General Fiction posted May 15, 2017


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A man is offered a last chance

Play it

by oliver818


The author has placed a warning on this post for violence.
The author has placed a warning on this post for language.

Sweat beads clung to his naked body as his large hands thrust empty beer bottles and dirty underwear off the bed. The moist sheets had slipped up exposing the fetid yellow stains on the mattress, but he finally found the vibrating phone wrapped up inside a cigarette-burnt corner of the blanket. His eyes were wide as he stared at the buzzing phone.

Johnny calling.

His eyes ran over the dusty edges of his guitar case, sitting unopened in the corner of the room. How long had he been waiting for this call?

"Johnny."

"Bill? Hey Bill, how you doing? Long time no see."

"Johnny, it's been six months, man. I rang you every day in July and you never picked up once, and now you call me asking how I am? What the fuck?"

"What can I say, Bill, people have long memories."

"I, you gotta get me something. I got twenty bucks left. I'm about to get kicked out of the shittiest room in the city, and I don't have anywhere else to go."

"Okay, settle down, Bill. I know, it's been hard. But you fucked up big time. Are you off the booze?"

Bill's head turned slowly, examining the room. The scattering of cans was definitely less than it used to be, probably because he couldn't afford to drink anymore.

"Yeah, I'm dry, Johnny."

"You better not be lying to me, Bill. Because I'm taking a risk here, putting you out there again."

"I know, Johnny. And I'm grateful, really grateful. Who is it?"

"Lionel's group."

"The Funk Debunker's? They want me back?"

"Want you back is a bit strong, Johnny, they're willing to give you a second chance. Their bass guitarist broke his wrist, and they're desperate and you know the music. You do this right, you're back in. Be at White's Club at four."

"Thank you Johnny, thank you."

"It's three hundred for the night, plus free booze- that you're not going to drink, are you Bill?"

"Trust me, Johnny, I need this. I won't fuck it up."

The phone went silent, and a smile slowly crept over his lips. This is it, he thought to himself, this was what he had been waiting for. Six months of boozing and wasting his life was over. Now he was going to pull himself together. The guitar case creaked as he swung it open. The cool metal strings vibrated as his finger ran over them.

His head snapped up as something cracked hard at the door.

"Bill, you lazy bastard, open up."

Bill's fingers snaked through his hair.

"Just a minute, Dave, I'm getting dressed."

His hands roamed over and under clinking bottles until they found a pair a trousers and a shirt. His sockless feet slipped into the cold leather shoes that lay by the door.

As he opened the door, the crinkled twenty pricked at his palm, the hard handle of the guitar case in the other.

"Dave, long time no see."

"I know Bill. That's the problem."

"I've got a job this afternoon. I can give you twenty now and two hundred tomorrow. Come on, Dave, please."

"No, Bill. Pack your stuff, and get the fuck out of here."

Dave's nose exploded in red as the guitar case smacked into it. Bill pushed himself towards the staircase but stopped when he found himself face to face with a pistol.

"Police, down on the floor, now."

The wood of the corridor was hard under his knees, and the handcuffs bit deeply as they slid around his wrists.

"Well, at least now I don't need to find another place to live," he said to no one in particular.


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Artwork by Liilia at FanArtReview.com

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