Mack put his hand on my shoulder and I slumped down pretending I couldn’t stand. He shoved me to the floor, his strength pushing me about ten feet away. In the process I reached into my coat and pulled out my gun, pointing it straight at the two of them. In their defense, neither of them blinked or showed any fear, but still respected it.
“Now, I came here to find Ray,” I said loudly while getting to my feet. “You were friends with him from what I learned, so I figure you know where he may be.”
“We told you,” answered Grady. “He don’t come around here anymore and isn’t welcome.”
“You guys have a falling-out?” I asked.
No response from either. Their faces remained stoic and weren’t giving much away.
“He’s missing, and I figure you two may be involved. I want some answers.”
“You’re digging yourself a hole, friend,” said Mack. “Might be your grave, so if I were you I’d back out and walk away. This isn’t something you want to mess with.”
“And what if I put a bullet in one of you? Will this loosen your tongues?”
Both glanced at each other and started to laugh. Apparently, I didn’t scare them any, my bluff not called.
“You want to fire, go right ahead,” answered Grady. “But if you do, it will only guarantee your own death.”
It looked like we had a standoff and I didn’t care to shoot the place up. I figured leaving my card this time and asking them to call if they saw Ray wouldn’t work with this bunch. I needed to ease my way out.
“OK, I’ll walk out of here. But to make sure you don’t plug me in the back, ask your man at the door to come in here so I can back my way out.”
Mack called out to the man at the door and he ambled in slowly while I kept my gun pointed. If they all rushed me at once I could shoot one or two, but not all three. It was getting time to leave. I stepped carefully to the door keeping an eye in front and another behind. Reaching it, I stepped through when I saw a person and turned. It was the bartender and he tried to grab me, so I punched him with my free hand in the nose as hard as I could. It didn’t stop him and he tackled me to the ground, my gun skidding away. I rolled to push him off me and got to my feet, when another set of arms bear-hugged me, nearly crushing the wind out of me. I stepped down hard on his left foot with my heel and pulled loose, only to be slugged in the face by the bartender, which sent me reeling to the ground. The other person was the doorman; he picked me up and I tried to punch him in the stomach, but couldn’t get enough on it. He used a right-left body combo, knocking the wind out of me this time, dropping me to my knees. Another shot to the side of my jaw laid me out on the cold cement. I was seeing stars but also hearing sirens, or was it angels calling me home to Heaven? I was done and there was nothing to keep them from finishing me off.
“What’s going on?” spoke an amplified voice.
“Nothing, sir,” said someone else. “We were persuading this gentleman to leave. He isn’t welcome and was causing a disturbance.”
“OK, back inside, I’ll take it from here,” said the voice.
A door slammed, followed by footsteps. Someone knelt down beside me and slapped my face to clear my head.
“You OK, buddy,” he asked.
My eyes opened and I saw him there in his pretty dark-blue uniform.
I cleared my throat to speak, but I’m not sure if he heard me before I put my head back down to sleep. “Who says there is never a cop around when you need one?”
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