Surley You Know Them
detectives walked into a bar. One ordered a crème de menthe, twisted his
mustaches and told the bartender to put it in a clean snifter. Another ordered
two beers and a glass, and the tall, thin guy ordered absinthe.
got no sugar cubes,” said Frank the bartender.
man pulled a small cellophane package from his coat pocket and handed it to Frank.
The bartender opened it to find a slightly chipped lump of sugar.
|photo from flick.com/goolge images|
shrugged, he thought he’d seen everything working in this midtown dive, but
these three take the cake.
Frank.” Louie shouted,
holding up his empty martini glass. “One more for the road, if you please.”
now, Louie,” Frank warned. He scooped ice into the fountain, added water, and
set it aside to drip over the absinthe, then he walked to the other end of the
bar where Louie Fritz was empting his bowl of nuts faster than Frank could fill
it. His martini glass now sat upside down on his napkin, the toothpick balanced
on the bridge of his nose.
hated Louie; he hated his juvenile antics. He wished the jerk would just ask
for another drink like the normal deadbeats who kept the vinyl-covered
Louie called over the sound of Frank rattling gin and ice in the shaker. “You
guys new in town?”
it off,” Frank said.
be a weirdo convention going on.” Louie picked up his glass and walked over to
join the threesome. The tall guy sipped his cloudy drink.
Louie stuck out his hand, “I’m Louie Fritz.”
know," Absinthe said. “You come in here everyday after your shift at the shirt
factory. You drink four martinis, stumble home to your apartment in Hells
Kitchen, feed your gray cat, heat up a can of beef stew for your dinner, then
fall asleep in front of the TV. You own nothing whatsoever of value.”
forget about that gold watch in his right pocket,” the guy drinking the beer
you guys some sort of psychos?”
psychics, Louie,” Frank said.
no, mon ami, that family heirloom is no longer is his pocket. It is gone,” said the dapper little man.
right,” Absinthe said. “He lost it a few days ago.”
the little Frenchman and the fat guy think they know what’s in my pockets,” Louie huffed.
not insult me, monsieur. I am certainly not French. Is it not most obvious I am
downed his martini. “I’ve heard enough.” He grabbed his hat and left.
for getting rid of that guy,” Frank said. “He’s in here every afternoon
annoying anyone who comes in the door. But how did you guys know all about
His coat was covered with white lint, hence spending all day across the street
at the Levine Shirt Factory. One only needs to walk by the factory when someone
opens the door, and one will see the lint bellowing out. He had three
toothpicks lined up on his napkin and since he asked you to make him one more
martini, that makes four. He wobbled over here and surely he will wobble home.
The nearest apartments are a couple of blocks way in the Hells Kitchen district
and a man who indulged in that much gin would not bother to frequent a
bar too far away from where he lives.”
Englishmen are such show offs,” the beer drinker said.
him finish, Monsieur, you will have a chance to, how do you Americans say,
strut your stuff another day.” The Belguim said. “You were saying, Monsieur
Englishmen. Zee gray cat, beef stew, and zee TV.”
yes, his tie was covered in fine gray hairs that could only come from a
domestic feline creature. The brown and red stains on his threadbare shirt had
spread into an oily smear from his attempt to clean them. A man of his caliber
does not spend his evenings at the theatre or reading a book, and not many
females would bother with a sloppy, untidy fellow like him. That leaves the
American TV as his sole form of nightly entertainment, that and cuddling his cat. Since clothing factories
pay very little, he would not have enough left from his paycheck to purchase expensive steaks for dinner. A can of stew, after filling up on bar nuts, would satisfy his
belly. Nor could he afford to buy the finer things in life. The pocketwatch
you mentioned had to have come from a close relative.”
The beer drinker merely grumbled.
how did you know he used to carry it in his right pocket before he lost it?”
you care to finish the tale?” the Englishmen said to the beer drinker.
doing such a fine job, continue.”
well. Your Mister Louie reached into his right pocket several times and came up
empty handed. He then glanced at the clock over the bar since he no longer
had his watch to tell him the time. Old habits are hard to break.”
true,” Frank said. “But he could have pawned the watch.”
hole in the bottom of his pocket leads me to believe otherwise.”
heard enough,” the beer drinker said. “I must get back to the nursery. This outing is a waste of my time.”
Belgium reached for his money purse.
your money. Let the stingy fat man pay this time,” the Englishmen said.