
Gordon leaves this extremely new customer to fill the orders of a few demanding regulars. He has never seen a crowd like this on a Sunday night, but he knows it is a reaction to the strange tales circulating around town. There is nothing like bizarre tragedies to put folk in a partying mood, to celebrate life and forget death.
Samuel, sitting on the stool and taking in the rambunctious atmosphere, is contemplating similar thoughts. Even if he could share what he knows, or suspects, the information would not have a mellowing effect on the crowd. In fact, it would have quite the opposite result.
Suddenly, the creak of the door interrupts all thought processes. There in the doorway, silhouetted by a streetlamp and faintly illuminated by red neon, stands Sheriff Benjamin Straker, his beige hat on. He remains motionless for an eternity of a moment, inadvertently silencing the music, the crowd, the world. Well, at least one person’s world.
Samuel’s crisp blue eyes zero in on that red neon-tinted beige and work their way down from there. His becoming smile grows with the realization this uniformed man is the one he has twice caught sight of, albeit briefly. Now there are no vehicles passing like ships in the night, there is just a solid stationary space.
Releasing the room from the motionless moment, Ben lets the door creak shut as he maneuvers to the bar, placing his beige hat upon it. He holds a finger up to Gordon, indicating his usual, and for a split second his light brown eyes roam, landing upon Samuel sitting several stools away. Then this sweet potential is shredded, as if fate has other plans.
The human equivalent of a freak storm cloud rises behind Sheriff Straker, glaring, fearful eyes are the lightning, and demanding voices the thunder. Questions and accusations rain down on him as he turns around to bravely weather the onslaught.
“Where are Bob and the Schroder boy?” “How is it the Newcastle girl and Ol’ Ned are all right?” “Why did Lawrence leave?” “He had to have a reason!” “Tell us what happened?” “You know something, Straker!” “Tell us!” The crowd continues, shouting various names of townsfolk who could be responsible, along with accusing the government, Bigfoot and aliens.
Samuel sits there silently, mesmerized by the mob mentality. He has never witnessed such a fascinating and disturbing display. After a moment he nudges up his glasses and rises to his feet to put an end to this growing insanity.
In the same instant, Gordon bangs a croquet mallet against the bar and bellows like a foghorn, “Sheriff Straker is doing all he can! Let him have a drink in peace, as any man deserves!”
This does the trick. The storm of people subsides, falling back to the tables and resuming the music. Sheriff Benjamin Straker, none the worse for wear, faces Gordon with a ‘thank you’. He had been waiting for such an angry scene.
Samuel, remaining on his feet, decides there is no time like the present. He saunters over, taking a breath in preparation to introduce himself to the rather striking Sheriff, when his cell phone beeps loudly, indicating a vital text message from Christine.
“Damn it,” he whispers, checking the screen. Detection! The one-half of a scientific duo quickly departs the bar, leaving his heart behind.
“Who was that, Gordon?” Ben inquires, in a not-completely-professional tone, between sips of his unadulterated soda.
Gordon, the bartender of many years, puts away his croquet mallet and shares with the Sheriff what information he gleaned from his extremely new customer, “Says his name is Samuel Dwyer and that he is just passing through.”
Click CHAPTER NINE to continue.
Until next time, Readers, be well and Freak Out,
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