A Little More About Nick PT Barnum
All In A Day's Work
Later that night, Nick Barnum drove down to the strip club as promised. He parked across
the street in a no parking zone. He quickly got out of the cold and into the club. There were only a hand full of patrons and six dancers. He knew that the club catered to men who wanted to buy girls for sex. Their stage show was horrible, no girls were dancing to the tune of the music playing.
Johnny Davis was the neighborhood bad-ass. He was sitting with two dancers at a small
table in the rear. He was an arrogant pimp want to be who had been arrested before for beating up an elderly man senseless. The old man lost the use of his left eye in that beating. The attack was inflicted because the victim saw him pushing around a young boy on the street and had the nerve to tell him to leave the child alone.
Nick walked up to the bar and ordered a beer.
"You buying?" asked the young bar maid as she winked at Nick.
"I just ordered," Nick replied.
"I mean girls," she corrected.
"No, I’m here to see Anthony Smalls."
"Are you a cop?"
"No, just a friend."
She smiled and disappeared quickly to the backroom.
A young woman stood her ground at the end of the bar. She was going to approach
Nick Barnum, but she stopped when she saw Rifleman. He was leaning against a wooden rail,
centered between the pinball machine and the pool table. Neither one of them was being used. Rifleman looked much different than Nick remembered. His hair was gray, and his body
was completely out of shape. He really let himself go Nick thought.
It was a slow weeknight, that the staff outnumbered the patrons. Rifleman walked up,
bellying up on the stool next to Nick Barnum.
"What brings your tired ass in here?" he asked.
"Well, it’s good to see you too," Nick replied.
"I hope you not here for those pigs?"
"I’m here to see you," Nick said. "How are things going now that I see you’re on your
own without having Willie the Greek looking over your shoulder. I bet that’s a big relief."
"So what are you doing?"
"Stuff," he half mumbled.
"What kind of stuff?"
"You know, all kinds of shit."
"Thank you for clearing that up."
"Okay," Nick said as he ordered another beer. "Do you want a beer."
"Don’t need your beer."
"But I want you to finish that, and leave."
"Maybe I want to buy one of your girls."
There was nothing so amusingly pathetic as when conversations descend into vague
muttering. Words without genuine affection became comically perverted. Nick was tired of
throwing in compliments when he was actually thinking of insults.
"I want to buy Sadie Moore, or Marlene Ramirez."
"You know what happened to them,"he grumbled.
Johnny Davis walked behind Nick Barnum and stood there with his arms crossed. "You
need some help Rifleman?"
Nick slowly turned around and just took a quick glimpse at Davis before he turned his
full attention back to Rifleman.
"No, we cool."
Davis walked away.
"You saved that man’s life," Nick said. "I came so close to beating the shit out of him."
"So, back to Marlene and Sadie."
"Come on, this February night, two friends, conversations, beer, what else could you ask
"Maybe I can introduce you to Chubby Checker."
"Turn around Nick."
Nick slowly turned around only to come face to face with two bouncers. They were as
big as steroid using wrestlers. Their muscles were so stacked that it looked as if they were trying to rip out of their skin. The bouncers were so black that for a moment Nick thought that they were merely entrances to caves.
"Chubby Johnson is on your left, and Checker Smith is on your right," Rifleman mused.
"Chubby Checker, nice play on words."
"So do you still want to talk about Moore and Ramirez?"
"As a matter of fact. I do."
"But hold on for a minute," Nick said. "I need to take care of Chubby and Checker."
Rifleman looked confused.
Nick Barnum glanced over at the bouncers, who seemed to hesitate for a moment. That
was their mistake. Nick smashed Chubby closed fist into his nose and grabbed Checker and
smashed him head first into the bar knocking him out cold. Chubby came back toward Nick but
immediately felt the knuckles again. Nick had knocked him out cold too.
Rifleman had a gun pointed at the private eye.
"Yours," Rifleman smiled.
"You were so busy dancing with my men, you didn’t see me peel it off you."
"Oh, you’re good my friend, not like your twisted bouncers."
"Give me a good reason why I shouldn’t kill you," he said as he pointed the gun
directly at Nick’s head.
"Well, I’m lovable, friendly, great conversationalist. Lets see, well Pete and Victor know
I’m here talking to you. So a murder wrap would certainly come your way. But the most
important reason is that my gun is not loaded. I never carry it loaded. So you’re gonna have to
ask yourself one thing. Do you want to die? Because if you pull that trigger to my empty gun,
I’ll consider it self-defense, and break your neck."
He slowly handed the gun back to Nick Barnum.
Chubby got up wielding a switch blade and hurried toward the private eye. Nick quickly
shot him in the thigh.
"You said that gun was empty!" Rifleman shouted.
"Oh yeah, I’m a liar too."
Rifleman almost huffed.
"Now back to Marlene and Sadie."
Nick PT Barnum
© 2011 Frank Atanacio
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