Sand City Murders

Sand City Murders by MK Alexander Read Free Book Online

Book: Sand City Murders by MK Alexander Read Free Book Online
Authors: MK Alexander
that a million times and I never noticed that guy had a mustache… Or you’d see some weird vase on a shelf and swore it wasn’t there the night before.
    The building itself was a narrow railroad flat, built in the 1920s, maybe a brick office building once, with a bunch of apartments upstairs. Inside, the bar is long and narrow with two rounded corners, one at the entrance, the other by the side door. Parallel to that were a few booths, partitioned from each other. There was a kitchen at the rear, two bathrooms, a pool table and probably a back door. Partners also had a good jukebox hooked up to the internet, which pretty much meant every song ever sung was accessible. You never knew what you might hear, though most of the time, it seemed to be the same tunes over and over again. Stormy Monday was playing tonight.
    I never met the owner as far as I know, some guy named Diego, or maybe Carlos, but at the end of the bar were some of the regulars, the diehards: Peppy, Hector, and Cecil. The last one, an old guy with a couple of chins and very little hair, seemed to be the ring-leader, or at least he held his liquor the best. They all gave me a glance and a nod. They all sat close to the side door so they might jump out for a quick cigarette, minimizing any interruptions to their drinking. As usual the place was empty aside from them. I should probably introduce you… There’s a whole parade of regulars. They seemed to take turns, and I don’t ever recall seeing them all in one place, on the same night. Maybe it was like shift work, or maybe the bar just wasn’t big enough.
    There was Peppy, Hector and Cecil, sometimes Little Bob, Stan the tan-man, old Danny boy, and Bad Billy, who was last seen walking down the street drinking out of a paper bag. There was Cuz too, short for cousin… and that wasn’t really his name at all. That’s just what he called everybody else, and eventually, that’s what everyone started calling him. Topping off the list was Crazy Mary, laughing all the time, a loud intrusive laugh. She could’ve just as easily been called Happy Mary, I guess, and she came pretty close to looking like a clown, though one from your nightmares. Bright red lipstick, heavy blush and dark mascara. Mary had a drinker’s body, skinny little stick legs, spidery arms, a slender frame and a big pot belly. She was getting closer and closer to achieving UFF status, even by the regulars’ standards, but that was not my call to make. Nor had I ever drank enough to consider this a remote possibility.
    You never knew who else you might run into at Partners, mostly that would be someone who wandered in by accident. I’ve sat down right next to celebrities and not even realized, B-list actors, sports legends, TV stars and obscure writers. Tonight there was no one remotely famous, just Peppy, Hector and Cecil, and maybe a very quiet couple sitting in one of the booths whispering to each other.
     This was my bar for two simple reasons: it was in walking distance from my apartment— make that stumbling distance, and it held my surrogate TV. I wasn’t a big drinker, mostly whatever was on tap. But I’d sit there and watch the games, whatever happened to be on: basketball, baseball, football, it didn’t matter to me. I don’t have a television back in my apartment. I should though, according to the guy at the cable company, if I signed up for phone, internet and television, I’d be paying less than I was for just internet now. It seemed too good to be true. “I don’t have a TV,” I explained again— to yet another new salesperson.
    And Suzy was there too, the bartender. She’d bring me a bite to eat most nights when the kitchen was still open. Partners made a decent bowl of chowder, thick enough so that your spoon stood upright. Oh, and Suzy. She was once a beauty no doubt, bleached blond hair, but somehow she’d let herself go completely. The weight came on and never left. She had to be at least fifty pounds over

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