Chapter 44- Bar

"Another day in the hole.
I sit and think, for hours, about nothing. I sift through old melodies that are too painful to sing and too beautiful to ignore. I say nothing important. I learn nothing I don’t already know. I drink liquor I don’t need and laugh at jokes that aren’t funny. Life goes on in spite of the pointlessness of living. There isn’t anything else to do."

Robert King/Journal

    My comforting friend the light over the plush black leather booth snickered in the half empty glass.
In the shadows, just inside the doorway, the body guard waited.
    She pushed past her.
    The body-guard reached for her.
    “Get your goddamned hands off’a me peckerwood ‘for I wipe your fuckin’ ass in the dirt.”
    Red faced she stalked the room. The stunned body-guard remained in the door way.
    “Well, if it ain’t Mr. Pitiful, sittin’ here suckin’ up all this sufferin’. God damn it King, I been lookin’ for you every where, darlin’!”
Too distracted to push back a loose strand of sand blond hair, she slid in next to me, as she shook her head in disbelief,
    “Oh hi, Charlotte.” I swirled the ice.
    “Don’t you ‘hi Charlotte’ me, King. God damn darlin’, you don’t call me back. Nobody knows nothin’. Dominique’s got you sealed away in a box. Nobody can get through, what in hell’s goin’ on with you?”
    “What about Carolyn?”
    She motioned abruptly to the obsequious waiter who watched from the shadows. “I want a triple Wild Turkey in a tall thick glass with no frills on it, full of crushed ice. I don’t want cube's darlin’ so make sure ta get it right.” She dismissed him with a distracted wave of her fingers.
“Now,” she said as she placed her hands, finger tips together, on the table top, “what's this about Carolyn.”
    “Carolyn’s dead.”
    “Oh King, what’re you talkin about?” One sinewy golden arm grasped my sleeve.
    I shook my head.
    She shook me. “Answer me god damn it!”
“Carolyn’s dead Charlotte. Which part didn’t you understand? Why don’t you just leave me alone.”
I motioned toward the door. The body-guard stiffened and started toward us.
    Charlotte whirled- snake deadly blur of desert sand and parched, blazing sun. A flat, black gun pinned a laser bead to his heart.
    The body-guard looked down.
    “Is this a good day to die girl?”
    The bodyguard stared at her, her hands flattened against her side. Her eyes glittered.
    “Never mind.” I waved dispassionately. “Go away.”
    I turned to her. “Lighten up, Charlotte. This isn’t Texas.”
    The body-guard backed from the room.
    “Now what the hell’s this all about, King? What do you mean, Carolyn’s dead. She ain’t dead. I just saw her a couple days ago.
    “She’s dead, Charlotte! She’s DEAD! God damned dead! SHE’S DEAD!”
With desperate effort I gripped the table.
    “O.K. O.K. I believe you. Shoot...” For a moment she was wordless. “...Dead.” She tossed the gun on the table top. It spun on a pivot and came to rest, barrel toward me.
    She nodded at the gun. “Spare me if ah don’t kiss y’all right now. How’d it happen?”
    “Suicide. She hung herself from the cross beam over her bed.”
    “God damn. I never thought she was a drama queen.”
    “Yah.” I drained my glass and held up the empty. The waiter leapt up.
    Distracted, she surveyed the room. “Why’s this place empty? This time ‘a day should be more business. A crowd’d keep ‘ya occupied. What the hell you doin’ in San Francisco anyway?”
    “Dominique had it closed so I could be alone. This is where we met. Not here, exactly. In the penthouse but I can’t go in there. I’m afraid to.”
   “You takin’ this kinda hard ain’t ya? I mean she was just help.”
I shook my head in dismay. How could anyone not know?
“We were lovers, Charlotte. I loved Carolyn more than my own life. We were going to get married.”
    “God damn. I sure put my big ol’ hoof in ma mouth didn’t ah?”
    The waiter exchanged our drinks. Charlotte turned a saccharine smile on him.
    “Well thank you darlin’! Did you go out’a yaw way ta’ piss in mah drink oh is this the way ya’ treat everybody ‘round heah.”
    The corner of his mouth twitched.
    “What are you bitching about, Charlotte?”
    “Service shaw has gotten slow.” She watched the waiter leave. “But he’s got a cute butt.” She slapped the tabletop. “Now! God Damn King! Get yaw head out’a yoah ass an’ stan’ up like a man.”
    “Oh shut the fuck up Charlotte. You’re giving me a headache.” I picked up my glass and took a long, slow, swallow.
    “It’s those god damn drinks givin’ you pain, that n’ yer poah me whinin’. Yoah actin’ like a pissed on dog King! Get up on yoah hin’ legs’n walk!” She kicked my leg, picked up her glass and drained it in one quick shot. She slammed the glass on the tabletop.
    “Go on. Get the fuckin’ hell outa’ this trap n’ out in the street where yoah ass belongs. Go get laid. Hell! Fuck the whole damn town! Ferget it King, what’s gone’s gone. Ain’t no bringin’ back.” She gripped my shoulder and squeezed it.
    “Look at you, stumblin’ an’ bumblin’ like an ol’ man. Nex’ thing ah know you’ll be droolin’ on my shoes.”
    Stop it Charlotte! Everybody dies that gets too close to me! I’m always alone...
I pushed to my feet and lurched away.
    “King! Come back heah. Hay! You! Grab his other arm!”
    The waiter hesitated.
    “Let go of me! LET GO OF ME! Everybody dies. Why not me? Why can’t it be ME?”
    “Grab his god damn arm I said! We’re goin’ ta the penthouse. I don’t know if he has his keys. Get somebody there ta’ open the god damn doah!”
    I stiffened and set my feet. “No! No Charlotte! NO! I can’t go there. I can’t go there. Please! I can’t go there.”
    “All right. All right. Ah want another suite. Somethin’ big an’ not all fussed up. Come on! Get yer ass movin’!” She shoved the bewildered waiter out into the hallway in front of us. As she kept a firm grip on my left arm she shooed him on his way.
    “God damn King! Yoah a heavy son of a bitch for such a little guy.”
    “Whatdaya mean a little guy? I’ve got a big heart, worlds biggest flower garden with just a little rain...but there’s never any rain...never any rain...not any more...not without Carolyn...world’s biggest flower garden but there’s never any rain...” My head slumped forward. Tears fell on the carpet.
    “Oh get a grip darlin’. Listen ah got somebody ah want you to meet. If anybody kin help y'all he can.”