Lawrence V

Big Joe- Short story

Posted in Uncategorized, Writings by Larry on June 1, 2008

May 2, 2007

Piss, it was piss that tickled down his leg. Jordan knew that feeling even though it had been years since he felt it. Goons looking for their payment came to the pub back then, just like now. Only now one man stood facing his father from across the bar. Jordan hadn’t remembered ever seeing a man that big and mean looking. He stood easily a good few inches taller than anyone he’d ever seen, and if that wasn’t intimidating enough the scar drawn across his right face sealed the deal.

The man chewed on a cigar as thick as a gun barrel and surveyed the pub. Jordan swallowed hard and leaned back on the dusty counter next to him. The fact that his father faced one man now, as compared to three men those many years ago didn’t make this any better. In fact, Jordan felt undeniably worse looking into this one mans eyes.

The bar-keep stepped forward not at all wanting too and held a shaking bottle of Nuts and Bolts ale into the air. “Hey man… forget this and have a drink.”

The pub stood silent. The three men playing hard knuckle in the corner picked up on the situation almost before it happened and suspended their game in fear of not taking the man seriously would only make it worse. The only other people in Stokely’s were an under-aged bus boy and a merchant who was still taking out his pipe stand to set up shop.

The giant man made no move, but no longer surveyed the pub like before. His eyes rested solely on Jordan’s father as if he was the only one in the pub.

“Let’s go… Now” He barked in a boom.

Jordan’s Father, Arthur stood frozen in his chair at the edge of the dusty counter. He sat silent searching his brain, filing through anything that could help him now. He had had some shady characters come his way over the years but nothing that resembled anything like a real soldier. He couldn’t think hard enough to reach his saving grace, so he just sat, wide eyed and silent.

“I SAID LETS GO.” The man barked again, this time the words came out with a dark seriousness about them that caused the Bar-keep to drop the ale and step back. The man made no attempt to fumble with any of the sinister things on his utility belt, then again Jordan didn’t think a man that large and scary ever really need to.

“I…What could I have done” Art finally squeaked out as he rose from his chair falling backwards. “You don’t understand… I’m not the guy…” He stumbled to his feet and back against the far side of the pub.

The man broke his stance and stepped forward. “What guy?” “I never told you a name, and regardless I told you to get your ass over and I’m tired of waiting.”

The large man tired of waiting, started towards Jordan’s father. The man was the largest man Jordan could remember but he was still astonished that his battle armor did not seem to slow him in the least. When the man first entered the settlement Jordan was hardly impressed by his suit of armor. Many mercenaries came through on their way out of sector, and each sported an old suit from the civil war. This man appeared to be no different. His armor was old and shot to pieces, but now as Jordan watched him high-step towards his father he realized that no civil war suit allowed movement like that no matter how strong a man was. Fear gripped Jordan, this was different; the suit of armor, the one large man, it all seemed to give him a feeling that this time was different and Jordan realized what he had to do.

The man reached out a tossed a card table sideways across the pub leaving no room for Jordan’s father to run anywhere but straight through the mans chest. He came closer to Jordan and a smell of oil and musk burned his nostrils making the deed he was about to do all the more nerve racking. The man across the front of Jordan and stepped three feet form his father.

“I’ll drag you out by your hair.” The man exhaled as he bent at the waist and reached forward.

Jordan wrapped his fingers around a pint bottle of Nuts and Bolts black ale, it was not the thickest of bottles but was the closest to where Jordan was leaning. His knuckles went white with strain and blurred as he whipped his arm in a down ward arch letting go of the bottle up high so it would get over the mans tall armored shoulder pads and get skin. Jordan didn’t wait to see if it landed at his desired target, he had let his body follow through the swinging arch and stepped towards the open archway that led into Stokely’s Pub. Get to the door and help his father out of here. Jordan could see that his bottle hit something by the expression on the keeps face turned to horror. “Dad! Come on!”

Jordan reached the opening in what seemed like forever and called again “Dad, let’s go” Jordan turned. The man stood taller than possible and had his father three feet off the pubs filthy floor, holding him up by his hair. Jordan’ father screamed and tears of pain began to fill his eyes. Jordan was horror struck. The man was big but a full bottle of black ale should have knocked him cold.

The man’s free hand reached back and touched the blood that leaked from the crack that stopped Jordan’s bottle. He looked at it and smiled. The man jammed his two fingers up to the first knuckle into the side of his mouth and tasted the iron. Two red puffs came off of the fat cigar from the other side of his mouth. “I haven’t had someone draw blood in ages.” He reached down to his belt and pulled forth a gutting knife that looked as if it was used on small elephants. His teeth clenched around the stogy as the blade ripped through the back of Art’s torso and splashed blood across the front of Jordan’s wide eyed, mouth a gaped face.

The man pulled back and the blade ripped through a second time, this time spraying blood on the man himself. The limp dead body crashed to the pub floor and began forming a pool of muddy blood. The man did bother to step over the body and placed his foot on the dead mans chest draining the body of its liquid, and crossed closer to Jordan.

Jordan’s eye’s stung with dryness. He hadn’t blinked since the man reached for his belt and made no sound. He stood in the archway at the end of exhale that he held forever. The man’s giant paw of a hand reached down and grabbed Jordan by the chin angling his face to meet the man’s face. The sausage fingers that pressed bruises into Jordan’s young face dripped with his fathers blood, Blood that ran into his mouth and down his neck.

“It’s your fault for stepping where you didn’t belong, boy.” The cigar seemed to light red on its own regardless what the man was saying. “You did draw blood though, and that will save you shitty life. The names Joe, remember it because I like to see if you can kill me later in life. I doubt it, but it wouldn’t be the worst way to die.” The man slide his hand across Jordan’s face and pushed his chest sending the boy tumbling across the archway and out onto the gravel moon surface.

Joe stepped passed him, slide his gutting knife back into his belt and stretched for the sky. “It’s all in a hard days work.” He grunted as he disappeared into the small gathering of spectators that had noticed the commotion from outside the pub. No one went to the boy, they just parted as Joe came and went.


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