Two Fingers

 

I’ve been a bartender all my life. Alcohol tends to loosen tongues, and I listen because I’m good at my job. I’ve grown fond of some of my regulars over the years. One in particular, who calls herself Big Momma, is my favorite. The nickname is hilarious because she is a pipsqueak of a woman with arms the size of toothpicks and a narrow face just perfect for looking through the slats in a fence. One might think the cigarettes or whiskey would kill her, but from the bruises, I think her old man might finish the job first.

“What’ll it be, Big Momma?” I already know the answer.

“Two fingers, Bobby, give me two.”

Most folks are headed to work, but I open the doors for Momma and a few others. You’d be surprised how much business I do while I’m restocking the coolers and wiping down the tables. They need a drink, and I need the cash. I keep the Jameson’s handy when Big Momma’s in the house. Her hand shakes as she shoots the first one then slides the tumbler toward me for a refill. With a sigh, she takes a sip ready to savor her habit after breaking her fast.

“Rough morning?”

Big Momma has a whole set of problems and alcoholism is the least of them. “Same shit, different day.” She takes a long drag from her Camel no filter.

“Ralph come home last night?”

“Unfortunately.”

I polish a bar glass waiting for the rest of the story.

“God damned if he could ever be in a good mood.”

“What set him off this time?”

Big Momma drained her glass before answering. “What doesn’t set him off?”

I pour her another. “On the house.”

She raises her glass to me. “You’re my hero.”

***

“What’ll it be, Big Momma?”

“I think I need three fingers this morning, Bobby, give me three.” She doesn’t take off her sunglasses even though the lighting is dim for a reason. There’s an edge to her, shiny and dark like the circle under her eye. Five black ovals mark both biceps. I imagine her bouncing like a ragdoll in his grip.

I pour the whiskey over the ice knowing it won’t have time to get cold. “You want me to call anybody? Family?”

“You know there’s nobody to call.”

I pour another without her asking. “There’s places you can go.”

“Not for me.” Her palsy creates an earthquake in her glass.

Houses for abuse victims don’t allow drinking. Big Momma’s a realist. It’s her bed, and she’s going to lie in it.

***

“What’ll it be, Big Momma?”

She reaches into her purse and sets the revolver on the bar. Her hand is steady as a rock as she caresses the trigger. “I only needed one finger this morning, Bobby.”

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More of my flash fiction? Check these out.

Voodoo Baby

Last Glimpse

The Sky is on Fire

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About angelallindseth

Putting the finishing touches on The Contraption, a dystopian novel dealing with conversion therapy and social inequality. It's The Handmaid's Tale meets Divergent.
This entry was posted in Flash Fiction, my writing, Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Two Fingers

  1. Absolutely love it! Now she’s free 😀 as long as bartender keeps on her side…

    Liked by 1 person

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