A Guy, A Girl, And A Voodoo Monkey Hand

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Chapter 4

The dockside pub was fast becoming my local. It wasn’t a bad place. Full of people trying to drown their sorrows in a beer as opposed to the sea, which was conveniently located just outside, in case the booze wasn’t helping the sorrow any. You could always find someone to tell your problem to in this pub and if you weren’t in a talkative mood, you could just sit back and listen to the piano player, Sam. Now there’s no guarantee that Sam is in fact this guy’s name, but it’s another one of those PI things. Over the last few days I had spent a lot of time in this pub. But today I was here on business. As I opened the door and that fresh smell of beer hit me, my old hangover decided to stop by again for a chat. Well, I wasn’t going to take it lying down. (The memory of what happened last time I lay down was still too fresh in my mind.) I marched right up to the bar for a bit of the hair of the dog that bit me.

“Give me the usual, barkeep.”

I turned away from the bar to look over the room, with the confidence that the drink I wanted would soon be placed on the bar behind me. I looked over at Sam and gave him a quick nod. I waited for Sam to return the nod but was distracted when I heard, “Uuummm, I don’t know who you are.”

I turned to see a large man with tattoos up both arms. A little baffled, I replied, “They call me Jones. I’m a local here.” Confidence was important in my business.

“A local, huh? Well, I own this place and I’ve never seen you here before.”

“You what? I thought Sam owned this place.”

The barman looked somewhat confused and more than a little annoyed, “Who?”

I half turned around and pointed. “The pianist?”

The man behind the bar suddenly took umbrage. “You’re one of his friends? I do apologise. What is it you wanted?”

I looked over at Sam and then back to the barman. “Just a beer, thanks.”

I said curiously, “Sam had never struck me as a man to fear but it is something to keep in mind.”

Before I could finish getting the words out of my mouth there was a beer standing in front of me. “Sorry for the inconvenience. This one’s on the house.”

This was fast becoming one of the strangest days of my life and my life has been pretty strange up until this point. I surveyed the people in that bar, but my eyes were caught by a sad looking fellow sitting at the far side. He looked more than a little drunk and had a rather large bruise on his jaw. I had a sneaking suspicion that I had put that bruise there. The man was kind of tall and was dressed mostly in denim. My PI senses were telling me to buy this man a beer even though my common sense told me that this man had more beer in him than the cellar under the pub. But I still signalled to the bartender to get me another beer, which was done with disconcerting haste. I grabbed the second drink and walked over to the far side of the bar, seated myself next to the man in question and placed the drink in front of him.

“You look like you’ve had a hard day.”

The man looked up at me. I suddenly hoped that I had hit him hard enough for him not to recognise me. He looked down at his drink. “You don’t know the half of it.”

Somehow I felt like I was going to be sitting here a while. I raised my hand. “Barkeep, two more over here.”

I didn’t even have to prompt him. He just started talking, and he talked, and talked, and it didn’t take me very long to work out why he was sitting alone. It didn’t take long before I started to hope someone would walk up and knock me out or him, actually, for that matter. But then I remembered the gorilla that was probably on his way back to my office, and I didn’t want to tempt fate. That man looked like he could knock my jaw off.

It was amazing. So many words were coming out of this guy’s mouth, but he was saying so little. I opted to find someone else to talk to before I had to hit him again.

“That sounds horrible, my friend. Listen, I’m just quickly going to go say hello to my old friend, Sam, at the piano.”

He gave me a look that said he’d heard that one four or five times that day. Damn my up-bringing. I just couldn’t let people think I was going to brush them off, even if I was.

“But listen, my name’s Jones. I’m in here a lot. I’ll buy you a beer again some time soon.”

I held out my hand. He turned to me with a look of slight renewed faith in mankind, took my hand and shook it. “My name’s James, James Woods.”

Thanks up-bringing.

“No shit. Tell me something before I go. You married, Mr. Woods?”

The man looked slightly puzzled, which wasn’t that hard to imagine. He had drunk half the bar. “No.”

My PI sense suddenly started screaming. (Which isn’t as much fun as you would think) I grabbed his hand as hard as I could. “You sure?”

The man sobered up a bit, (which didn’t make that much of a difference.) “What do you mean am I sure? I’d know if I was married or not,” and let go of my hand.

I looked around the pub again. No one was there. It was only James, Sam and myself. I pulled James to his feet and started dragging him towards the door. James pulled back, resisting. I turned quickly and punched him again in the same spot, knelt down, guided his fall over my shoulder and began to run for the door carrying him like a sack of potatoes. I looked over to the piano, “SAM…RUN… IT’S A TRAP...RUN!”

Sam got to his feet and ran for the door. As we burst through the door, I heard a loud, beeping noise and then the Dockside Pub began to explode behind us. The force of the blast knocked all three of us off our feet and into the sea which was conveniently located just outside.

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