She held a gun to my head, and asked one question.
“Crown Royal, or JD?”
She spun the gun by its trigger guard, holstered it, and pulled out another. I raised my glass, and she shot once, twice, hitting the inside rim at just the right angle so the alcohol swirled 180 degrees before mixing into the Coke.
Paul slapped my back. “I told you this place was great. Check out the lights.” Gold plated AK-47’s hung on the walls, stocks polished, and camo-patterned shades over red and white LED bulbs. The floor was untreated pine, and the booths and chairs padded with army-green canvas.
The bartender was holding up her next customer, the eerily realistic gun pressed to his forehead, her voice husky enough to frighten, just a little. She wasn’t wearing especially tight clothes, or a low neckline with a push-up bra. She wasn’t decked out in leather, or brimming with aggressive feminine sexuality, but she didn’t need it. That voice, and those eyes. They sold it. Sold her. Even though I’d known the gun was fake, in that moment, I really believed I was going to die.
I lifted my hand, making like I was brushing a strand of hair from my forehead, but that wasn’t it at all. The imprint of the barrel had faded, but there was still a lingering sensation on my skin. I slugged back the rum and Coke in two swallows, and watched for my chance to order another.
Bang, bang, bang. Customers lined up at the bar shot dead in a moment, just like me. Fear, adrenaline, alcohol, war, and sex.
Even without Paul, I’d be back.