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Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Bar

The man sat that way, his head in his hands, eyes closed, for 20 minutes. He desparately tried to remember something about himself. His name, any family, friends, a job - anything that would ground him. But nothing came, he remained anonymous to himself, left floating nauseatingly in a world he recognised but no longer felt part of.

It suddenly occurred to him that he didn't even know what he looked like. Raising his head, he looked around. The windows of the bar were mirrored. Shakily, the man stood and walked slowly over to the building. He peered at himself.

Dark brown hair, worn fairly long, parted at the side. A day or two of growth on his cheeks. Green eyes. A thin nose. A silver earing in his left ear. None of it meant anything to him. He turned his head, trying to determine the extent of the damage there. The motion itself caused a dull ache to pulse through his skull. He winced and turned away from the window. He had to do something.

"Ok, think. You woke up in an alley, across the street from a bar. Makes sense you've had too much to drink and maybe had an accident, got mugged or ended up in a fight."

It was the only lead he had. He banged on the front door, peering through the smoked glass it held. The lights were on and a woman moved between the tables with a mop. She looked up, mouthed "We're closed" and went back to her mopping. He banged the door again, harder this time. Looking annoyed, the woman dropped the mop and walked over, calling through the glass.

"I said we're closed."

"I don't want a drink, I just want to talk," he shouted back.

Reluctantly, the woman unlocked the door, pulling it open a couple of inches.

"Seriously, I just want to talk. I need your help," he said.

"Help with what?"

"Well...this will sound strange, but...was I in here last night, do you know?"

She opened the door wider, getting a better look at him. After a couple of seconds she said: "Maybe."

"Maybe I look familiar or maybe, now go away?" he said, smiling. She smiled back.

"Maybe, you look familiar. We were busy last night, but I have a feeling you were in."

"Would anyone else know?"

"Ricky might. He owns the bar. He'll be in at 10."

"May I come in and wait? I promise I won't get in your way."

She eyed him again, assessing what trouble he might be. Deeming him safe enough, she nodded.

"Ok. I have to finish cleaning up, but I can make you a coffee if you like. You look like you need it."

"That would be great," he replied. "Can I use the bathroom and get cleaned up a little?"

As if noticing for the first time the dirt on his hands and face and the state of his clothes she took a step back. Her surprise was short lived. "Yeah, go ahead, I'll have your coffee ready when you're done."

The man thanked her and headed for the restrooms. Turning on the faucet to get some hot water he took a better look at himself in the mirror. Apart from the dirt and the holes in his jeans, he didn't look too bad. The leather jacket was ruined. He had no choice but to keep it for now.

He washed, slicking back his hair with the water, cleaning up his face and hands and doing what he could with the jacket and jeans. He removed the traces of dried blood on his neck and was able to get a better look at the wound. Nothing major, but he'd definitely taken a blow at some point. Already the pain was subsiding.

He walked back out into the bar and saw the woman sitting on a stool at the counter. He walked over and she handed him a cup of hot coffee. He thanked her and took a sip. It was strong and he immediately felt better.

"Thanks, uh..."

"Summer, and I know, hippy parents," she smiled.

"Thanks, Summer."

"And you are?"

"I don't know," he said, looking at her.

"You don't know. Must have been some night?"

The man told her all he knew. It didn't take long.

She stared at him for a few moments. Wondering if he was telling the truth. She saw no lie in his eyes.

"You need a name, friend. What do you fancy?" Summer asked.

"I have no idea! What do I look like?"

She laughed, before studying him intently.

"I think...I think you look like a Michael."

The man thought about it. Michael. If, by some stroke of luck, that was his name it didn't click. But it was as good as any.

"Then I'll be Michael, Summer, pleased to meet you."

"You too, Michael. Or is it Mike?"

"No, Michael. I prefer Michael."

"Ok, Michael. Ricky should be in soon and I have to get finished up. Help yourself to the coffee, it's just behind the bar."

Michael watched her return to her cleaning. Reaching over the bar he grabbed the coffee pot and poured another cup. He'd need to eat soon. Settling back onto his stool, he sipped his coffee and watched Summer polish tables. He put a hand in the pocket of the leather jacket and felt a slip of paper. He took it out, turning it over.

Kelso's
8.30


Again, it meant nothing but he felt that if nothing could be learned from Ricky he had something else to work with. If he could find out who or what Kelso was. He put the paper back in his pocket and waited for the bar owner. Summer carried on cleaning.

Comments on "The Bar"

 

Blogger Ron said ... (10:19 AM) : 

Great start to what could become an interesting story. Already suspenseful.

 

Blogger dee said ... (10:36 AM) : 

This is darned good. For some reason, "Michael" seems like a cowboy to me! Go figure! dee

 

Blogger SL said ... (2:01 PM) : 

I can't promise it'll go any further. But I'll see what happens.

 

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