The Sundowners #1

Billy sat on the foot perch in front of Den Sidste Drink Bar. The name of the bar meant “The Last Drink” in “some Scandinavian language”, but the locals colloquially called it “The Den”. As a fan of language and the confusion it can bring to people, Billy found it humorous that they were basically calling the bar “The The” in Dutch.

He had been keeping that step warm with his ass all day plus a good three or four hours into the evening. He was waiting for someone. He knew he was waiting for a person, he just didn’t know which one. He was told he would know. It’s hard to pick a person when you don’t know which one. What do you pick by, funny hats, or is one looking for a man wearing a “nose and glasses”? For Billy, Billy liked to look for fear. Fear would make people do the most interesting and exciting things and when someone asked Billy to meet someone, it was normally because that second someone had the fear that Billy was looking for.

The street wasn’t crowded, and Billy assumed that it never was here in Kingsport, but there was a smattering of people coming and going, mostly to the bar. In a sleepy town like Kingsport the church, the grocery store, and the bar tended to be the only places of any decent traffic.

A woman walked by in front of him. She was dressed up and looking like she was going to meet a date. Her pants were tight and low and her breasts were bound up and high creating just enough cleavage to entice, but not so much as to invite. Her gait was quick and meaningful. Most would see her as confident and on a mission, but Billy knew better. She was scared. He could see it in her. Slight trips, a red glow, and eyes that stared directly forward so as not to bring unwanted communication in the evening’s dark, and behind her a possible reason for her fear.

A blue-collar Kingsport hick walked behind her. He looked disheveled, probably after a hard day’s work of twisting pipes or swinging a nail gun. His head was down and his hands were in his pockets, but his eyes, his eyes were peeking up looking at the woman’s backside as she walked. Many would have viewed him as meek or weak, but Billy knew better. This man was a predator. He didn’t think of himself as one, which maybe makes them all the more unpredictable. Billy could see no glow from him, but he could see what the man was hoping, and what he hoped was the exact same thing that the woman feared. Billy didn’t like predators. They were boring and always the first to give up, or cut and run in a way that tended to lead to a quick demise.

Next, a woman and man came strolling up, arm in arm, her head leaning on his wide shoulders in affection. While the woman didn’t think that she was a predator, she also had little fear in her. She felt good. She felt her man would protect her and that life was going to work out for the best. All she could see was happily ever after. The funny thing is that she should’ve had more fear. She should’ve had fear because her fellow was radiating it. Turned out turbo here had been banging his highschool sweetheart he hooked up with online for the past four months. You would think he didn’t want her to know because it would ruin their upcoming wedding, but men are funny like that. Men never think of the long-term situation, or the effect their actions will take on another. This guy didn’t fear for the lives he might destroy. He feared for one thing and one thing only, that he would get caught.

All these faces and all this fear and yet nothing of note to Billy. All people have some and most people have a lot. Billy looked down the dark small-town street, seeing sporadic individuals and groups walking through the night air, each with their own glow.

Billy thought to himself, “Who was I sent here to meet? Look at this street, scores of people, each with their own fear, except…” The thought carried off. At the end of the street, a red glow was coming around the corner.

At first, Billy could only see slight red-tinged shadows on the wall of the corner-forming buildings, but the glow quickly grew brighter. Brighter until around the corner came a simple man. A simple man dressed in khakis and a collared shirt. A simple man with a look of confusion and terror on his face. A simple man with a glow like a signal flare coming from atop his stupid haircut.

Even from a distance, Billy could see the frightened man stumbling back and forth, looking for an ear, an ear that would listen to his fear, a person that might help him. The man approached a couple down the way but the exchange was short. Billy couldn’t hear, but he knew what it was, this man desperately trying to tell his story and the pair only hearing crazy and moving away quickly.

After a few more attempts at getting some locals to care the man stumbled up to the stoop of the bar where Billy sat. Billy got up to greet him.

“Hey, there mister? You look like you’ve had quite a fright,” Billy said to the man.

In a whispered, panicked voice the man responded in a jumble, “I heard them talking, the priests, I heard them say there was something in the mine, I… I… went and looked for myself.” The man’s eyes were wild with terror as he grabbed Billy by the jacket collar, “I didn’t believe it, but they were priests, so I had to believe it, so I had to see for myself and it’s true,” his voice got even quieter as he peered directly into Billy’s eyes, “There are monsters in the caves.”

Billy reached up and effortlessly removed the man’s iron taloned grip from his collar and said with feigned shock and concern, “My God. Let me help you. Let me buy you a beer and you can tell me all about it.”

“Yes, yes, I..” The man stumbled through his words.

“Calm down, guy. It’s gonna be fine. Just collect yourself and let’s get a beer in us. Can you do that?” Billy Asked.

“Yes, I can.”

Billy put his arm over the man’s shoulder and started them into the bar, “My name’s Billy, man. What’s yours?”

The man looked up to his seeming-protector and said, “Joshua. My name is Joshua.”

oeas-part-31-v-2

The Music

Den Sidste Drink Bar

Den Sidste Drink Bar

Next on Of Eons and Stars: The Library #3

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