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(continued)

Vancouver, WA

May 1st, 2019

“Maybe that filthy disease she’s got is something that runs in your family, and sooner or later it’ll rot you all you,” Clinton sneered. He was drunk, but that was no excuse, “Wouldn’t that just be a damned shame.” His sarcastic leer wasn’t helping matters, but Tony wasn’t about to rise to the bait. He’d known Clinton too long and he knew that a fight was what Clinton wanted. Honestly he wanted to smash his bottle upside the other man’s head, but he knew better. Clinton would be waiting for that.

Instead he took a drink, swallowing before he said, “You’d know all about rotting diseases wouldn’t you?”

It was a low blow, and there was no surprise as Clinton launched himself at Tony. The knowledge that both of Clinton’s parents, well, his mother and his stepfather, had died from cirrhosis of the liver, had only come to Tony’s attention when he’d been poring through the obituaries about a year ago, looking for the one he’d written about his grandfather that had passed. He hadn’t been too surprised to see they’d both kicked in the same month. Jim and Judy had both been heavy drinkers that started in the morning and spent most of their day half in or fully in the bag. But it had still been a low blow.

Be that as it may Tony had no intention of being taken down and pummeled as only Clinton knew how. The guy was a grappler and he knew too many submission holds for Tony’s liking. If he kept him on his feet he was still dangerous, but he was a lot easier to fight.

“That’s it I’m callin’ the cops!” Alice yelled at both of them, taking two large steps to the phone. The other patrons knew the drill since a fight broke out in this place at least once a week if not more. They did what they could to keep their drinks from spilling and they stayed out of the way.

The Hideway didn’t have bouncers unless it was a Friday or Saturday night, when they really benefited from having them, and the day staff were usually too slight or small of build to do much. But there was a billy club behind the bar along with a licensed shotgun if things got really out of hand, and most of the patrons knew it.

“That means I’ve got thirty minutes,” growled Clinton, stalking Tony as he backed away several steps. He was mindful to stay aware of his surroundings, as there were tables and chairs behind him that would trip him up if he wasn’t careful. Thankfully the floor plan hadn’t changed in roughly ten years, so he knew where everything was. He even knew when they’d hit the dance floor by how far away from the bar they’d gone.

“Come on then,” he said to Clinton, who, drunk and pissed off, rushed at him in a most uncustomary fashion, going for his legs as Tony reacted as quickly as he could. His knee came up and then elbow came down, into Clinton’s face and then against the back of his skull respectively. Clinton dropped like a stone, hitting the dance floor in a heap as Tony backed away, rubbing at his knee. That had really hurt.

“Never been knocked out my ass,” Tony said as he returned to the bar, “Alice, can I pay for my tab while I wait for the cops?”

(to be continued)

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