Terrance Mason watched from behind the bar as Ronald sauntered in, looked around, and walked over to Larry.
“How many you had, Larry?” Ronald asked. “Can you still walk?”
“Get stuffed,” Larry said with no real malice.
“Cotting wants us to gather up a search party,” Ronald said, picking up one of the empties on Larry’s table. Only three so far. “That Watts idiot took their boy and ran off into the woods. We gotta find him.”
Larry’s dead father attempted to get Larry’s attention, but his son studiously ignored the ghost.
“Come on,” Ronald said. “The chief knows you’re drinking. If you don’t show up, he’s gonna fire you.”
Larry apparently considered unemployment for a moment. Larry sighed and stood up. “We need to go by my house and let me get cleaned up,” Larry said. He looked over to Mason. “Put this on my tab.”
“Sure thing, Larry,” Mason said. Not that he really kept track. It didn’t matter how much Larry owed Mason just as long as Larry kept drinking. In fact, Mason had been the one to show up with a twelve-pack after Lisajean left. Mason had also been the one who had given the salesman Lisajean’s address when the man stopped by for a quick drink. He liked to think of himself as Larry’s personal demonic angel.
Mason watched Larry leave the bar. Larry seemed fairly steady, but that was normal for a drunk of Larry’s experience.
Mason pulled himself a draught of Black Dog Lager. He raised the glass in a mock salute to Rod Sr. who stared at the barman with frustrated hate.
Rod Sr. faded out. Mason looked around at the handful of men in the bar. Not as many as he might have hoped, but they would do. He reached beneath the bar and bought out a black box, much smaller than the Curious Box in the forest, but large enough for what Mason had in mind.
“Come over here, boys,” Mason said expansively. “I’ve got something to show you.”
Copyright 2015 by Stephen B. Bagley. All rights reserved.