Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Cat’s Cradle

The early evening light shines through the musty air of Doug’s Bar, glinting off the facets of the tumblers lined in a row on the bar counter. It’s unsurprisingly quiet for a Tuesday and the only patron is Lucien, for whom happy hour lasts longer than usual. He asks the bartender for another drink just before extinguishing the fiery copper liquid in the glass in front of him.

“Rough day?” the bartender asks him.

“Isn’t it always?” he replies from behind a curtain of silvery hair.

The bartender chuckles in agreement as he pours him another round. Suddenly, a loud pop shatters the stiflingly tranquil atmosphere. The already dim lights flicker out and after a couple seconds of confusion, Lucien’s ringtone pierces the air.

“Hullo?” he asks.

A frail voice answers. “I’m sorry to bother you, Lucien, but that loud sound just now frightened the cats and they all bolted out the door. I’ve looked all over for them but they’re nowhere to be found. You’re already out and about, could you go look for them?”

Lucien stares at the untouched whiskey before asking, “How much?”

“For this? I’ll give you 60, 20 per cat. Just like last time.”


Languidly, he downs the drink in front of him and gets up from the bar stool.

“Leaving already?” the bartender asks in surprise.

“Only so that I can keep this business afloat,” he replies. “Just put the drinks on my tab. But I’ll be back soon.”

Stretching his legs, he saunters out onto the street. Unaware of the life and laughter around him, he wanders down 45th Street. Where could they be if theyre not at The Victorian? Probably near the old warehouse, or somewhere in Howell Park. He draws a silver coin from his breast pocket. Heads is the old warehouse, tails is Howell Park. The coin flips through the air, catching the last rays of the setting sun, before landing in his open palm. Heads. The old warehouse it is. Placing the coin back in its pocket, he heads for the warehouse, wondering if shell compensate him for interrupting his dinner.