Five.

Mann

I got to The Well at eight. Gina was alone at our table. “Hey,” she said as I sat down.

“Off tonight, huh?”

“Yeah…Hey, I heard from Joe.”

“When? How’s he doing?”

“Ok. He needed info from his Mom but she wasn’t home so he called me. Still thinks he can get out soon.”

“ Cool.” I thought about going to see him, but couldn’t. The idea of going back, even to visit, churned my guts. Literally. The thought of prison food, that slop they served us, I could still taste it, and I’d been out for months. All tasted the same. Like snot. Smelled the same, too. Like snot. And it kept my gut in a knot for the two years I was in. Didn’t bother Joe none, but he had more practice eating it.

I took a drink of beer and scanned the bar. Crowded, but I knew most of the people. Vagrants. Dudes mostly. Couple of chicks. One or two cute. But mostly dudes. Then I looked over at the pool table. Brown hair. Shooting pool. Couldn’t see her clearly at first. But there was something. I didn’t know her. I could feel it. I watched the back of her head as she took a shot. Still couldn’t see her body though. Some dude was blocking my view.

She leaned over the table to line up her next shot. I watched her elbow draw back, push forward. Heard the ball drop. She stood and re-chalked her cue. “Daammmmnn,” I said when her hair fell from her face. I felt like I got slapped in the head. I was louder than I thought, but couldn’t help it. It just slipped out. She glanced over, smiled at Gina, then turned back to the table.

“Who’s that?” I glanced at Gina.

She laughed. “That’s Sadie.” We both looked back at her. “You know, the biker chick I met in Florida while I was hiding out.” I was still staring at Sadie. “Told you she was hot.”

“Hot, huh?” I shot a glare at Gina, then turned back to Sadie. She was running the table as a crowd of guys watched. She dropped three balls, then sank the eight ball and laid down the cue. A dude handed her money as she waved off his buddy asking her to shoot again, then she walked over to us. My body started to tingle. I’d never tingled before, didn’t even know what it meant until now.

My whole body was vibrating when she reached our table. I was worried she would notice. My balls were tingling. I couldn’t believe it. I reached under the table and made a cross with my fingers hoping to conger some protection. When she got close enough to smell, I almost blacked out.

“Sadie, this is Mann.”

“Hey,” Sadie turned her head from Gina to me. When our eyes met I thought I would piss my pants. I swear to God I saw the universe in those brown eyes. They were clear and powerful, and they scared the hell out of me.

I held my stare too long, then weakly replied, “Hey.” It sounded more like a question. I glanced at the table to break my stare, then slid my chair over to make room.

“Thanks,” she said touching my shoulder and lighting fireworks in my groin that I was certain would explode down my leg. “I’m going to grab a beer first. You guys want anything?”

“No. I’m cool.”

“No, thanks.” Again it sounded like a question.

I couldn’t look away. She was beautiful, but there was so much more, something fresh and real. Something I didn’t understand, but something I needed. As I watched, I started to daydream, as usual. But it was more than a daydream. It felt like a premonition: Sadie in a parking lot of a beach on the West Coast, sitting on her Harley and looking out at the setting sun. Her jacket unzipped and a pacific breeze blowing through her hair. It was like a shampoo commercial. She has just arrived after a long journey and feels like she is home. I can see her face from where I am standing, in the sand with my back to the ocean. She smiles and gets off of her Harley, starts walking to me, still smiling…

Gina interrupted, “Are you daydreaming again?” She saw me staring at Sadie’s ass. “Don’t let her catch you. She loves an excuse to kick a guy’s ass.” Gina pointed at me with her beer bottle before taking a drink.

“She’s a badass, huh?” I asked, trying to clear my head.

“Wait ‘til you see her in action. Knowing Sadie, shouldn’t take too long.”

I looked back at the bar. She was incredible. I felt small just looking at her. She was way out of my league. I wouldn’t know what to do with her. I couldn’t even think of what to say to her. I knew one thing for sure, I was definitely not her type. I knew when I saw her, she was Crazy Joe’s kind of woman: wild, untamable, and in need of the same. A regular guy wouldn’t have a chance. He’d get charred to a cinder near someone that hot. It would be like flying too close to the sun, then looking directly at it. “You couldn’t do it…”

“What?”

“Huh?” I said, looking at Gina looking at me.

“What were you saying?”

“Me? Nothing.” Gina just looked at me. She did that sometimes. I looked back at Sadie and finished my thought. When she crossed the bar all the dudes glanced at her then lowered their eyes. After she passed they looked up and stared, mostly at her tits. Who could blame them. They were awesome. Her ass was pretty incredible too. And her legs and her hair…

“What are you looking at?” Sadie growled. I froze. I thought she was talking to me. I thought she caught me staring at her ass. But when I looked up, she was looking at a biker standing by her at the bar. I relaxed when I saw she wasn’t talking to me, but tensed again when I saw who she was talking to. The dude was seven feet tall and four hundred pounds. His arms were bigger than my legs. I stood up, not sure what I could do, but willing to help.

I hated fighting these big fuckers. You have to hit them so hard just to get past all the fat. And while you’re trying to fight, they’re just trying to grab you and squash you. But I needed to do something. Maybe just talk to him. As I got up, Gina touched my arm and motioned to sit back down. I was confused, not sure what she meant. She didn’t believe that Sadie could handle this big fucker? And it didn’t appear that Sadie was trying to talk her way out of it.

“What the fuck are you looking at?” Sadie faced the drooling biker.

“Your tits.” He said without looking up. His teeth were rotten and his eyes bloodshot. He ran a greasy hand through his matted greasy hair, then took a shot of whiskey. He banged the glass on the bar and groaned from the burn. His face flushed as he looked back at Sadie’s tits. “Girlie,” he rasped as he leaned toward her, “you got great…”

Sadie punched him in his rotten teeth. He staggered back a step. Someone steadied him. He touched his mouth, felt the warmth as the bleeding started. He tasted the blood then smiled again. “I like ‘em rough.” Then he laughed and patted his grimy jeans as if calling a dog. “Bring those tits over here.”

Sadie sent a bottle instead, right upside his head. Then she kicked his knee and dropped him to the floor. He landed on both knees facing her. She followed with an upper cut to the nose that put him flat on his back.

“Jerk.” She said, rubbing her fist and stepping up to order another beer.

“This one’s on me,” Nick said as he slid the bottle across the bar.

“Thanks, Hon.” She nodded to Nick, then upended the bottle. Yup, Crazy Joe’s kind of woman.

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