General Fiction posted March 15, 2019

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Story of some women's lives

That's What Friends Are For Isn't It

by Gail Denham

"You've been here awhile." Heather smiled and moved down four stools to where a lone woman sat at the bar. "Nowhere to go either? Or did your old man do the dirty again. I noticed your black eye."

"No, well, yes, but it's a long story." Emily slid her glass to the bar tender. "One more please."

"Come on, honey." Heather signaled for another drink. "I know that road. Been down it half dozen times. You trust 'em, even love them and whammo! One night he comes home so high he's outa' his head. You realize you made a big mistake."

"Sure." Emily sipped her drink. "I know. But this time I really did it."

"What happened? Oh by the way, I'm Heather. What's yours?"

"Emily." Emily swirled her drink, then turned. "Look Heather," Emily said. "No offense but I think I better finish up and leave. Nice talking to you."

"Wait," Heather said. "Something's really bothering you. Want to talk?" She laid her hand on Emily's arm. "Get it off your chest."

"I can't." Emily finished her drink. "I got things to finish up." She laid a bill on the counter.

"Come on, Emily. It's just you and me and the guy behind the bar. You need a friend. I ain't going nowhere soon."

Emily stood and pulled on her jacket. Heather noticed it was an expensive make, but something had been spilled on the front and on one sleeve.

Suddenly Emily planted her feet on the dusty floor and sighed. "Ok, you asked for it," she said. "Anyway I could use some advice. When the bum came home tonight he was higher than a runaway hot air balloon. Never seen him this bad.

"He started right up. Shoved me into the counter while I tried to dish up his supper. 'Course I answered back. "Hey. I fixed you a nice pork chop and my best potato casserole. You could at least say 'thanks'.

"That made him more angry. He flung his chair down and started punching. I've been through this too many times. I picked up my iron skillet. I hit him on the side of his head so hard I probably dented the pan."

"Shhh," Heather pulled Emily's arm. "Let's go over here where it's more private." They sat in a corner booth. "Did he get up?"

"Emily leaned against the table, her head down. "He fell like a rock, blood spurting off his head and even out his nose. He looked at me real strange. Then his eyes closed." Emily gulped. "I felt for his pulse. There wasn't any. I knew I'd finally done it.

"I was so scared. I left him there, flicked off the kitchen light and ran over here." She began to shake like she was freezing cold.

Heather put down her glass and laid her hand over Emily's shaking fist. "It's ok, hon. It was self defense wasn't it?"

"What shall I do?" Emily was crying now. "I've been praying for an answer. I killed him. Sure he was mean, but there were some good times." Her breath come in huge gasps.

"Look," Heather said. "I know you didn't mean to kill him. Let me think a minute."

There was silence except for Emily's sobs. "I can help you I think," Heather said. "I'll drive you home. I know a place where we can take him. You can call his boss tomorrow and say he skipped town. It's the easiest way."

Emily stared, a fixed scared look. Heather pulled her arm and led her outside. She sincerely wanted to help this kid. She knew what it was like. Now they would do the simplest thing. "Where do you live?"

"Down main," Emily said quietly. "I'll show you. Why are you helping me? We just met."

"I know what you're going through. Besides we're friend now, aren't we? We'll roll the bum up in a carpet or some blankets, load him in the trunk and drive him down..."

"Really," Emily said. "You sure this is what I should do? Maybe I should call the police. It was self defense after all."

"Oh and you need to ditch that jacket," Heather continued, ignoring Emily's words. "It's got blood on it. And you can clean the kitchen later."

Emily sat quietly. Her crying slowed to hiccups. "The police wouldn't believe you anyway," Heather said. "You know that. Besides this is what friends are for. Don't worry now. Let's get it done."

Heather would never share her own secret. Not ever. The secret she'd hidden for so many years. She knew the perfect spot all right. No one would ever find the bum's body. We gals have to stick together, she thought.

As they left, the bartender stood watching. Slowly he turned out the lights. He wiped the bar a couple times and shook his head. He got all kinds down here late at night.

Two women sit at a deserted bar writing prompt entry
Writing Prompt
Write a story using the premise two woman sit at an otherwise deserted bar. They share a secret. They strike up a friendship.

Now I sure wouldn't recommend Heather's "help". However, women are battered too much and keep quiet. They will not reach out for help. And that should not be. The iron skillet isn't the answer - but packing a bag and leaving, even changing your name would be a better option.
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by avmurray at

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© Copyright 2019. Gail Denham All rights reserved.
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