Cemetery Street (Chapter 5, page 1 of 10)

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Chapter 5

"Shannie, you've never looked so beautiful," I heard him say over and over. The cadence of his voice resonated like a song whose title I couldn't recall. Where have I heard that voice, I thought staring at the moonlit cemetery. A scantily clad Diane couldn't stop me from obsessing. Why would Count beat the piss out of someone who complimented Shannie. Why was Shannie crying? They wouldn't tell me. Whatever the reason, it ended our night.

"Don't ask," Count said the next morning. We didn't speak all the way to school. At the front door he said, "I'll talk to you later."

After school, I ventured downtown in search of Russell.

"Sorry James," Helen said from behind Wally's counter. "Only two students at a time, you'll have to wait your turn."

"No worries, just looking for Russell."

"Was here for lunch."

"Do you know where he went?"

"Haven't a clue."

"If you see him, tell him I'm looking for him."

"What for?"

"Nothing important," I said pushing open the door. Nosy old hen, I thought leaping Wally's steps to the sidewalk. I passed the empty park bench and stood in front of a sleazy looking taproom named Giorgio's. A block glass window and steel door anchored a nondescript brick façade. On the door, a crud caked window rested above my eye level. I stood on my toes and peered inside. The blue glare of a TV illuminated the bar patrons. I let myself in, heads turned. Three customers nursed afternoon beers. An aging bartender with a cigarette hanging from the corner of his mouth glared at me as he ran a towel over empty glasses.

"Ain't you a little young to be in here?" he asked. Over his shoulder a stuffed deer hung from a noose.

"Looking for Russell," I said. My gaze fixed on the noose.

"We don't serve his kind here."

The patrons went back to watching TV.

I eyed the empty tables along the wall. To my left, the jukebox flashed for attention. A tired pool table stood between the jukebox and the bar. "What kind do you serve?"

He set the glass down. "I don't serve little piss ants. Get out of here before I throw you ass first onto the street."

"Have to catch me first you old fuck."

The patron's attention was back to me and the bartender. "Better watch it boy," the nearest customer warned. "Ole Luther here," he nodded at the bartender, "likes your type. You might make an old man happy." The customers laughed.

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