Closed 4 Flu

Jul 18th, 2019
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  1. Roxanne collapsed onto the front seat of her beat-up Ford F-150. The lines of irritation were etched clearly onto her face and a constant stream of murmured curses and exclamations flew from her mouth. “Fucking BITCH,” she snarled, leaning over the steering wheel. One small hand, clenched into a fist, slammed down onto the dashboard, making her GPS fall over. “This job sucks! Tired of kissing ass for nothing. Fucking know-it-all bitch gets the promotion when I deserved it! ARGH!”
  3. With a yell, she shook her head back and forth, making her long black hair fly around. Finally, after steaming silently a bit longer, she exhaled harshly and sat back, keys still in her hand, with murder in her eyes. “Fuck it. Fuck this job. Everyone I know is sick this week, so I am now sick too. Sick of this town, sick of these people, sick of everything. I'm calling in tomorrow.”
  5. Flicking her green eyes to the silent, plastic hula girl on her dash, she cracked half a smile and said, “Join me for a beer, Malika? I think I could use one tonight.” Unsurprisingly, there was no response from her dashboard ornament. “Figures,” Roxanne grumbled, stabbing her key into the ignition and firing the truck up. After a few minutes to let the old girl warm up, she reversed out of her parking spot and pulled into traffic, heading for a little hole in the wall bar a few miles down the road called simply “Joe's Bar”. The beer was cheap and the lights were low and she could be assured that nobody would hit on her.
  7. That alone was worth the trip for Roxanne. Being a tall and very shapely woman, throughout her life, she'd attracted far more attention than she wanted. Her wide hips and full chest was typically hidden under loose clothing, so as to not appear overly sexual. Very minimal makeup and a simple ponytail did nothing to enhance her appearance, but you couldn't do much to hide those eyes. Huge and bright green, rimmed with a thick line of lashes, her eyes were easy to get lost in. Not that many men did, of course. Once anyone got too close, her sharp tongue and negative outlook on life sent them away in a hurry.
  9. That never stopped the men from trying though, at least once... and a fair amount of women, as well. For the moment though, Roxanne was alone with her thoughts, running through all of the punishments she felt that poor Jessica from the office was due. The truth of the matter was, Jessica got the promotion to manager over Roxanne because the GM simply found her to be more likable. The sweet little blonde Jessica would be far better for business than Roxanne with her scowl and permanent attitude. After all, who wanted to buy expensive jewelry from someone so unhappy all the time? People came to the high-end store to make big purchases and the experience was part of the deal.
  11. Arriving at the bar, Roxanne grabbed her purse, locked the truck and headed into the dimness. “I sure hope old Joe's not out sick too,” she mumbled, thinking about how it seemed like half the city was down with the flu at the same time.
  13. A half-dozen motorcycles occupied the front of Joe's Bar, pugnaciously occupying both handicapped spots as well as the fire lane. Joe's was decidedly not a biker bar. But it was no surprise they'd found their way to this place. All the usual haunts -- Lefty's, Hummers, that dive on 18 that as far as anyone knew didn't even have a name -- were closed. Even the Hooters off the interstate, the marquee out front that usually advertised "25 CENT WINGS NIGHT" or "WORLD'S COLDEST BEER" now simply reading "CLOSED 4 FLU".
  16. But once inside it was the same old Joe's. As usual the stools along the bar were occupied by old men who came to drink and not talk. Joe was behind the bar, wiping the inside of a glass with a rag, his skin almost the same shade of brown as the bar top. As usual the jukebox was playing something soulful from the 70s -- no Ke$ha in Joe's place.
  19. Though you may not drive
  20. A great big Cadillac
  21. Gangsta whitewalls
  22. TV antennas in the back...
  25. "Enough of this fucking nigger music!" a voice bellowed from the darkness of a corner table.
  27. Twenty years ago, Joe would have grabbed his baseball bat from under the counter and cracked a skull. Ten years ago, he at least would have shouted at them to get out before he started swinging. But now... now he was just tired. Too tired to start something with a bunch of pecker-wood white boys who thought they were bad-ass bikers because they'd watched a few episodes of Sons of Anarchy.
  29. So Joe ignored them, instead turning his attention to the tall raven-haired beauty who had just entered. Joe wasn't a big fan of dentists and to his shame he'd lost quite a few teeth over years, and those that were left were in no great shape. For that reason, he usually kept his mouth closed. But no one could make him smile like Roxanne could. He grinned wide and went to get her usual before she'd even asked for it.
  31. You may not have a car at all
  32. But remember brothers and sisters
  33. You can still stand tall
  35. "Goddamn it," one of the bikers muttered, getting up from his chair and giving the jukebox a kick. He thought he was up against one of the new-fangled ones, all digital and plastic. This jukebox was a classic, a Seeburg, chrome and glass on the outside and real wax on the inside. And the bitch was heavy. Joe's brown eyes twinkled with glee at the howl of pain from the biker as his toes crunched against metal.
  38. Now he was out of the shadows and in the light, such as it was inside the dimly lit bar. A big burly fellow with a long black beard, a leather vest with INFIDELS across the back. He grabbed the jukebox with both hands and tried to drag it away from the wall. Its metal feet squealed against the linoleum floor, his huge muscles bulged with the effort, and his face turned red from the strain. If his intent was to wrestle, he was clearly losing.
  41. "Leave it, Oak," one of his brothers said, but the others were egging him on, cheering and howling. The bearded biker changed tactics, going behind the jukebox and yanking the power cord from the wall. A deathly silence descended over the bar broken only by the occasional wet, wracking cough from one of the regulars.
  44. "There," the biker panted, trying to play it cool, rubbing his palms on the thighs of his jeans. "Now bring us another round." He paused for effect before driving in that final word. "Boy."
  47. Joe put Roxanne's drink on the counter and gave her a weak smile. "This may not be the best place to be tonight, Miss Roxie," he said apologetically, one hand going under the counter to find his bat.
  49. Groaning to herself as she listened to the loudmouth asshole yelling out his insults and racial slurs, Roxanne walked to her spot at the bar, pleased to find it empty. She plopped down onto the cracked and aged bar stool then offered a smile to Joe. He could always be counted on to be respectful and she damn sure didn't like people using such rude language to him.
  51. Her own mouth was far, far to the right side of nasty, but that didn't mean she wanted HIM to have to hear that. He was one of the few nice men in the world, after all. Her teeth gritted tightly together in her mouth as the jerk dropped the 'boy' line on her favorite bartender. This day just kept getting better and better.
  53. Accepting the drink, she spoke loud and clear, her voice carrying easily across the bar. “Don't worry about it, Joe. Just like the rest of the song says, be thankful for what you've got. And unlike those dick sticks back there, you have a fully functioning brain.” With a wry grin, she tipped him a wink and lifted her glass. “Cheers, my friend,” she remarked, then threw back the Jack & Coke in two big gulps. “Hit me again,” Roxanne said, watching Joe's hands moving for the bat she knew he kept beneath the bar. She sat her glass on the bar and spun around partially to look at the loud bearded man.
  55. 'Shame he's such a prick,” Roxie thought. 'He's kinda cute. Oh, well. Typical idiot man.' With that dismissive thought, she turned back around, facing the bar once more.
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