Just how many chances do you give a guy like Denny McGowan?
"Hey, Bub. You going to drink that beer or shall I wrap it so you can take it home?" Same old line, same old grunt of a response. Old Bub would be there till ten, down the rest of his Bud in a single swallow, and then head out into the night.
Cassie glanced across towards the window table. The young couple didn't need anything yet. Back to her nails, hooker red and chipped. That kind of summed up how she felt right then. Cheap and worn. She liked it here at Pappy's, but was she really going to be back in March to open up again? Was this her life now that she'd lasted more than a solitary season?
She took a cloth and gave the bar a spray and a wipe, even though it already had enough shine that she could do her face in it.
All this cleaning, it was wrecking her hands. The skin was dry. It made her feel old when she wasn't even 25 until January. She hated this time of year, hated this sinking feeling, the Fall blues. She needed change. She needed something new.
She needed this not to be it.
Just then, with perfect timing, the door burst open, slamming against the wall as the gale took it. Standing there, framed in the doorway, was the guy Cassie would come to know as Denny McGowan.
In that tailored tux he looked like he should be someplace else entirely, but yet... it looked like he had walked here. On a night like this! His patent leather shoes were scuffed and dirty, there was mud around the cuffs of his pants; his shirt was untucked, his undone bow tie hanging loose. His jacket hung heavy with the rain, and his black hair was plastered to his skull. Maybe there had been an accident, or his car had broken down back on the highway.
Then, with a cheeky grin that cracked his face and put a sparkle in his eyes, he reached into his pocket, produced a fat roll of hundred dollar bills, and casually thumbed one free of the sodden mass of paper.
"So tell me, what does a guy have to do to get a drink around here?" he asked in an accent somewhere between Boston and genuine Irish, and then he stepped inside, pulling the door shut behind him and shutting the wild storm out.
//end of extract//