“I need a drink, now boy!! “ The mouth that splutters this is an inch away from my face and smells like a hard liquor brewery.
To call the man attached to this mouth ‘scruffily dressed’ would be an over-kind compliment. He wears a suit jacket and a rumpled, blue-striped cotton shirt that is three sizes away from him. What is visible of his khakis have obviously seen better days, a sliver of cream peeking from beneath a cracked leather belt is the only bit of the original color that remains. A week’s worth of grey speckled beard covers sagging jowls below bloodshot eyes.
“I want the schtronges’ thing you haf” He slurs. Vocal agility is gone with the wind, or should I say, gone with the alcohol.
For maybe the thousandth time this week, I curse the stars that made me think of tending the bar at my maternal aunt’s drinking spot. I need the money, and I wouldn’t have gotten it lying around over the long vacation. I doubt I need it enough for this kind of recurring event though. I’m glad I have the bar instead of the floor today. The tired and pitted stone-pattern Formica top of the bar separates me from crazies like this tonight.
He pats his coat and trousers before digging into his back pocket to pull out a crumpled fifty cedi note. “Abrantie, make it fast!” he snaps, or at least appears to, “death is chasing me!”
I shrug and turn to get him something from the top-shelf. Something expensive. I don’t mean to let him leave the bar with even a pesewa of change. If you think I’m being ruthless, well, go burn the sea! The ground is as hard as rocks these days.
He mumbles to himself as I bend the ice cube tray backwards to get it to give away a few of the crystalline cubes trapped in it, (the full 5-star treatment you understand?) and fill the short gin glass to the brim. My ear catches a few of the words he speaks.
“…everyone in that tro-tro..” , “chasing me into the plane….” , “…the lift…”.
Bloodshot eyes barely glance at me before he grabs the glass and downs it’s contents in one go. He considers me carefully before mumbling, barely audibly “You want to shtay alive, don shtay behine the bar tonight boy”.
He totters away from the bar towards the door, good to go, as I turn to put his glass away. Then I remember that despite my best efforts, I owe him change off his fifty.
Two loud young working men, in what are obviously very expensive suits, sit down at the bar as the last flash of worn khaki disappears out of the doorframe. The odor of expensive cologne, still strong at the end of the day, and a pair of glares are the only things I notice as I grab three worn red notes; mumble a hasty apology and rush to the door.
The odd man is nowhere to be seen.
SPING! THWOCK! BRASHH!!
The sound of shattered glass bottles draws my eyes back to the bar, where a macabre scene is now painted. The three blades of the vintage fan that had been spinning cheerily a second ago have somehow come undone. All three have found their way to the bar.
One fan blade now juts out the chest of expensive suit number one. The second blade has bitten into of the formerly well-perfumed neck of expensive suit number two. The blood of both men spills off the counter like some sort of red syrup.
The third blade is still oscillating slightly from its new position amongst a mess of smashed liquor bottles. Embedded in the wooden wall behind the bar where my head should have been.
The third blade is still oscillating slightly in its new position amongst a mess of smashed liquor bottles. Embedded in the