002: Bloody Mary, Cryptic Message
I should have ordered a drink, I mutter as I recall that every ‘mysterious stranger in a bar’ scene in any movie ever always had the unknown figure hovering over a mug of something while they glare at the hero and sip. Then I remember the cost of a beverage and shrug. Could have gotten a water, at least.
The bartender has finished mixing the drinks and begins to head toward Brady and his friends. I begin to panic as I haven’t yet found the right position. I tried leaning on one elbow on the bar, but I’m not exactly tall enough to make that look cool, so I have to climb onto my knees to get the height, but now I’m bent over the bar with my ass sticking out; not intimidating.
I try to get down off the stool too quickly and my boot kicks one of the legs, launching the whole stool out from under me and putting me at the full mercy of gravity. I yelp loudly as I drop and hit the ground with a solid thump. I’m back on my feet before the disappointed daddy figure in the seat beside me has a chance to offer me a hand and quickly lean against the bar with one arm, acting like nothing just happened.
Everyone is staring at me… and I mean everyone. The man beside me shakes his head again and returns to his beer. The priest and his friends look like they’re contemplating running to my aid. Brady, Cordelia, and Jock number 2 can’t seem to decide if they want to laugh at me or be concerned for my well being.
“They know who you are,” the bartender says, loudly breaking the awkward silence as she sets the glasses down in front of Brady. She turns, gives me a big thumbs up with an even bigger grin, then slides off down the bar to the next person waving cash.
My breath lets out in a heavy sigh and I actually palm my face as she delivers the line. Not only did she say it wrong, but that could not have been a worse moment for it. I notice Brady staring at me through my fingers and quickly moving my hand away from my face – and into the air beside me. Unsure of how to proceed from there, I turn my awkward hand gesture into a wave, then drop my hand behind the bar so it can not embarrass me any further.
Brady just frowns at me before looking at the glasses set before him. His brow creases and he looks back at me with a confused shrug. I respond with a frown of my own, nod toward the drinks, pause, then stare him straight in the eyes and give him a serious, slow, knowing nod.
Come on. Bloody Mary, cryptic message, it’s so obvious! My mind is screaming at him. Hopefully, I develop psychic powers in the next second or so and blast him with some basic logic.
When his gaze comes back to me I tilt my head in the direction of the back door and his eyes follow. When he looks back to me I nod again, tilting my head back to suggest he follows, then I turn and walk toward the back exit.
As soon as I pass through the door I rush to the other side of the alleyway before they have time to follow me out. I quickly put myself with my back to the wall, one heavy boot braced on the wall behind me, with an unlit cigarette hanging from my lips. I wait for them to arrive before I light it.
Oh! I’m fortunate they’re taking their time because I forgot the lighter. I fish it from my pocket and thumb the cap so it’s ready to flip and light just as they arrive.
I hear motion by the door and flip the lid, igniting the lighter. I start to move it toward the cigarette but stop when I notice it’s not them; just the wind swinging the door open. I lower my hand and wait.
When they don’t show up after a full minute… I wait some more.
I’m beginning to feel foolish.
Several minutes pass before I set my foot down and watch as the breeze picks up and slowly closes the door. The latch catches with a definitive and deafening click that makes the alleyway feel unusually empty and lonely.
I stare at the door for a while before taking the cigarette out of my mouth and slipping it back into the pack. I cross the alleyway, grab the handle of the door and give it a good tug.
It doesn’t budge.
I pull harder, then put my boot against the wall and pull with all my strength.
It doesn’t budge.
Great, my head bumps the door as I slump forward against it and just wallow in disbelief and mentally berate myself. Just locked yourself out.