A shot in the dark

When I was in the sixth grade, I was working after school in my parents bar. If you have read some of these stories, you are aware of my sordid past.

At any rate we had a long entry hall that the bar patrons would enter to come into the bar. In that hallway was a pinball machine that I used to play quite often.

I was playing the machine when Our bartender mother came in. She was a very old and small withered woman. I was about eleven or twelve, I guess. She was probably fifty, but I thought she was a hundred, of course.

She walked ten feet or so and turned to her left and entered the wide, shallow bar. There were two pool tables to her right and a juke box full of the latest hits in Spanish and a few English language songs for good measure, but not many. The pay phone was on the wall to her left. The room was probably forty feet wide at most and twenty feet deep.

The red bar with wood trim ran the length of the room with a mirror all along the back. It made the room look larger than it was. There were perhaps twenty stools in front of it, waiting for those that came to drink every day or so.

Seated at the bar was Becky’s common law husband. Few people were married in my circle of adult drunk and druggy friends back then either. I stopped playing my game and followed her into the bar.

I don’t know the details, but Becky’s lover and her mother weren’t on good terms at the moment. As she approached the bar, he produced a gun and shot her. I was directly behind her and saw her recoil and then grab her wrist. I can still smell the acrid smoke as it was ejected from the gun with the bullet in my direction

I was scared to death I suppose, and frozen in fear. Becky’s mother was not. She walked quickly over to her assailant, wrenched the gun from his hand, and pistol whipped him a few times.

I do not recall the police showing up or any other events after this incident that day. The police had come to our establishment a few times, but I think they felt that those involved in anything going on in our place deserved what they got.

Sadly perhaps, I have many stories like this one. And yet, I grew up to be a peaceful, productive parent and citizen and have never been arrested or seen the inside of a police station.