An Ill Wind (bp coyle)

I take a long slug of vodka, which almost makes me gag, and read the email again. ‘Meeting with the Director at noon tomorrow to account for serious financial irregularities.’ I’m sunk. I thought I would have the money back before anyone noticed, but those horses just kept falling.

I look around the bar, God it’s a dive. The carpet sticks to my shoes, and though the place is dimly lit, it’s not dim enough to hide the peeling paper on the walls, the patches of damp. Sinatra is crooning about a very good year on the jukebox and a cracked TV in the corner is silently showing a news show. It’s almost deserted. Just me and the bartender and a furtive looking couple in the back.

Traffic is zooming by outside and it looks tempting. Then I see the ‘breaking news’ sign flash on the screen. ‘Missiles launched – 30 minute warning.’ The sirens begin to sound almost instantly. The bartender takes off his apron, throws it aside and is gone.

The couple in the back kiss. He runs to the jukebox and Pasty Cline starts singing ‘Crazy.’ They dance, holding each other close.

They are smiling.