The Gun-Metal Blues
Bar-Room Blitz [sic]
Oh I see a man in the back,
As a matter of fact his
Eyes are as red as the sun.
And the girl in the corner
Let no-one ignore her
Because she thinks she’s
The passionate one!
Oh, yeah! It was like lightning!
Everybody was frightening!
Water poured from the fire-sprinklers in a jet-stream of heavy rain. The siren is loud and jagged—it is a high-pitched blare that rattles teeth and penetrates eardrums. The long sleeves of Sam’s white shirt were damp and heavy, the fabric soaked and nearly translucent with moisture. All else is completely saturated; a shallow pool has formed on the floor that is deep enough to seep through shoe-soles.
Sam slides across the floor on his knees and lashes out for his gun with one hand. He has time to wonder why the shooting has stopped, and when he turns to look down the barrel he sees the table. It is marred by scorch marks that streak across in wide, black smudges. The men that had been shooting at him before were occupied by a curious sort of dance—they hop around while stripping off their jackets, patting themselves down and blinking shards of glass out of their eyes.
Despite the siren, a strange silence creeps across the bar. Except that it is not a quiet silence, but rather the silence of stillness. It is a loud, calm and motionless silence overwhelmed by the caterwaul of alarm bells. And then the still-frame is broken by movement at every turn that is both instantaneous and simultaneous, such that what happened next appeared to have been synchronized.
Sam didn’t understand why it happened—or how—maybe all the guys that come to a joint like this were spoiling for a fight and just looking for an excuse.
There was a man in a bowler hat sitting at a booth by himself; he reached into his vest to pull out a machine-pistol. At the same time, a woman at a table facing his stood up and upended the table she sat at. She wore a red sideswipe dress that matched the color of her ruby lipstick—her mascara was running down her face in blue rivulets like watered down dye. She was reaching for the pistol that was tucked away beneath her garter.
Joe came bursting through the swinging door that lead to the kitchen. He held an old-fashioned double-barreled shotgun in his hands—and antique by the look of it—and a roll of dimes had been poured down both barrels. He aimed the monster at no-one in particular and at the room in general. He squeezed both triggers and the hammers started to fall.
At the jukebox, the man in the baseball cap holds a grenade in each hand. The pins are pulled and his pitch goes wide, so that they are sent sailing toward the business men in the corner. They are mid-arch as Joe pulls the trigger, as the man in the bowler hat pulls out his pistol, as the woman in the red dress reaches for her garter, as the businessmen rise with their company issued submachine guns.
The hammers fall, triggers are pulled and there is busting glass and shattered wood; the sharp fire-cracker bang of gunfire and the whizz of ricochets. Dimes glitter in the air, shimmering in the sparkle of neon—bullets spray in a torrent that is consistent with the jet from the fire-sprinklers. There is the overpowering THAWUMP of grenades cooking off. A table and a set of chairs fly in the air, so does a hand.
Wordless, Sam looked to Natasha. She had been screaming for him to
But he had not realized it until now. His hand is grabbed by hers and through the exit they go.
CharlotteCarrendar: – Doors burst outwards with Natasha practically dragging a bedraggled Sam with her out into the dark alley. A blinking overhead street light offers an ominous glow to the unlikely pair that had just escaped a gun battle, the likes of which were reminiscent of the old western movies. It was not exactly what Natasha had expected on meeting her contact, but the city had long lost its innocence years ago.
The swirl of cool night air tossed about newspapers and rubbish, while an alley cat cleaned itself atop a dumpster, totally oblivious to the death and destruction happening within the small bar. No doubt few would survive to speak of the events of this night. Perhaps only corporation investigators would pick up any clues. Natasha simply couldn’t afford that to happen, and reached within her jacket, taking out a small sphere, which she simply slid back a switch and then tossed it through the open doors. There would be but a few seconds, but she made sure she got a good head start with Sam in tow. There was a loud click, then the vacuum of sound, like a jet engine in reverse as a pulse of sheer energy erupted into a blue fireball, that completely wiped out what was left of the bar, and much of the building above it. A warehouse. Thankfully empty.
As the pair ran from the crime scene, the distant wail of sirens alerted her that the Calvary was coming. Did nothing escape the watch of the corporate satellite eyes?
Running out onto the main strip, towering columns showed cheesy advertisements for products condoned by the corporation. Soda, cell phones, scantily clad women from the lavish fight clubs – their bodies perfectly sculpted and large neon letters enticing you to want to find out more about it. This was how the corporation did much of its propaganda; luring the unsuspecting on false promises of gratuitous sexual pursuits mixed with sports.
The streets were still teeming with pedestrians in a town that never sleeps. In a crowd like this it is easy to blend in, and this was when Natasha slowed her running, finally releasing Sam’s hand. She turned the corner and came to the back alley entrance of a Chinese restaurant, with a gawdy looking lion statue just outside its doors.
”In here.” She urged her companion, pushing through the gold lame string tassle curtain, only to see a small Chinese lady in a red ceremonial dress bow to the Russian. She pointed to the stair well, that went up, and Natasha wordless acknowledged her, before leading Sam up the stairs. There was a long corridor with rooms marked in gold lettering. Coming to the one marked 13A, she took out a keyring, and flicked through them, till finding the right one, and pushed it in the lock, while checking up and down the corridor for anyone coming. Thankfully, this place was off the radar. The lock turned, and she pushed the door open, motioning for Sam to enter.
Inside was a small apartment, much of which had white sheets covering the furniture, and at the far end a window with old style venation blinds. Natasha went across and peered between the slats at the street below. Sure enough, two patrol cars whizzed past on their way to the ruins of the club. The Russian released the blind with a snap, and turned on her heel, leaning back against the window frame. She took out her packet of cigarettes, only to tip the packet and have water dribble out onto the carpet.
She tossed the sodden packet in a nearby waste paper bin, and then folded her arms, staring at Sam. It was clear to see, she was riled about what took place at the bar.
”Carez to…er.. explainz about your…friendz?”