Monday, February 14, 2011

A Twist Of Noir 659 - Kieran Shea

SICK CALL - KIERAN SHEA

“That smarmy looking prick over there be the one who left with Suzie, your cousin,” Donohue said.

Donohue eased his meaty presence back behind the bar as Timbo creased his copy of the New York Daily News. Timbo slurped down a bitter knot of warm coffee and gave Donohue a nod of thanks. Donohue left the keys and towels on the bar and slipped past the taps into the bar’s galley kitchen, shooing his Guatemalans out the back. Good guy that Donohue. Timbo owed him one.

Timbo’s eyes drifted across the ranks of bottles before him and then took in the mid-September afternoon light slashing past that fat shamrock in the middle of the bar’s front window. Sputtering shadows from a curb-choked tree shivered on the glass and on the white tiled floor.

God how Timbo used to love Fall. September used to mean better things when he was a kid coming up. Football pick-up games in the street instead of stick, Rangers season around the corner, chasing all that fresh high school poon. Now September meant the Yankees and the Mets had probably screwed the pooch and everybody itchy remembering how a perfect blue morning years ago got yanked the fuck apart.

Timbo eased off his barstool and walked to the bar’s front door. A quick glance right and then left assessed an empty sidewalk. Not that anyone cared anyway. Anything went down in Donohue’s, unless you were a total idiot or an honest cop, you knew to turn both eyes blind.

He slipped the marked key into the top lock, twisted, and then he shot the bolt below.

Timbo half-expected the kid to look up but he was texting something into his faggy, little cell phone. Plus the kid had ear buds in, the white wires snaking to a player stashed in his t-shirt’s pocket like a forbidden deck of smokes. Spent a lot of cash on ink, all artistic-like, a veritable neon sign saying I’m a pussy. Skinny arms. Piercings. What did his cousin Suzie see in this peg-legged, droopy hair doofus Timbo had no idea. Didn’t matter. Family is family and those piercings would be the third thing to go. After the teeth, after the bones.

Timbo pocketed the keys and took the corner two stools away, standing. Knocked twice on the rail.

“’Scuse me...”

The kid looked up from his cell phone and uncorked an ear, “Yeah?”

“You know what time it is?”

“Uh, the time? Yeah. It’s just after two-thirty.”

Timbo pointed to the half-empty pint of draft and cocked a grin, “Kinda early.”

The kid set his phone down on the bar and coughed into his fist, “Well, I’m kind of thirsty.”

Timbo nodded, “Ain’t that the truth...”

The second ear bud was tugged free. “I like to stop off somewhere for a pop, you know, before I head in for my shift. Eases the pain of going in.”

Timbo turned his head and checked the window again, “My old man always said no one should begrudge a working man a drink.”

“Word that.”

Christ, thought Timbo. Another transplant talking chocolate drop. Talk like that? I can drop you off in a nice little piece of Bed-Stuy where they will positively love you.

“Where’s work then?”

“How’s that?”

“Your work.”

“Oh. You mean what do I do?” Smarmy prick swallowed an inch of his beer, “It’s going to sound lame but I’m kind of a waiter over at Ruby Tuesday’s. I mean, I’m looking for something better, but I got to pay the bills, right? Just moved up here from Georgia a few month ago. Went to Tech. Business. Tough as fucking nails out there.”

“Don’t I know it. That Ruby Tuesday, is that the one over on Seventh Avenue?”

“Yeah, why? Fuckin’ hell hole. You know it?”

Timbo wrapped his hands in the bar towels Donohue gave him. “Nah, not really. But somebody’s going to have to give them a call.”

BIO: Jersey born writer Kieran Shea scratches at the eight ball of crime fiction and his character Charlie Byrne has graced ATON plenty of times before. He blogs the struggle and other musings at BLACK IRISH BLARNEY.

9 comments:

Paul D. Brazill said...

Perfect snaphot. Great.

Kathleen A. Ryan said...

Nicely done, Mr. Shea. You paint a picture with precision, and your dialogue is spot-on.
"After the teeth, after the bones." Such an economy of words!
So kind of Timbo to think about this punk's employer.

AJ Hayes said...

Nice to have a friend like Donohue. I mean a guy who unnerstans family values and pride and, mostly, how valuable regulars are to the bar trade is a friend indeed. Besides, any halfass, jive punk who says "word that" deserves what he gets. Tight a a catholic bride on her wedding day, mate. Cool.

pattinase (abbott) said...

You never let us down.

Kieran Shea said...

thanky

Michael Solender said...

whoa ..lookout nice build and delivery.

StephenD said...

Good one, as always. Liked your imagery early on with the "fat shamrock". Really paints a clear picture of the scene.

Chris Rhatigan said...

Now that's New York. Great dialogue and a tight plot. That description of the kid is hilarious, too. Rock solid work.

Joyce said...

Uh oh. Well, at least he won't get written up as a no call/no show at his job with some notification prior to the start of his shift. Timbo's got a heart, it seems. Hope the kid's got good health insurance though--or should it be a burial policy...