The Job Interview

The sax player had come on at 9:00 and bar owner, Eddie Monroe, was pleased the guy was actually better than he had expected.
+++++At 8:45, a cab driver had opened the door for Charlie Vincent and had led him up to the bar. Charlie wore sunglasses, wielded a white cane with his right hand and carried his instrument case in his left. Eddie had paid the cabbie and had led Charlie up to the little stage. He told him about the surroundings and introduced him to Benny Erskine, the house drummer, who sat in as accompanist for anybody who needed back-up. Eddie had then gone back to the bar and had left Charlie and Benny to talk about the first set.
+++++Now Eddie was wiping the bar and he once again checked the front door as if he might be able to will people to come through it. It was 9:30 on a Tuesday night and he had exactly eight customers. There were three couples at tables and a man and a woman sitting at the bar. The two at the bar weren’t together; there were three stools separating them.
+++++“Inez,” called Eddie to his waitress who sat reading a book at the end of the bar. “Get orders from the couples at the tables and tell ‘em this one’s on the house. Maybe if we keep ‘em here the next folks through the door will think the place has somethin’ goin’ on.”
+++++Eddie went over and stood between the two sitting at bar. “Drink up folks; I’m buyin’ the next round. Whadda ya think about the sax player? Pretty good, huh?”
+++++The man, Johnny Briskie, raised his glass to Eddie as if to toast him, and then raised it to the woman sitting a few seats down. She nodded, smiled, and toasted him back. They both finished their drinks and Eddie went about getting fresh ones for them.
+++++“I’m Bonnie Martino,” she said.
+++++“Johnny Briskie. Nice to meetcha.”
+++++The sax player was playing a pretty good cover of Coltrane’s “Blue Train.”
+++++“Actually, he is pretty good,” said Bonnie. “I like jazz. You?”
+++++“Yeah, I do. I like jazz when I’m in a mood for reflectin’. I like blues when I feel like actin’ up.”
+++++“So you’re reflecting tonight?”
+++++“Yeah, I’m thinkin’ about whether I should follow up on a job opportunity.”
+++++Johnny reached inside his sport coat and pulled out a pack of cigarettes. Bonnie caught a glimpse of a shoulder holster and wondered what that job opportunity entailed. She pulled her purse a little closer to her. She opened it and made sure her .32 was within easy reach. Bonnie was thinking that maybe there was a chance she was the job opportunity.
+++++Eddie put an ashtray on the bar in front of Johnny. “If anybody complains, you’ll have to take that outside.”
+++++“Sure thing,” said Johnny as he lit up.
+++++Eddie had also seen the holster under Johnny’s coat. He had seen Bonnie move her purse closer and open it. Eddie had been around the block a few times and didn’t miss much. He took his .38 out of the drawer and put it on the ledge under the bar in front of him. He nodded to the drummer and pointedly looked at Bonnie and then Johnny.
+++++The drummer acknowledged him and said something to the sax player, who moved from Coltrane’s “Blue Train” to Louis Jordan’s “Is You Is or Is You Ain’t My Baby?”
+++++Bonnie noticed the smooth transition, recognized the tune, and raised an eyebrow at Eddie. Eddie cut his eyes at Johnny and patted his chest as he did so. Bonnie smiled and said, “Hey, Johnny, could I have a cigarette?”
+++++“Sure,” said Johnny. When Johnny reached for his pack of cigarettes, Bonnie pulled her gun from her purse and aimed it at his face.
+++++“Give your gun to the bartender, Johnny,” said Bonnie. “He’s going to hold it for you for fifteen minutes while I take my leave.”
+++++Johnny took out his revolver and made like he was going to hand it to Eddie. Instead, he backed off his barstool and pointed the snub-nosed Smith & Wesson at Eddie.
+++++“Put your piece on the bar or he’s dead,” he said to Bonnie.
+++++Johnny hadn’t noticed that the sax player was now playing solo. Benny Erskine had stopped drumming and had picked up a sawed-off shotgun from behind his drum set. He walked up to the bar with the shotgun close to his leg, shielded from the audience, and leveled it at Johnny.
+++++“Hey, you,” he said. As Johnny turned to face him, Benny pulled the trigger and sent Johnny into the stools and onto the floor. He put the shotgun on the bar and walked back to his drumset.
+++++The six people at the tables gathered their stuff in a hurry and made for the front door.
+++++“Hey, hey,” yelled Eddie.   “Ya don’t have to leave; everything’s under control. The house is buying another round.”
+++++Two of the couples decided to stay and took a table together. The other couple left without looking back.
+++++“I heard him say somethin’ about a job. Whadda ya suppose that was all about?” said Eddie to Bonnie after he had called 911.
+++++“Yeah, he said he was mulling over a job opportunity. I’m in town because I was recently offered a job opportunity too. I think we may have been competing for the same job. Thanks to you and your drummer, I think I did pretty well on the initial interview.”
+++++“I best put your piece and mine in the drawer back here. In a few minutes some of New York City’s finest will be in askin’ lotsa questions. You okay with that?”
+++++“The guy pulled a gun and threatened to kill you if you didn’t give him all the cash. The drummer saw what was happening and shot him. The drummer okay with that?”
+++++“Sure. Benny knows the cops and they know him. Should be no problem.”
+++++There were sirens in the distance and Charlie Vincent was now into the Billie Holiday classic, “Ain’t Nobody’s Business If I Do.”

Facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
The following two tabs change content below.
Roy Dorman

Roy Dorman

Roy Dorman is retired from the University of Wisconsin-Madison Benefits Office and has been a voracious reader for over 60 years. At the prompting of an old high school friend, himself a retired English teacher, Roy is now a voracious writer. He has had flash fiction published recently in Cease Cows, Gravel, Theme of Absence, Drunk Monkeys, Birds Piled Loosely, Black Petals, Shotgun Honey, Near To The Knuckle, Cheapjack Pulp, and Yellow Mama.
Roy Dorman

Latest posts by Roy Dorman (see all)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *