THANKS FOR THE COFFEE CHAPTER 3

Finn licked his perpetually bee swollen lips and exhaled a dense cloud of smoke into the already hazy confines of the trio’s getaway car. A 1994 Honda Accord was no one’s idea of a classy ride, and surrounded by a months’s, more likely a years’s accumulation of Barlow’s discarded fast food wrappers, old beer bottles, used rubbers and soiled lingerie, the enforced confinement in the noisy heap as they drove rudderless across the Maryland countryside was beginning to tear at their already frayed nerves.
“Turn here, man, get onto 70. I know a place in Baltimore, get us a beer and some good food. Mussels! Great shit, like oysters, get ya all horny.”
“ I ain’t eating that slimey stuff, like swallowing snot!”, shot back Daryll. “I feel sick enough already.”
“ Shut up, dick head. Turn here.”
Barlow twisted the wheel with a grimace, as the aging Honda’s brakes whined in protest, and the car shot up the ramp onto the interstate. Forty minutes later the car rattled down the narrow cobblestone streets of Fells Point, an historic waterfront neighborhood known for its abundance of bars, seafood restaurants and utter lack of parking.
“There dude, over there”, coughed Daryll as Barlow cut off a well dressed couple in a Mercedes to claim a coveted parking space, shooting them the bird and a threatening leer. Alton led the way, toward where a solid, three storied nineteenth century building kept watch over its corner at Lancaster and Broadway. “No, man, this way”, said Findley when Barlow started toward an awning proclaiming Dining Room. “Over here, around the corner.”
Finn pulled open an oft painted red door and entered the long, narrow space leading toward the bar. A group of musicians was setting up in the tiny nook beside the door, illuminated only by the strings of tiny white Christmas lights strung across the ceiling. The half dozen scarred wooden two seater booths along the wall were empty except for a self-absorbed college couple and a middle aged blonde deep in a conversation with herself.
“S’cuze me a sec, gotta take the man his coffee. Paul can’t play a note without it” said the bartender as she stepped from behind the worn bar to deliver a cup of joe to the guitarist tuning up under the fairy lights.
“What’ll it be boys?”, smiled the bartender when she returned to her post. Her majestic bosom strained against the thin white fabric of her blouse, hinting at a vision of silky black lace and soft, pliable flesh beneath. She was of that indeterminate age, somewhere between twenty five and fifty, her hard but eager green eyes tempered by a lifetime in saloons, either working, or just existing. She smiled again and winked at Daryll. “Well? See anything you like?”
Daryll’s eyes meekly dropped to the top of the bar. “Could I just get a burger, mustard and a Natty Boh?”
“Out for an adventure, eh? How about you, sunshine?”
“Just a beer, Fat Tire if you’ve got it?”
“And you, sailor? Got a bit more imagination than your compadres?”
Findley looked with intention directly into the woman’s eyes. “Yeah, sure. I’ll have a double order of mussels, with extra garlic butter. And a Irish Car Bomb.” His eyes dropped to her chest, and his lips formed a subtle pout.
“Hhhhmmm, a man with an appetite”, she purred.

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Text & Photo Copyright Michael G. Stewart May not be Reprinted without Permission

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