One more short story!
This week’s prompt is:
A bartender and a patron are having a conversation. Unbeknownst to them, someone sitting close by—obscured by shadows—has been eavesdropping. The eavesdropper has trouble sleeping that night based on what he or she heard. What could it have been?
And check out last week’s prompt winner:
which is about: My main character goes back 20 years in time and notices something that makes her not to want to go back, what is it?
Special agent Bradford Bonvera moved into the bar casually, dressed in thready shorts and a sleeveless t-shirt. At twenty eight, he was the best undercover agent uncle Sam had, able to blend into whatever situation was needed.
Today he was a middle class worker, relieved to be free of work early, ready to commemorate the end of the laborious week.
He tapped a hand on the bar, ordered a coke and a burger, paid with the crumpled bills he had used earlier to play airplane with his daughter Julie. Then he took his food and moved to the shadowy cramped table on the back, where the mic he had on the left pocket of his shorts would pick up the conversation from the booth next to it.
As he sat to wait for his suspect and dealer to arrive, Brad dug into the charred burger and soggy fries with the enthusiasm of a man who hadn’t eaten for a few days.
From the corner of his eyes, he watched the man that entered the bar with a swagger and bad attitude, instinctively knowing he wasn’t good news. But he wasn’t his suspect, for this was a tall, skinny man, and according to his informant’s description, the man he wanted was short and bald with a paunchy belly.
He watched as Skinny met the eyes of the bartender, motioned with his chin and the tilt of the head to the far side of the counter, watched as Skinny swaggered toward the end of the bar, as the bartender swiped a stain on the counter and casually moved away from the patrons, where Skinny sat on a stool and waited for him.
Absently, Brad wondered if he’d score two busts tonight, listened as Skinny began talking about aliens, landing points and the gathering of the cult for the welcome.
Chuckling inwardly, Brad dipped his last soggy fry into the watery ketchup and noticed as Anderson, his partner, entered the bar and moved toward the table on the other side of the still empty booth.
Brad watched as Skinny left the bar – after having agreed upon the landing and timing – and a short, bald and paunchy guy swaggered into the bar, scanned it with a thorough sweep, moved into the booth.
Casually Brad ordered a coffee that tasted like horseshit, paid with a few more crumpled bills and sat to enjoy his drink as he listened to the deal taking place right behind him.
The bust was a total success, with the praise of Connor, his superior, for a job well done. The cocaine was impounded, a few pounds worth of drugs lifted from the streets, the dealers apprehended along with a few buyers.
But despite the job well done, Bradford Bonvera couldn’t sleep that night. His mind kept going back to the alien welcoming, the way Skinny had swaggered in and out of the bar, the way his gut had told him he hadn’t been good news.
Brad tossed and turned for an hour, until he finally decided to get up, got dressed, then drove to Belvedere castle, where the alien landing would take place . . . in twenty minutes, he noticed with a glance at his phone’s display.
He would have liked to have called his partner, but at two in the morning, what could he possibly tell him? There’s an alien spaceship landing at two thirty in the morning at central park?
He snorted, got out of his car and moved silently into the shadowy park – bright and peaceful during the day, scary and sketchy during the night, telling himself he was just checking that no alien invasions would be happening tonight so he could go home and enjoy a good night’s sleep. Or whatever was left of it.
But at night, deep in central park, this was a place for thieves, dealers and mafia, not for alien landing.
As he crouched in a darkened spot behind a tall tree near Belvedere castle, Brad had the urge to start kicking himself and his stupidity all the way to Mars and back. He pressed the button that would send an alarm to the bureau and would serve as a tracking device and counted heads. Four men, two of which he recognized as Skinny and the bartender. A suitcase full of money was parked by one of the two remaining men, another two large suitcases were parked beside Skinny, brimming with what Brad had learned to recognize as cocaine tiles. At least fifty pound on each suitcase, he thought with a horror and excitement he only felt in action, when he could almost taste the flavor of success of a well-timed bust. He knew then his informant had given him bad info, or sold the same to the other side – a risk he’d been aware of. The bust earlier had been nothing but bait, he realized now as he reached for the police issue holstered to his hips.
And a shnick sounded by his ear, followed by the muzzle of a gun being pressed to the back of his head.
Heart hammering, Brad stood slowly, hands up in the air.
All four men had turned to watch him as he stepped out of the shadow, his gun confiscated by the man he had yet to see.
He was pushed viciously to his knees once he reached the group, heard the ringing of sirens approaching. But this was New York, and the sound of sirens meant nothing to the drug lords hidden in the darkness and shadow of Belvedere castle, deep in central park.
With the gun still pressed against his head, the four men finished their deal and began closing the suitcases up, concluding their meeting.
An owl nearby hooted a cry and the gun shifted, and Brad ceased the opportunity, throwing himself sideways and kicking behind with both his legs, tripping the fifth man just as the sound of a gun went off. Something burned the side of his head, something warm trickled down.
Brad didn’t pause to check, didn’t give himself time to register the fact that he’d been shot. He dove for the fifth mans gun, took hold of his wrist and twisted even as he rolled around, pulling the man with him. He felt when the bullet hit the man now covering him, heard the sound of the FBI entering the scene. As he pushed the limp body away from him, Brad saw three of the four men being cuffed by his teammates, looked around for the fourth, found Skinny making a run for it. With a shout to let his partner know, Brad pursued, despite feeling his world tilting to the side. He dodged a tree that shot out of the darkness like a ghost, pressed a hand over the wound on the side of his head, knew he’d need stitches, even if the bullet had only skimmed by.
He sited the fifth’s man gun at Skinny, took aim and shot him on the leg. The bullet didn’t take Skinny’s leg from under him as he’d hoped, but Skinny did falter. It was enough for Brad to gain on him, tackle him to the ground and pull his hands to his back.
Later, after Brad gave his report, he went home, the sky already bright with morning, satisfied – despite his aching head – that he had done a good job, that no one out there would be overdosing from this particular batch of drugs.
This time when he closed his eyes, he fell asleep instantly, no longer concerned with alien drug lords.