Ginger ale is, in my opinion, one of the finest drinks ever envisaged by man. A man seated to my left held a murky glass in the air and watched the amber bubbles drift slowly to the top. That said, a shot of bourbon doesn’t hurt. He paused for the briefest of moments before saying What brings you to this hellhole, mister? You don’t look the type.
Just passin’ through I reply, staring down at my beer.
Just passin’ through, huh? he parrots back at me. Not the first time I heard that one. But then again, not much else to do here but pass through. Nearest town being so far away and all. If it weren’t for the gas station across the street, I’m not sure this bar would get any business at all.
I don’t reply, instead choosing to nurse my beer.
Anything else for you? a waitress asks the stranger to my left.
No thank you, doll, he replied, I think I’m just going to finish this one off and then hit the road. She fake smiled nervously before turning to me. How about you? You want another?
Sure, why not? I sigh.
You know, the stranger began, I like your style. Not much of a talker, are ya?
Not much of one, no sir.
Fair enough. He watched the waitress place another bottle in front of me. I’ve often wondered why I talk so much. Maybe I just need to hear my voice more than most. Perhaps I want to feel important. Who knows? Never done much of anything too interesting, so maybe I think that if I talk enough people’ll give a damn when I’m gone.
Makes sense to me, I respond, but did you ever think of maybe just doing something interesting instead? The words tumble out like river rocks on the wooden bar.
Too old for all that. Besides, what could I possibly do?
I sigh and grab a napkin from the bar and begin to doodle absentmindedly. You know I asked myself that very same question one time? What could I possibly do? I suppose every man asks that question at some point in their life. I suppose I’d pity the men that don’t.
The stranger put his empty glass down. Well, I’d better be getting on my way. Abilene won’t be coming to me.
If I’m right, I’d suggest you sit tight for a few more minutes.
No sooner had the stranger said and why is that? when the multiple sirens of police cars began to wail in the near distance.
I crumpled up the napkin and tossed it in his direction. On that napkin is a map to some cash I buried in the mountains north of here. Shouldn’t be too hard to figure out. I’m only telling you this because I might die in the near future, and the thought of that money turning to dust makes me sicker than I care to admit. That said, I suggest you get there first, because if I survive, it’ll be long gone by morning.
I stand up and walk calmly toward the door. The sirens stop and I hear tires sliding in the gravel outside as I remove an old pistol from beneath my shirt. I kiss the barrel and close my eyes. The stranger says something but his words are lost in gunfire as I kick open the door.