I slammed my whiskey glass down on the old wooden bar and watched a small drop of the brown liquid roll off my hand. The smell of stale beer, cigarette smoke, and floor cleaner burned my nose.
The bar was empty, except for the twenty-something brunette behind the counter, stocking the shelves, and two old men, maybe in their seventies, sipping ale in the corner. The sunlight cutting through the room like sharp shards of glass. I wiped the trail of wet whiskey off my hand and called for the busty girl to pour me another.
She shook her head as she came over, “I think it’s time you go home. It’s not even midday, and you're drunk already. Let me call you a cab,” she said.
I glared up at her through my hazy vision, “One more, I promise,” I said with a crooked half smile.
She sighed but filled my glass. The TV in the left corner flickered with useless commercials, one pointless thing to buy after another. I stared at it, my mind foggy and swimming in an ocean of whiskey, depression, and anger. The ads finally came to an end, and the mid-day news came on. Brunette Barbie turned the volume up and leaned against the counter to watch.
I drowned out the noise, and while her focus was glued to the screen, I gingerly reached over the counter, and grabbed the almost empty bottle, filling my glass, and placing it back. I slipped a twenty next to the bottle for her. I glanced up at the screen, willing my eyes to focus, and as they began to find their way, a pencil drawn face filled the screen like a taunting, mocking display of my biggest failure.
“…And finally, today marks five years since the Dinner Time Killer went on a brutal four-week rampage around Portland, leaving fifteen people dead, including the wife of decorated Police Detective Paul Mason-”
I threw my glass at the sketch of the fucker who ruined my life, shattering it into tiny pieces, and knocking the TV off its stand. It crashed to the floor at the feet of a pissed off and very surprised bar lady.
“What the hell! You need to pay for that!” She shouted at me. I slid my drunk ass off the bar stool, reached into my pocket, and pulled out all the cash I had. I slammed it down on the bar, gave her a weak smile and staggered towards the door.
I exited into the harsh light of the mid-June summers day, shutting my eyes against the sudden glare. I stumbled to find my footing, slipping off the single step in front of the door and caught the dirty bar window with my left hand.
The noise of the traffic pounded in my head like a steaming train, and the heat and stench of the city made me feel sick. Yet every time I closed my eyes, all I could see was his face. The dark brown eyes, black hair combed to the side and laced with product, and the thin, sculpted mustache on his top lip where his tongue flicked out to every few words.
A crooked scar on his neck, partially hidden by the collar of his designer shirt and tie. For a sociopath, he sure did dress well. Too well for someone who spent hours ruining his expensive clothes with blood.
I stumbled my way down the busy street, bumping into strangers and tripping over my own feet. I stopped outside a drug store, leaned my back against the wall, and slid down.
I should have been stronger.
I should have saved her.
Saved them all.
I pulled my knees up to my chest, wrapped my arms around them, and put my head down. The world spun, as my stomach got ready to make a mess all over the sidewalk. “Hey buddy, get out of here! You can’t hang around here!” A short, round guy, in a white doctor’s robe, and a bright green hat towered over me.
I looked up at him with one eye, squinting at the sun, trying to focus on one of the three versions of him in front of me. I dropped one of my arms to my back pocket, leaned to the side to reach for my wallet, and fell over into the dirt. “Hey, come on man, go find somewhere else to sleep,” the guy said, helping me back to my sitting, swaying place on the floor.I fumbled with my wallet, dropping it twice and eventually got it open. I raised it up to him, my arm swinging from side to side, “Detective Mason, Portland PD. Can you call me a cab?”