Jack And Coke
Trigger Warning: Stalker
“Hi, Veronica,” the bartender said as I sat down on the old rickety stool I had become fond of over the last year, grad school was taking its toll on me. After being turned down for several jobs, I found myself taking comfort in my good old friend, Jack Daniels.
“The usual?” the bartender asked, a smile spreading across his fat cherry red face.
“Jack and Coke, no ice.” I shot a half-smile at the man as I searched through my bright pink Coach wallet for exact change.
“That will be two dollars and a quarter,” he said, with a goofy grin.
“I haven’t seen you around before,” I said, showing off my pearly white teeth.
“I’m Teddy, Cameron’s brother. He and his wife Tracy have their 20th wedding anniversary party, and he asked me to fill in for him tonight.”
I raise my eyebrow a little, “Why aren’t you with your brother celebrating his anniversary? Surely one of the staff could have covered his shift?”
His smile faded. “You’re pretty so I’ll tell you, my ex-wife, Debbie and his wife Tracy, got into a fight, about five years ago and, my Debbie, ever-so-wonderful loving wife that she was, threw me under the bus. At the time, we were living in Vegas, Debbie had a gambling addiction. She ran out of money one night, and after she put up our car, she put up Tracy and Cameron’s condo as collateral without asking. As you can probably guess, the casino won and that was what caused my brother to lose all faith in my life choices”. He swallowed a shot of whiskey. “Even though I got divorced from Debbie, my brother chose to take Tracy’s side over mine. I guess I can’t blame him, but I still haven’t seen my nephew in about five years. I miss that kid.” He fixed himself another shot of whiskey.
I pushed the little red straw around in my glass and noticed the man tending the bar was trying and failing to make eye contact with me. I continued to pretend I didn’t see him.
I took a sip of my drink and scrunched up my nose a little. “You put a lot of alcohol in this, I asked for a single ?”
“I made you a double. You’re a pretty girl, you know?” He smiled at me again, but this time, it was different, and it gave me chills. I shivered,” He laughed and proceeded to lick the small amber-colored puddle off of the bar table. He stuck his tongue out and leered at me.
I watched as he tried to fix himself another shot of whiskey. He left a small puddle on the table. I made my way past the pool table, praying to every god in the universe, that he wouldn’t follow me. I closed the bathroom stall door, and it made a soft clicking noise. The only thing protecting me from this progressively strange situation was a flimsy bathroom door and a tiny metal lock.
I wedged my body between the toilet and sink, and picked up my phone. A tiny gasp escaped my lips as I realized the screen was black, and was not going to turn on. I forgot to put my phone on the charger before I left. The sound of heavy footsteps was followed by someone calling my name outside the door. I could picture Jack Nicholson from The Shining, his with a crazed smile, holding that axe, as I stared at the helpless woman on the other side of the broken door.
I could see the light from the moon coming through the window above the toilet. This was my only real hope. I had to try and slide out of the window to freedom. I slipped off my shoes, slithered my way out of the window, and as I hung for a moment upside-down, closing my eyes not thinking of the two-story fall. It looked like my dress was torn and it hung sloppily above my head. The cold New England chilled me to the bone as every muscle in my body tensed. I would have to walk to the police station, every step I felt like I was flying the adrenaline, made it hard to feel pain as I landed hard. Later at the ER, I found that I had broken a few bones.
A cop passed me on the way,“What the hell happened to you?” He retrieved a blanket from the backseat of his car and placed it around me. Then poured some hot coffee into a Styrofoam cup and passed it to me as we talked about the night’s events.
I got a call from the police the next day, informing me that they’d found Cameron and Tracy unharmed, but shaken up; they’d been tied up locked in their bathroom all night.
The police searched the bar, and found out that the man who fixed my drinks was not Cameron’s brother. He was a man who had suffered a breakdown after his wife left him, turning to drugs and alcohol to try to numb the pain.
Cameron and Tracy were letting him live above the bar, out of the kindness of their heart. When the police searched the studio apartment, they found photos of me. They also found a huge collection of women’s underwear, all of which appeared to be used. They were laid out in the man’s bed. My name was written thousands of times on every surface of that apartment.