The International Writers Magazine: Dreamscapes
Meeting at the Hide-Away bar & grill
Leroy B. Vaughn
A light snow was falling as Mickey Weldon left the diner and made his way down Madison Street. He had been going through the arrest in his mind for the last two hours and he knew that his life was going to change real soon.
Two and a half hours earlier, he had walked into the Hide-Away Bar and Grill on 8th Avenue. There were only two men in the place and a Chicana barmaid. The men were playing pool on the other side of the bar. Mickey sat down at the bar and ordered a Coors, as he took in the barmaid’s figure. She was built like a brick shit house. He watched her as she pulled the beer out of the ice and handed it to him. She was wearing skintight black pants and a white tube top that showed off every ounce of her well-rounded body. She was not bad to look at either, except in Mickey’s opinion, she wore too much make up. Her eyebrows looked to him as if she had put them on with a sharpie marker.
"Hi, my names Irma, what's yours?" she asked as she picked up the money Mickey had placed on the bar.
"I haven't seen you around here before. Are you new in town?"
"Not too new. I've lived in Salt Lake City for a few years now. I just don’t get out much."
"So Mickey, what kind of work do you do?"
"I drive a tow truck."
Irma knew that he was lying. She had looked at his hands when he pulled his money out. She knew that this dude did not drive a truck. Probably some kind of yuppie dressed like a street character, she told herself. Trying to get away from the wife, so he could pick up a little strange ass.
He did not have a wedding ring, and there was not a mark around his finger to indicate that a ring had been removed. "What the hell," Irma told herself. She would let this dude pick her up after work if he wanted to. He was clean looking and she liked white boys.
Irma was making goo-goo eyes at Mickey when the door opened and an old man walked in. Mickey watched the old man as he took a table at the other end of the bar, away from the pool table and the barmaid. Mickey excused himself, telling the barmaid that he needed to talk to the old man. Irma was curious, but there was always something going on in her bar, usually some kind of shady business.
Mickey walked past the old man, looked at his baseball cap closely and went to the juke box. He put two dollars in the juke box before he sat down across from the old man at his table.
Country music blasted from the juke box. The barmaid was planning to eavesdrop on the conversation, but now it would not be possible. The pool players could not hear Mickey and the man either.
Mickey looked at the baseball cap. It was black with white letters that said "Korean War Veteran" and had two blue campaign ribbons under the lettering.
"Hello Bud," Mickey said as he offered to shake hands.
"You must be Mickey," Bud Blankenship replied as he reached for Mickey’s hand.
Bud had told him the day before that he would be wearing the baseball cap. Mickey had advised him not to say much over the phone.They had never met. Bud Blankenship had found Mickey through a member of the V.F.W. where Bud liked to go on Saturdays, before his wife got sick.
The barmaid was on her way to the table to ask if Bud wanted anything to drink, when Mickey waved her away.
"Why don't we go outside to talk," Mickey suggested.
Irma watched as the two men got up and walked towards the door.
"Come back soon," she called to Mickey.
"I'll do that," he replied as he went through the door. Bud suggested that they go to his pick-up truck to talk. Mickey followed him to the parking lot and they got into an old beat up Dodge truck. Mickey figured that the truck was at least thirty-five years old.
Mickey sat in the passenger seat and asked, “So what did you want to talk to me about, Bud?”
"I'll get right to the point," the old man stated. "I want you to kill my wife," he said as he forced back tears.
"You don't look real convincing, Bud," Mickey told him, as he watched the old man's face. Bud Blankenship told him that he loved his wife very much and had been married to her for fifty-five years.
She was dying of terminal cancer and Bud did not want to see her suffer. He offered Mickey ten thousand dollars for the hit.
Mickey would get two thousand now and the remaining eight thousand when Bud collected on her life insurance policy. They made a plan to get Bud out of the house the next night.
Bud offered to supply the weapon. He reached under the seat and pulled out an old nine shot twenty-two caliber revolver.
He handed the pistol to Mickey. It was wrapped in a blue shop cloth. Mickey un-wrapped the pistol and checked it out. Mickey knew weapons. Bud could tell by the way he handled the four inch revolver. While he inspected the revolver, Bud counted out two thousand dollars and handed the money to Mickey.
"You know, Mickey, you don't look like a killer to me," the old man said, as Mickey emptied the cylinder and checked the ammo.
"Tell that to the Taliban," Mickey replied as he looked at a hollow point bullet and asked how old the ammo was.
“It’s less than one month old. I bought the best stuff I could find.” The old man said as he wiped his eyes.
"Well, are we all set?" the old man asked, as Mickey looked at the bullet.
"Almost," Mickey told him, as he reached into his Levi jacket pocket and pulled out a police officer badge.
"You're under arrest Mr. Blankenship, for solicitation of murder. Step out of the truck slowly and place your hands on the roof of the truck."
Mickey had the handcuffs on Bud when the patrol car pulled into the parking lot and took custody of the old man. Bud Blankenship was in tears now. He wanted to know who would take care of his sick wife. Mickey did not answer him, as one of the patrolmen read him his rights under the Miranda decision.
Mickey’s car was in the same parking lot. He was headed toward his car when he saw Irma standing by the open back door. She had seen everything. She said to Mickey, “You don't look like a narc. That’s too bad, I thought you were OK."
"I would like to see you sometime, Irma" he told her.
"Not a chance, Pig," she said with a scowl on her face, as she slammed the rear door shut.
The snow was coming down harder as Mickey drove back to his apartment. He drank too much coffee at the diner, and now his brain was racing
He had been assigned to deep undercover work before he graduated from the Police Academy. A Vice Sergeant had visited the academy and picked Mickey out as a possible undercover cop. Mickey did not look like a cop. He was small in height and build, and had a baby face. His drill instructor at the academy had told him that the only reason he did so well in the academy was that he looked like Audie Murphy, the World War II hero.
At one p.m. Mickey walked into the Captain’s office. The Captain told him that he had done a good job for the last two years, working narcotics at a high school, working the men's room at the airport for gay cruisers and several other cases, but this bust of Bud Blankenship was his best, in the Skipper’s opinion.
"Starting tomorrow, Mickey, you’re going to patrol. We'll put you with a field training officer for two weeks and then you'll be on your own. The Van Dyke and earring will have to go. Good luck," his boss said as he stood up to dismiss Mickey.
"Oh yeah, one other thing. Stay away from the Hide-Away bar. That chick Irma that runs the place is bad news. She's connected. She's got two brothers in state prison and an ex-husband, that she still sees, is the President of the Bulldogs motorcycle gang. You're made as an undercover operator. Those people will kill you on a moment's notice, if they see you around."
A light snow was starting to fall as Mickey Weldon left the police station, heading down Madison Street for the diner.
(c) March 2012 Leroy B. Vaughn.
More stories in Dreamscapes
*You can read two of my novelettes for free at smashwords.com
I also have several short stories in e-magazines, Fingerprintsjournal.blogspot.com and Short fiction-fiction.co.uk.