Friday, June 13, 2008

A Night on the Town

Writing Prompt: A man goes into a bar.....

Richard sat up and swung his feet over the bedside in one movement at the sound of his cell phone ringing. He answered instantly, not bothering to check the caller ID.

“Richard, old buddy!” the slurred, loud voice of Craig, his co-worker echoed over the phone. “Ole Jim has got himself in a pickle and you gotta come down here at help me talk him out of this! Can you hear me, Richard?”

“I hear you, Craig. What’s wrong with Jim?”

“He’s gone crazy, Richard, crazy! I can’t get Jim out of this place, Richard. He won’t leave without Precious,” Craig continued to slur loudly.

“Who’s Precious and where are you?” Richard asked as he began getting dressed.

Craig told Richard where they were. “We were just havin’ a little fun and then Jim just gets all wound up with this little cutie and says he wants to take her home with him. And you know his wife won’t like that, Richard, you know that!”

“You were just going out for a few drinks. How did you end up at …? Never mind. Do you know what street …? Craig? Craig!”

The phone was dead.

Richard ran to the front desk and asked the clerk to print online directions to a place he never thought he would know of much less enter.

After years of watching intelligent people become uninhibited and obnoxious he began excusing himself from the night on the town invitations from business associates. But he’d never had to rescue anyone before.

As he stood in front of the bar he wondered what he would find. Richard took a deep breath and stepped inside. It was darker inside than it was outside.

A long wooden bar lay directly ahead of him dotted with little bowls of snacks and tall glasses no doubt of inebriating liquid. It was worse than he imagined. The opposite wall was cages. His stomach began to roll. He thought he was going to wretch any minute. He swallowed hard, knowing he had to find Jim and Craig. His eyes darted from table to table hoping he wouldn’t see what he was expecting.

Richard didn’t’ want to go toward the cages on the far wall. He didn’t want to see what was there. But he couldn’t see Jim or Craig so he had to move further in.

“Richard, old buddy! I knew we could count on you! Jim, look who’s here! It’s Richard.” Craig bellowed.

Richard couldn’t believe his eyes. Back in the corner, by the last cage was Jim clinging to the bars as though they were his life preserver. Richard guarded his eyes as he made his way back to Jim. Jim turned his tear drenched eyes toward Richard.

“I just can’t leave her here, Richard, I love her,” Jim slurred and cried. “She’s so beautiful.”

Reluctantly Richard looked in the cage. And there alone sat Precious. The cutest white, fluffy kitten he’d ever seen. Richard looked around. There were kittens everywhere. The bowls of snacks on the bar and tables were dried cat kibbles. Above the bar was a sign:
The Kitten Club: The Purrfect Place for Cat Lovers.

“Very funny, guys,” Richard said annoyed. “You woke me up at 2:00 a.m. and drug me down here for a big joke?”

“It’s no joke, Richard,” Craig slurred, “Jim really won’t leave without Precious and I can’t get him to let go of her cage. Really! He won’t budge!”

“Come on, guys, let’s go back to the hotel and get some sleep.”

“No, no, Richard, I can’t leave Precious in jail. She’s all alone. I’m not leaving without her and that’s final,” Jim stomped his foot and waved his arms emphatically, which caused him to let go of the bars.

Richard seized the opportunity and drug Jim though the bar as Jim promised Precious he would return and spring her from this stinkin’ joint. Craig stumbled along behind.

Jim was wailing as Richard buckled him in the car, “Richard, don’t leave her here. She needs me and I need her. Please Richard!”

The next morning Jim and Craig met Richard at the front desk sporting dark glasses and Jim sneezing every few seconds.

“You missed a great time last night, Richard, great time,” Jim boasted between sneezes. “Right Craig?”

Craig groaned, “Yeah, yeah, a great time.”

Much to Richard’s amusement neither Jim nor Craig remembered their adventure and Jim never figured out why his allergies were bothering him so.