Feel The Burn

So, yeah… where was I?

I’m kidding, of course, because I don’t know what else to do.

To reiterate: I didn’t know what else to do.

What would you do if you were standing behind a bar, and your mother was brandishing a broken bottle, raring to wound one of your friends?  Okay, maybe now that I’ve been “scared straight,” I would react more rationally than lighting the place on fire.

Immediately after it happened, I remember feeling like I left my body and was slowly returning to myself.  H.L. grabbed my arm and pulled me out from behind the wall of flames.  I didn’t see my mom or Kilgore anymore.  And Hank tried to extinguish the blaze with a soda gun.

Hank, let the professionals take care of it.  They’re already here.  H.L.was an exercise in calm.  It was like he had been through it all before.

As we reached outside, an ambulance and a fire truck pulled into the parking lot.  Kilgore tended to my mom by her car.  She was crying.

How did they get here so fast? Hank wondered allowed since I was unable to speak.

Again, H.L. had all the answers.  I had a hunch and called them twenty minutes ago.

Fire fighters rushed in.  Their hose drew a line between me and my mom.

That was fucking stupid, you know.

Hank didn’t have to tell me twice.  But he did anyway.

That was really fucking stupid.

When the police arrived, they asked for everyone’s story.  And who knows what they said besides them.  Every tale has more than one version, and the elusive one is the truth.

As the cops placed me in the backseat of their car to be taken away, I felt an extreme calm.  Then I felt extremely clammy.  It all started to sink in.  Everything.  The breakup.  The hook up.  The knock up.  The fuck up that was setting Marlin’s Inn on fire.

Prior to departure, Hank nudged the officer guarding me so he could talk to me.  The officer obliged and opened the passenger door so Hank could take a seat.

Hey kid, he said, without tone or irony.

I sighed, ready to talk, but he continued instead.

That took balls.  And I’m not condoning your actions by any means, but you diffused a bomb.  Things could have went worse, I take it.

I couldn’t look him in the eye, and neither could he until he said this:

I’ll get you outta this mess.  I’ll personally see to it.

Without another word or gesture, he popped out of the squad car and shut the door.  At this point, everyone was leaving… the ambulance, the fire truck, the guys, my mom.

Just as Santiago was pulling up.  I watched him as he walked over to Hank, and from the looks of things, Hank explained everything to him.  Santiago appeared worried, and surprised.  He covered his mouth in shock.  And then Hank pointed at me in the backseat.  Santiago’s stare burned right through me.

I called out to the officer.  “Can we go now!”

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Catching Up And Catsup Bottles

Luckily, less than a handful of patrons frequent the Marlin’s Inn, so I doubt anyone’s noticed that it’s been closed for two weeks.  The reason being?  I will get to that in a moment.

Since my last posting occurred awhile ago, I feel I need to catch you up on things.  The reason I haven’t been writing?  I will get to that in a moment as well.

The day: a couple Saturday’s ago.
The time: early evening.
The occasion: Santiago (in my mind) was seeking out the love of his life.
The problem: I was left in charge of watching the bar.
The bigger problem: it was my mom’s birthday and I cancelled our plans.
The biggest problem: Mom didn’t like that.

As she burst into this safe-haven for drunkards and old men, neither group being mutually exclusive, Hank was berating me.  In reality, I overstepped my bounds with him by bringing up the possibility that his girlfriend, Grace, left him.  Not one to recoil from a slight or a fight, he became angry with me just as my matriarch walked in.

She said to Hank: If you ever threaten my son again, you’ll be leaving in coffee cans.

To which Hank replied: You must have me confused with Maxwell House.

I’ll still admit that was a pretty good comeback, and at the time, I laughed under my breath.  I didn’t dare let either of those titans hear me.

You’re coming with me, Aiden, right this minute.  Mom remained firm in her place and firm in her decision.

Sorry to inform you, but Aiden ain’t going nowhere.  He’s got work to do.  Hank slammed his beer and handed the mug to me.  Of all the times for him not to do it himself.

Do you work here, Aiden?

He’s filling in.

Why don’t you mind your own business?

This place is my business.

I turned to Kilgore and then to H.L. for any sign of confirmation.  Each of them shrugged.  Did Hank own Marlin’s Inn?

Mom hurried into the adjacent room, grabbed a pool cue, and held it like a weapon.  H.L. did something similar to me one time.

Son of a bitch, you let my son go.  As if I was being held hostage.

Hank must have been hankering to say this:

Funny you should say “son of a bitch…”

This is when things get a little fuzzy.  From one of the tables, Mom grabbed a catsup bottle and crashed it over the top.  And it triggered something in me… like in that one movie where the director throws a garbage can through a window.

I grabbed the cheapest liquor and splashed it across the lacquered bar.  From the glass full of matchbooks, I plucked one out and lit it.  The fire spread quickly.

From what I’ve ascertained, Kilgore escorted my mom out of the Inn; H.L. and Hank lead me.

So to answer the first question at the start:  repairs have kept Marlin’s Inn closed for two weeks.  

To answer the second: I’ve been behind bars…

…you know what kind I mean.