The Cedarville Review 2024

44 FICTION over to me. Boy was his breath bad. I knew he’d been drinking before coming there. It smelled like those shakes we made one time with all those rotten eggs, remember?bb “How old are you, boy?” he said, gruff and raspy. “Nineteen.” (which isn’t strictly true, Jeffey, cause my sixteenth birthday was last August in case you forgot). “Hnmph.” He shifted and took a drink, glaring at the bartender through his eyelashes. He sure looked like he wanted to dress him down. “Ever killed a man son?” That scared me a bit, Jeffey, cause I wasn’t about to get busted that night. I started getting up real slow. “Cause wouldn’t I like to.” I stopped there. I guessed he was just a real angry guy, not a murderer, right? “Oh, yeah,” I said, like I knew what he was on about. I reckon maybe I did. He slammed his glass down like he was smashing a guy’s face in. The bartender glared at him, wiping some drops of drink off his shiny white shirt. “He’s got no right! That infernal idiot” He took a big, long drink right then. “Don’t ever join Mitchell’s company, you hear me son? Don’t ever join” – gulp – “bunch of lying thieving, crazy scoundrels—” Another big drink. I was starting to see part of his problem. “Right, sir, well maybe you should go on ho—” “I ain’t going home till I fi nd that lying Stevens and get my promotion!” “Well sir, maybe if you talk to him real nice—”