Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sunday Excerpt 18

In this first scene of a new chapter, You'll get to know a quirky charater, Becky. This character's quirks are actually a result of a writing challenge I completed at a local writer's group meeting. A writer's group is kind of like AA with more self-pity and more steps then one could possibly hope to accomplish.

Her rounds complete, Alexis plopped down on a chair at her newly designated 'employee' table and watched Becky sway seductively to classic rock and country songs, while a few desperate men sitting below threw dollar bills on the stage. Becky expertly maneuvered around the money, occasionally scooping down in some kind of dance move to pick it up. Alexis watched her dancing on the stage until Sam yelled for last call. With that, came more drink orders, more flirting, and a few more meager tips. Sam cut the music and turned up the house lights right at two in the morning, ushering customers out the door, as she gathered glasses and beer bottles from the tables. Becky disappeared in a back room, and reappeared with a broom, sweeping up and leaving little piles all around the dark sticky floor. She looked funny moving through the bar in her little spaghetti strap two-piece bikini under the full glare of the bar's house lights.
Alexis found a mop and began scrubbing the filthy floor after Becky finished sweeping up all the little piles she made. Afterward, she sat at a table with Becky, now fully clothed, and counting her tips for the night. Sam was back at the bar with his headphones on, cleaning the counter tops and washing glasses.
"What happened with you and Lefty," Becky glanced at her as she stuffed dollar bills into her purse, and dug out a fresh tube of Chapstick.
"Uh, what do you mean?" The question startled her. She didn't know anyone saw her walk through that side door earlier. But then, she wondered why Becky didn't come after her when Lefty followed.
"Did he try anything?" Becky looked across the table at her, wide-eyed, as she ran the Chapstick around her lips. "What did you do with him? Did you kick his ass? Did you cut him?"
"Cut him?" Alexis asked. "Why would I need to cut him?" She was beginning to wonder if this sort of thing happened before, with Becky. "And, if you knew he was dangerous," Alexis continued, staring back at Becky, "why didn't you come help me?"
Becky looked down at her Chapstick tube as she placed it upright on the table, but said nothing.
"Hey! Becky." Alexis slammed her fist onto the table, knocking the Chapstick tube over, and breaking Becky's fixation.
"I, I couldn't leave," she said, looking over to Sam, still washing glasses, the music coming through his headphones so loud it sounded as if it was coming from some tiny metal loudspeaker. "Sam might have seen me leave. He could lose his bar if Knuckles found out we harassed one of his cronies."
"Knuckles?" Alexis was getting confused with all these nicknames. "Who's Knuckles?"
Becky stared at her Chapstick as it rolled to the edge of the table. "Knuckles is the local crime boss, and he kind of owns the place," she said in a hushed voice.
"I thought Sam owned the bar." Alexis leaned forward, taking Becky's hands in hers, hoping to coax more information from her.
"Yes, Sam owns the bar but, as far as business goes, Knuckles pretty much owns all the bars around here." Becky continued to stare at her Chapstick until it rolled over the edge of the table and onto the floor. "I mean, not legally, but he controls everything that goes on around here. You keep working here, and pretty soon, he'll own you too."
"Nobody will ever own me. I won't allow it."
"We'll see." Becky looked up from the floor, staring instead at Alexis. "If you did anything to Lefty, he'll be looking for you."
"Lefty's a sleaze. He deserves whatever he gets," Alexis squeezed Becky's hands for emphasis. "But, I didn't do anything to him."
"What do you mean? I know you didn't just run away. Lefty's too stupid to quit if he wants you. He just keeps at you, even if you say no."
Alexis suddenly realized Becky was speaking more from experience, than rumor. "Becky, did he do something to you?"
Becky pulled her hands away, looking again at her Chapstick tube on the floor. She said nothing, which meant everything.
"Becky," she said again. "Did Lefty hurt you?"
"How did you get away from him?" Becky's attempt at changing the subject was obvious.
"I didn't," Alexis said. "A man showed up and pulled him off me."
"A man just showed up in the alley out of nowhere?" Becky did not sound convinced.
"Yeah, he cuffed Lefty and dragged him away." Alexis thought back to the incident, and wondered herself, how the man just appeared on the spot like that.
"What did this man look like?" Becky asked.
"He was bald, muscular, and he looked like a black mister clean, only, not as nice."
"Ah." Becky finally looked at her. "That's Frost, our local superman. I tell ya', Paulina, he's one fine hunk of man."
"You know him?"
Becky smiled at her. "He's a good guy. Makes his living bringing in crooks like Lefty when they skip bail."
"You mean, he's a bounty hunter?"
"Well, something like that. Rumor is, he works full-time somewhere and just moonlights as a superhero. He's got a story."
"What's his story?" Alexis asked, leaning forward in her chair again.
"People say he was in the military, doing some kind of secret Green Beret stuff, but he came home to take care of his sick momma. Is that sweet, or what? Anyway, he's a little dangerous, not the nicest guy in the world, but the thugs are scared as hell of him. I tell ya' what though, he could cuff me anytime."
"Well, he wasn't that nice to me." Alexis opened her water bottle, taking a sip before continuing. "He didn't seem convinced I could take care of myself, and then he got all offended about it when I told him I didn't need saving."
"I'm sure you can take care of yourself," Becky said. "But, I think Frost could take care of you better."
Sam finished washing glasses and wiping down the bar. "You girls need an escort to your cars?" He yelled, as he removed the headphones from his ears.
"I'll be fine," Alexis said.
Becky took him up on the offer, and left the table to take a seat at the bar. Alexis left out the front door, but took a good look up and down the street before beginning her short walk back to her new home, just in case. The bounty hunter, Frost, kept popping into her head throughout her walk along the dark wooded path to her trailer. Becky was right; he was a great-looking man, muscular, and confident. Maybe he was a little too confident, but he definitely had some good Alpha traits. Alexis caught herself and tried desperately to think of something else. She kicked at a few rocks as she walked, surprised that she judged a mere human by her pack standards. But humans had alphas too. Just not in the same way as in her own secret community—a community she wanted nothing to do with at the time. She wondered how often his duties took him to the Pink Pony as she jiggled the key to the trailer, and opened the flimsy door. She mentally shook herself for the thought. He was nothing but trouble. Thinking about him could easily lead to romantic thoughts. Romantic thoughts could leave her vulnerable to a romantic relationship, and that would be even more trouble. Trouble was the last thing she needed while she was trying to get away from her secrets and live a normal unsuspecting human life, if only for a few days.