Chance Meeting

It was unmistakably him: the black tuxedo, the vaguely Scottish accent as he asked what kind of a bar didn’t serve martinis, the bow tie he was now ripping from his neck, the smirk that said, “When I kill you, and I will, I’m going to enjoy it.”

“Scuse me,” I said, “do you have a quarter?”

“Do I look like I carry cash?” he asked me.

I took a seat, sighed.

“You already have one,” he said to me, his gaze fixed on the coin I moved from one finger to the next.

“Yes,” I said, “but if I had two, I wouldn’t have to choose.”

He scoffed. “Life is choice, lad. Life is choice.”

The bartender piped in, saying, “Speaking of, you know what you’re having yet, pal?”

Jim—he said later that I should call him Jim—scowled at the bartender until he was left alone.

“What’s eating you?” I asked him.

“No gin,” he said. “What kind of a bar has no gin?”

“The bar in the basement of an arcade,” I said.

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