~~~

“Well… well… well… look who’s here,” the tall string-bean man said walking over to their table with five of his disgusting friends. Mr. Silver stood right behind Mark and looked across at Wendy. “I was just telling my friends what a nasty bunch of shitheads you were, treating me so badly in the street. And all I wanted was a piece of ass.”

Nine looked to Mark.

Mark sighed, turned to look over his shoulder, and said, “What do you want?”

Mr. Silver laughed, moving around the table to stand near Wendy. “Oh, you know damn well what I want. And after what happened earlier, you owe me big time, asshole.”

Wendy recoiled as the smelly man with the beer-stink breath moved closer.

Mark got to his feet, causing Mr. Silver’s friends to step up closer. They were all much larger than Mr. Silver.

“Shit,” Nine muttered under his breath, rolling his eyes at Diane. He also got to his feet to back Mark up.

“I’m sure you don’t want another round of what happened earlier,” Mark threatened. “So, just walk away before this gets ugly.”

Mr. Silver’s eyes went wide with surprise. He laughed, placing a hand on Wendy’s shoulder, and said, “I want what I deserve,” he said, eyeballing Wendy. “I want this little woman and I mean to have her. You just step back, sit the hell down, and me and my boys will just borrow this one for a spell. We’ll just take her out back for a half-an-hour… that’s all. Then we’ll be square for the shit you pulled earlier.”

Diane got out of her chair. “Fuck off, you creep,” she said. “Get away from her before I cut your balls off!”

This made all of Mr. Silver’s friends laugh.

“This one, too,” the creepy man said, smiling at Diane. “She may be missing parts… but I’m sure she’s still got it where it counts.”

“That’s it,” Nine said, stepping out from behind Mark. He pointed at Mr. Silver. “Get out of here, you piece-of-shit, before I shove that silver token up your ass!”

Mr. Silver looked around. “What are you going to do, smart mouth? I don’t see your big friend sitting here. No one’s gonna save you this time… and all of you are three seconds away from making me very… very… unhappy.” He stared at Mark and finished, “Last chance, tough guy. Walk away while you can still walk.”

Wendy tried to get up out of her chair, but the creep put both hands on her shoulders to keep her seated.

“Don’t touch her!” Mark shouted, stepping up to the wall of filthy goons.

One of them shoved Mark back into the next table, causing several strangers’ beers to spill.

“What the hell?” one of the stranger’s yelled.

Nine took a swing at the man who pushed Mark, hitting him in the jaw. The man stumbled back.

“Fuck… that stung,” Nine said, shaking his hand. He felt like he’d just punched a rock.

Mr. Silver’s friends moved in.

Diane quickly grabbed a beer mug off the next table and swung it hard into the side of another goon’s head who was going for Nine.

The man fell over their table.

Nine looked at her with a smile. “Nice shot, babe!”

A fist struck him in the cheek, knocking Nine to the floor.

Mark charged another goon, punching him in the face.

Diane growled like an animal, jumping on the back of the goon that just struck Nine. She hooked her one arm around the man’s neck and then bit his ear.

The man howled in pain, shrugging the one-armed woman off his back and on to another table. This caused the patrons at that table to get up and go after Mr. Silver’s men.

Mr. Silver, understanding how quickly this was going to get out of control, tried to grab Wendy to take her outside.

She turned and slapped him hard across the face, surprising herself with the violent reaction. “Get away from me!” she shouted. Wendy wanted to throw up.

Mr. Silver punched her hard in the face, knocking her out of the tall chair.

“Hey!” someone else shouted, seeing Wendy strike the ground. “You can’t do that!” The new arrival to the fight pushed Mr. Silver away from Wendy.

Mark just charged another of the goons, tackling him to the ground as more and more bar patrons either got involved with the fight, or tried to move out of the way.

“Oh, bloody hell!” Herbie cursed, staring over Hash and Tony, as the brawl escalated within twenty seconds from the first shove.

Tony and Hash turned around.

“What the fuck?” Hash said.

“That’s the third time this week!” Herbie shouted.

Tony frowned, his shoulders sagging, as he took in the out-of-control bar brawl that reminded him of his previous occupation. He quickly located his friends right in the middle of it. He rolled his eyes and hissed, “Damn it!” Tony got up just in time to catch a bar patron who was shoved right into him. He flung the man aside into the closest table.

Hash got up and ducked as someone just threw a beer mug over his head. “Oh, this is gonna be fun,” he said with a laugh.

Tony wasn’t amused. He spotted the source of the fight. The filthy tall man with the silver token he’d punched earlier was attempting to drag Wendy toward the door.

“Sonofabitch!” he shouted, pushing his way through the drunk-crazed patrons to get to her.

Hash stepped up next to him, punching someone in the face.

“Go help them!” Tony shouted, pushing someone to the left. “I’ll get the main asshole away from Wendy! Get the others the fuck out of here!”

Hash nodded, punching another man in the face, who turned out to be a rather large woman. “Oops,” he said with a laugh. Another man shoved him into a table.

Herbie tried in vain to control the crowd by shouting obscenities at them from behind the bar. Several patrons threw half-full beer mugs at him, soaking the bartender immediately. “Mother fuckers!” he shouted, using the bar as a shield. Herbie started picking up random empty glasses and hurling them out into the crowd.

By now, Ollie’s Oasis had turned into a madhouse. Patrons were randomly punching other patrons, shoving them into tables, or picking up the fallen and throwing them across the bar.

Mark was currently using a broken chair to work his way toward Mr. Silver who was dragging a kicking and screaming Wendy toward the door. He swung the chair at a stranger, knocking the man out. Someone else tackled him from behind. He shouted from the floor, “Wendy!”

Nine just kicked a large man in the back of the head who was wrestling with Diane on the floor. The pig had torn half her shirt off. The large man fell on his back with Diane’s nail marks clawed across his cheek. She got to her feet and kicked the man several times in the crotch before Nine could calm her down. Someone else grabbed Nine by the back of the shirt and flung him over another table. Diane turned toward the new attacker and head butted him in the nose, nearly knocking herself out in the process, as she heard the crunch of the man’s broken nose and saw him fall to his knees, grabbing at his face. She kicked the creature in the face.

Mr. Silver was laughing like a maniac as the struggling girl just made him more aggressive, determined to get his fiery prize outside. He backed into something hard, causing him to lose his grip on the little cock-tease. Mr. Silver turned just as Tony picked him up by the neck and flung him into the closest wall. Mr. Silver fell limp to the floor. Asshole, Tony thought, disregarding the foul man and trying to find Wendy who had crawled beneath a table. Someone else leaped on to Tony’s back, causing him to fall forward into two other men who were attempting to choke each other out. Tony howled like a bear, throwing the attacker off his back, and then grabbed the two chokers by the backs of their heads and slammed them together until they fell to the floor.

The good sergeant was trading punches with a man twice his size. In the end, Hash won the contest when he punched the man in the balls causing the bigger man to bend forward. Hash grabbed the man by his greasy hair and then kneed him in the face. The bigger man fell to the floor. Hash reached over a table to grab Nine and helped the badly beaten young man to his wobbly feet. One of Nine’s eyes was badly swollen.

Nine lifted his arms to fight, recognized the sergeant, then smiled. “Did you catch the license plate of the bus that just ran me over?” he asked.

Hash smiled at the young man and patted him on the shoulder. “No, but it was the same damn bus that hit me a couple of times.”

Nine frantically searched for Diane through the chaos.

“Relax, son,” Hash said, pointing behind him. “I think she’s good.”

Nine turned.

Diane was currently straddled over another brute, punching him repeatedly in the face with her one arm. She looked like hell.

“Let’s go gather the troops before we bleed out in this fucking place,” Hash suggested.

They found Mark on the way to Diane. He was struggling to free himself from beneath a pile of unconscious drunks. “Did you find her?”

Nine made it to Diane. She turned and smiled at him. “I think my hand might be broken,” she said.

He looked at the unconscious patron and said, “I think you broke his face.”

They all started searching for Wendy and saw Tony attempting to make his way to them, holding Wendy in his arms while using his massive shoulders to push his way through the crowd like a wild bull. Wendy looked terrified but safe as she stuffed her face into Tony’s chest.

They started toward him.

The sound of the handgun going off multiple times ended the brawl as someone murdered the boom box, interrupting the chorus to Jumpin’ Jack Flash by the Stones.

Everyone stared toward the front door. The sight of several armed face-painted Lunatics, and Brianna herself standing in the doorway like some vengeful gunslinger, provided immediate sobriety.

Tony reached his friends, out of breath, and as beat up as the others. He gently put Wendy down and got to his feet, staring across the bar at the leader of the Lunatics.

Briana was looking right at him.

We’re screwed, he thought.

“What the fuck!” Herbie shouted from behind the bar. He got up, staring at his shattered radio. “Someone’s paying for that, you better believe-” He spotted the Lunatics near the door and froze. “Shit,” he muttered under his breath, making eye contact with Briana. She never came herself to break up the bar fights… ever… and that meant bad news.

Briana shook her head in amusement at that petrified bartender, then holstered her guns with a fancy forward/reverse spin—lightning fast. She then reached into her trench coat, retrieved her cigarettes and lighter, and lit one up. She took several drags off the cigarette, before replacing her pack and lighter, and then finally scanned the silent crowd as if she were staring at a bunch of kindergarten kids left unattended at play time.

She took one last drag off her cigarette and then flicked it across the room. She put her hands to her side, smiling like a damn hall monitor catching the bad kids smoking in the boy’s room. “Well now,” she said, never losing that amused expression barely masking the maniac beneath. “Seems like we have ourselves a little situation this evening.”

Herbie was stumbling over his words. “Briana… I can explain… it’s all under control now… you know how folks get when they get to drinking-”

“Shut up, Ollie,” she said.

“Yes, ma’am.”

She continued to scan the crowd, finally resting her gaze once more on Tony. “I could line you all up outside and execute ever one of you for this bullshit… or worse… have you exiled from New Cleveland… permanently.”

Several patrons looked at each other, nervously shuffling their feet at the thought.

Tony stared at them in disbelief. They would rather die than get kicked out. We need to get out of here as fast as possible. He firmly believed that was no longer an option… not after this.

Briana started scanning the crowd again as she slowly paced back and forth in front of the door. “Fortunately, I’m feeling rather forgiving this evening. I get it… I really do. Sometimes you just need to let off a little steam. So, you come to the bar… have one too many to drink… maybe someone looks at you the wrong way on the wrong damn night and… WHAM!” She clapped her hands together causing several patrons to flinch.

She laughed at their nervousness. “I get it. Sometimes you just gotta let that damn animal loose… kill off a little of that all-restricting ‘control’ that keeps you all locked up inside and civilized. That’s some fucking boring-ass shit and I can appreciate that.” She stopped. “BUT… and there’s always a damn ‘but’… you did it in the wrong damn town. And that’s a problem. So, here’s what we’re gonna do. I only want whoever was responsible for this mess. Tell me who’s to blame for dragging me all the way down here, and we’ll call it a night.”

One of the patrons who was sitting next to Nine, Mark, Wendy and Diane and had watched Mr. Silver come over to their table and start the whole damn thing, spotted the smelly bean pole, still shaking off colliding with the wall, standing in the corner of the bar with his five chums as they tried to disappear. The patron stepped forward, pointed toward Mr. Silver and his goons, and said, “That one there, the tall scrawny one. He and his boys started the fight!”

Mr. Silver stepped out of the shadows. “That’s bullshit!” he said. He looked over at Briana. “We was minding our own business. It was probably that asshole who started it!”

Mark looked like he wanted to protest, but Tony gave him a stern look that clearly said, ‘Not a word.’

The patron started yelling back which just caused others to get hot and defend themselves. They were all pointing toward Mr. Silver now. Even Herbie seemed satisfied to hang the blame on Mr. Silver, although he had no idea who started what.

Briana sighed impatiently as the bar erupted into a ‘he did it’ frenzy. She finally said, “ENOUGH!” which immediately silenced the crowd. She took a step toward the first patron who accused Mr. Silver. “So, you’re saying that those gentleman in the back started the fight?”

“Absolutely,” the patron said. “I saw it.”

Briana nodded and said, “Wrong answer.” She quickly drew one of her guns and fired a bullet into the patron’s forehead. The man fell dead, with a shocked expression on his stupid face.

Wendy stared in horror at the dead’s man’s face. She started to cry. Mark squeezed her hand, encouraging her to be still.

“Let’s try that again,” Briana said, holstering her weapon as quickly as she’d drawn it. “Apparently none of you understand my very simple question. I’m going to keep asking it until I get the answer I want to hear… even if it means I have to shoot every damn one of you.” Again, her gaze landed on Tony.

No one else dared to speak.

Mr. Silver and his friends pushed back into the corner.

Briana turned her back. “Anybody gonna speak up and tell me the damn truth?” she said. “No?” She turned back and stared at Tony. “Do I really have to shoot someone else to make my point?”

Tony balled his fists and closed his eyes. Fucking bitch.

She turned her back again. “Okay. One more time… and I’m not gonna ask again. I’ll shoot every damn one of you I have to before this night is-”

“You’ve made your point,” Tony said, stepping forward.

Briana turned with a smile. “Do you have something to say to me?”

“You and I know what you want,” Tony said. “So, let’s cut the bullshit.”

Briana put her hands on her holsters and glared at the big man. “Tell me, who started this fight?”

Tony looked at his friends. They all understood what he had to do and that there was really no choice. He turned back to the face-painted bitch and said, “I did.”

“There,” she said, removing her hands from her holsters. “That wasn’t so hard.” She turned to her men. “Take this one, and his friends into custody.”

The Lunatics grabbed Tony, Hash, Diane, Mark, Nine and Wendy, and dragged them out of the bar.

~~~

Next Episode 43-9

Previous Episode 43-7

~~~

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__________________________________________
“Chapter 43-8: Feed The Dead” Copyright © 2018 Scott Scherr, from the novel, Don’t Feed The Dark, Book Five: Remains. All Rights Reserved.

No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission by the author.

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