Short story originally written in 2015. Full PDF included at bottom.

Harris’ Money, or the Story of How I Became a Deputy Bartender

The amount of light in this bar is conducive to a nice stabbing.  The place has been slowly emptying out for the last hour, the patrons drunkenly climbing into their cars to weave home and sleep it off before the sun returns to remind them how unnecessarily bright the world seems with a hangover.  The only warm bodies still left in the bar aside from myself are the barkeep and a slumped-over old man who’s been holding onto the same half-empty mug of beer for at least an hour.

“All right buddy, finish it up, I gotta close.”

That’s the problem with the world today: not enough bars willing to stay open long enough to drink yourself to death.  Pity.  The last drink goes down much easier than the first few had, and I toss a few loose dollars onto the cheap wooden bar top.  This place is such a dive that it feels cliché; I seem to find myself in them time and again, so maybe I’m the real cliché in this situation.  At least the bartender stopped the damn jukebox; some asshole paid to play “Wanted Dead or Alive” by Bon Jovi five times running.  By the time he pulled the power cable with a grunt of disgust, the will to live of everyone in this bar had been severely reduced.