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Last Chance

Serving the Finest Spirits

By Dennis HumphreysPublished 2 years ago 35 min read

Last Chance

by: Dennis R. Humphreys

Many believe we aren't the only ones inhabiting this universe. Some believe this isn't the only universe. There are scientists, normal people and some seemingly not so normal that believe in a multitude of dimensions, universes, and alien races. Some of these things have been proven mathematically by people far more intelligent than I...some are unproven and perhaps can't be, but can only be taken as they are at face value. Acceptance of such things is up to the mind of each of us judging in our hearts as to what we believe.

A few years ago I had just gotten back from a business trip in Nebraska. It was uneventful but I always looked forward to going there because of the steak houses. Few are left like the old ones from thirty years ago, where the restaurants raised their own beef, killed it and then aged it on the premises.

I was recently divorced and lived alone. At the moment that's the way I wanted it. Relationships were too much work and ended up being too crazy to entangle oneself in another one quickly. In fact, I could care less if I ever got into another one. Today's world just seemed to not be conducive to anything long term or normal. There was a bar downtown I decided to try since I had never been there but it looked interesting from the outside, kind of inviting, It was called Torpedo's. I wasn't sure what the name had to do with the bar but figured I'd find out soon enough.

I walked through the doors past the gate keeper into a room three quarter's full...not bad for eight thirty in the evening on a Thursday night. Maybe this was a good choice. I liked sitting at the bar especially if the barmaid was good looking and this one was primo. I went to the bar and occupied one of the empty stools there, situating myself and pulling off my jacket. The girl, Connie, was her name, came over immediately with a big smile, placing a napkin and a coaster in front of me.

“How are you tonight, Sweetie?” she asked me. I saw her name tag she wore in a place I couldn't help but gaze at her breasts which were astonishing and well exhibited in the outfit she was wearing. She probably got great tips.

“Connie, I'm doing great getting settled in after a divorce,” I mentioned, never knowing where a statement like that may lead. ”How are you doing tonight, from here you're doing fantastic?”

“Well thank you. I'm doing wonderfully but sounds like not as good as you are having your freedom now,” Connie answered. “What can I get you?”

“I'll take a pitcher of Guinness Let me have a menu too,” I asked her. “By the way my name's Gant.”

“Gant? That's an unusual name. I haven't heard that one before,” she told me sliding a pitcher of beer in front of me.

“My parents were unusual the wall,” I told her pouring a glass.

“Well Gant it's a pleasure meeting you. I just got a divorce two months ago so I know where you're coming from tonight. If there's anything I can get you I'll be around,” she said looking over her shoulder and smiling as she walked down the length of the bar to a couple down there, half smashed. About that time an older gentlemen came in and wandered to the bar to the empty stool next to mine.

“Excuse this seat free?” he asked me.

“Sure is. Go ahead and sit down,” I told him.

“Cute barmaid.” he said.

“Sorry, I didn't hear you,” I asked him.

I said...cute barmaid,” he repeated. “I think she's interested in you. I'm perceptive that was.”

“Oh yeah. She is. I'm just getting out of a marriage and am really not looking for a relationship. She's enticing but I don't want to go there,” I told him, experiencing that approach-avoidance thing that screws with your head.

“Well, it's up to you but at his point in my life I'm beginning to think a person needs to explore every opportunity that presents itself...unless you're one of these psychics. Unless you can see what's going to happen you can't judge what an opportunity might do for you,” he told me sounding like good advice. I decided I wanted to talk to this guy more so I extended my hand.

“I'm Gant,” I told him.

“Gant? Not Grant, just Gant?” he inquired as he took my hand, “I'm Jonah, like the guy in the bible in the whale.”

“Nice to meet you Jonah...yeah, it's just Gant. Often thought about getting it changed to Grant. You don't know how many times I have to correct people and my mail's always got me listed as Grant,” I told him.

“I can imagine but don't change it. Maybe your parents felt something about you that was different before you were born and did that on purpose. A slight change like that can alter your future,” he alerted me as Connie walked over to him.

“Hi Hon, what can I get you? I see you already met Gant,” she bubbled.

“Yes, just getting to know him better. Let me have a Miller in a bottle please, honey” he answered.

“Are you a regular?” Jonah asked.

“No this is my first time here,” I answered loudly trying to make myself heard over three guys that had just rolled into the bar.

“Hmmm...I think she's definitely interested in you,” he told me.

“Nah, she's just doing her barmaid thing,” I told him taking a large swig of Guinness

“Mark my words...don't leave your options behind without looking closely.

We sat there and talked for awhile. I finished my pitcher and he finished three bottles. I wasn't sure if I was going to stay or leave. I had to go to work the next day but I wasn't tired even after my trip.

“Listen, there's a bar around the corner I'd like to go to but have never been called the' Last Chance'. It looks like a huge place in an old warehouse. Let's go there awhile, I'll buy the first round,” Jonah offered. I wasn't really ready to go home. No one was there, I needed to get a dog. This guy was good to talk to, so I accepted. I didn't remember ever seeing a bar like he described around the corner but thought it worthwhile to check it out,

We walked out onto the busy pavement...busier than normal I thought, for a Thursday night. We walked two blocks down and turned into an alley where sure enough there was a large warehouse turned into a bar, There were two large plate glass windows, one on either side of the two double doors. Several neon signs hung in the windows. A tremendous neon sign hung on the soft brick wall over the doors that said 'Last Chance'. The hand painted sign under it said, 'serving only the finest spirits'.

The bouncer at the door opened it for us and let us in without checking IDs or anything.

We walked into the busiest establishment I had ever encountered. It was huge. There was two long bars, one on each side of the place. It was intense with wall to wall people, and there was a mass of them dancing on the rest of the floor. The music was loud and the undulating rhythm of the people on the floor was overwhelming as strobe lights gave the place the appearance of an old silent film reel.

“This is an amazing place. I wonder why I'm never heard of it? There must be several hundred people in here,” I exclaimed as Jonah led the way to the one bar.

“Two pitchers of Guinness,” I heard him ask. He brought them over to one of those small tables where the most you could sit was three people. I was able to watch everything going on there.

I saw the expression on Jonah's face change as he was looking around. He stopped his search, if that's what it was, near the bar. I followed his gaze wondering what he was watching and saw an older woman, close to his age, and very attractive, standing there.

“Who is she?” I asked ,as he left our table and walked towards her.

I heard him say it was someone he knew a long time ago in school. Someone that could have changed his life.

I watched as they hugged and kissed. She was radiant looking at him. It was apparent she was in love with him in some way still as she had been all those years ago. I watched him bring her to our table.

“Gant...I'd like you to meet a dear old friend, someone I went to high school with, longer ago than I'll admit, Joyce Kensey,” he said in a cherished way. “Joyce this is my new friend,” Gant.

“Gant? Not Grant?” she asked and put out her hand.

“You've got it,” I said as I took her hand to shake. It was ice cold. It was warm in here and outside. It must be the nerves of seeing someone you felt the way you did after all these years.

I watched them with keen interest as they enjoyed each others' company. I listened to their stories and couldn't imagine how the two never ended up together. There were intense, loving feelings here. I listened how they met up a few times over the years as friends and then eventually there was no more contact. Each had definitely gone their separate ways.

I'm not sure after watching and listening to them why we make the choices we do, that not only effect ourselves but so many others. Why are there so many turns in the road of life? Why is it we don't recognize choices or understand the options we have? I understand all about having free will and that sort of thing but how is it one person can have a thousand different options and make all the right choices in life and become successful when another can have even more options and choices and fail, making all the wrong choices? You might say it's their intelligence and ability to ascertain between those options but believe me I've known both intelligent and stupid people on both sides of the fence and it's not that. Some of the most successful people I've met over the years are the dumbest.

They parted that first night and I think anyone watching could sense it was the last time they would ever see each other. They kissed and held on to each other for what seemed an eternity. We walked away and Jonah looked back one last time as she did the same moving through the crowd on the dance floor.

“She could have completely changed my life if I had been smart enough to act back then in high school, “Jonah shared with me, ”my whole path in life would have changed from the very beginning. Like I told you earlier, explore every option, just don't turn your back because it's bad timing or the wrong place...or worse yet, fear gets into you.”

“Jonah I really enjoyed meeting you tonight. I enjoyed the friendship and the talking. I learned a lot from you. Why don't we do this again?” I asked him.

“You want to meet at that other bar first and come here...maybe tomorrow night?” he asked me.

“How about we just meet here at nine,” I asked him.

“Sure, but now, don't run away, Gant. That Connie at the other place is definitely an option,” he said to me.

I was about to say it was bad timing but one of the last things he said before, popped into mind and I didn't want to say it.

“Maybe another time,” I told him.

“Alright then, I'll meet you here tomorrow night at nine,” he promised.

I went home that night and thought about what he said. These bar room philosophers sometimes know their stuff. I laid there not sleeping well. It was too quiet after a night of noise. I needed to get a dog. I could talk to the dog without feeling I was losing my mind. If the dog answered me then I would know I was losing my mind but after ten years of marriage with someone I expected to spend the rest of my life with I needed a companion and not the two legged kind, contrary to what Jonah preached.

My first day back on the job after a two week business trip dragged. I had all the 'welcome backs' I could handle and 'how was the bar scene out there?' questions. I had a really sweet card from the new secretary my boss hired welcoming me back. She was really pretty but only nineteen. Everyone saw right away she had a crush on me.

“Hell Gant, at nineteen she's not looking for something long term. She'll forget about you two weeks after you give her what she wants...your dick, Throw her over one of the desks here after work and hammer the hell out of her,” that was all the guy's advice and I couldn't do that.

“Just tell her she's looking for a father figure and you can't be her father,” somehow that message the women told me to tell her got mixed up with my male coworkers' message and I imagined her leaning over a desk stark naked as I gave her what she wanted while she screamed 'give it to me daddy!' Somehow that message didn't work either, so I chose to do what I always did in such instances...I ignored it.

“Thanks for the card, Summer,” I told her as I passed her desk to see my boss and fill him in on what my trip was like.

“Hi Gant. I really missed you around here. Maybe we can go to lunch next week and you can tell me about your trip,” she suggested.

I think I needed to say something to her and maybe that would be the opportunity I needed to do it.

“Sure. Why don't you make reservations at that Italian place across the street for Wednesday. We'll go then,” I told her. That would be a good place to turn her down. It was quiet but not romantically quiet.

I never saw a smile as big as I saw on any woman's face as I saw on hers. Now I felt guilty. She was expecting something different. Was this another one of those options Jonah spoke about? I guess if I had to ask that, my list of options would be dwindling quickly.

My meeting with my boss was boring as always. The man was so dry and rarely smiled. Nothing was funny and he had no idea of what a joke was. I walked out an hour later past Summer and I felt she was going to jump me. She had that same huge smile she left me with when I went in to see my boss.

Back at my desk I finished the day. I kept picking up my clock and hitting it, listening to it to see if I could hear the little sound it made as electricity passed through it's board. Surely it was broken.

Summer left a half hour earlier, like most of the secretaries on Friday afternoons. She passed my office and looked in, hanging from the door frame with that same smile plastered on her face.

“Have a really nice weekend, Gant. I'll see you Monday and I really look forward to our lunch on Wednesday,” she told me.

“You have a good weekend too, Summer. See you Monday, honey,” I told her grimacing after I did. I didn't mean to call her honey and it would carry a different meaning to her than to a customer at the bar when the barmaid calls you honey. Oh well...clean up in aisle five on Wednesday.

I stayed a little later than normal trying to buy time until nine. I figured I'd go get a bite to eat at the diner I frequented rather than go home and have to double back. There wasn't any reason to go home anyway. That's what I did and I headed to the bar to meet Jonah right on time. I was obsessive about being late to the point I was always early, so then I normally had to kill time so as not to be early. I just never liked being late and hated when other people were.

As I was walking down the alley I heard footsteps coming up from behind quickly. It was Jonah when I turned to look.

“A man on time. You don't see that much any more,” he said slapping me on the back. The man had stout, heavy hands. I hated to see what he could do, even at his age, with his fists if he had to.

“I hate being late when I agree with someone on a time. Of course I hate when they're late too but you're here on time, Jonah. How was your day?” I asked him.

“It was good,” he told me as the bouncer at the door held it open again for us.

We sat down with a pitcher of Guinness figuring getting a second if we stayed. The place was alive again with as many people as the night before, maybe more. The dance floor was as full as could be, undulating as one mass to the beat of the music, like one big heart pumping life through everyone there. Is it was hard to talk above the din so a place this elicited the voyeur's approach while drinking.

Then I noticed a tall, older lady looking our way in the middle of the dance floor but closer to our table. She was beautiful like the lady last night but taller. She could have been a model with her height and incredible cheek bones. She stood there smiling but somehow I knew it wasn't at me so I poked Jonah and leaned towards him so he could hear.

“Do you know her?” and I motioned towards the woman.

He looked over at her and focused. After some seconds a light of recognition went on and he gained a smile as wide as Summer earlier in the day. He got up as she started towards him. He ran to her half stooped and rose to meet her. Somehow their collision didn't shake the place. I don't know why because it was an incredible force between them. They danced for awhile and I watched. I felt like part of an audience watching a famous love scene in an old movie unfold. They became lost in each others' embrace and never took their eyes away from the other's eyes. It was as if one half finally found the other half. I almost expected to see them begin floating above the dance floor.

Finally, like teenagers at the prom they left the floor and Jonah pulled her to the table where we sat, laughing with some secret news.

“Gant...I want you to meet someone I knew from my college days. In fact the last time I saw her I was a senior. I used to hear things about her being a recluse or some such nonsense but back then every guy I knew was in love with her. I have to be honest, I had a crush for awhile too but I figured she just wasn't interested in a screw up like me,” Jonah told me. “Gant this is Betty Lou.”

“Was that Gant or Grant?” she asked me.

“Gant, Betty Lou and I'm glad to meet you.” I said standing to shake her hand.

“What he doesn't know is, he's the reason why I never married. I waited my whole life for him to ask me out figuring it would lead me to my dream but he never did. It's so good to see him again,” she told Gant and revealed to Jonah.

“She was one of those cheerleaders back then I used to play jokes on all the time to get her attention. I didn't realize at the time I didn't need to, I should have just been myself and go with the flow,” Jonah said pushing the stool in so she could sit with us at the table.

“I guess I was just as bad not saying anything. All the girls had a crush on him and I figured I didn't have a chance. I should have said something and maybe something would have come from it...maybe not, but what is meant to be is meant to be. I know that now and I made lot of choices that brought my future down a different path. Now I've had a good life, don't get me wrong, but it's not the life I would have preferred,” she told me smiling and looking at Jonah smiling at her.

Like last night with the other lady, they sat there looking at each other, squeezing each others' arms and giving each other short kisses of affection.

I listened to these two. There was definitely love there and both were at fault for never developing it. Jonah must have been some operator back then to have a lady like this and the one last night be madly in love with him for a lifetime, especially since they never actually were involved. Was this the unconditional love I heard about but never believed in? It wasn't based on anything physical or financial or anything like that, only on this connection that might have been ordained in heaven.

The reunion lasted until about midnight when Betty Lou got up to announce her departure. She had things to do early in the morning and she needed her rest but it was worth the time out tonight to see her old friend. They kissed passionately as if they would never see each other again. I suppose they wouldn't at their age but even a year might be worth it, to have that feeling you may have waited a lifetime to have, for just a short time. Seems like that was an option too.

“She was some lady. First the one last night and then Betty Lou. They're gorgeous women. I can't even picture what they might have been like when you were in your twenties. They loved you for just you and nothing else. Twice in a lifetime. How often does that happen?' I told him with a growing respect.

“Not often, but I was stupid then. Talk about not seeing the forest for the trees, hell I didn't see the forest for the moss. That lady could have changed my whole life easily. Then again I might have changed hers. We would have both been instrumental in opening all kinds of more possibilities for us than we ever knew. You know Gant, one and one in a relationship doesn't just equal two, and I don't mean having kids. It could be three or six, ten, fifteen or more. The whole world is at your fingertips with the right combination. That's what it's all about, Gant, combinations.” he elaborated.

We sat there finishing our third pitcher of beer. This Guinness tasted better than any Guinness I ever had. The sign said serving the best spirits but I couldn't figure out what the difference was. Maybe it was fresher than the bar around the corner.

“I'd better go. It's the bewitching hour. These old bones need their rest,” Jonah said standing to leave.

I agreed about calling it a day and the end of a long week. Standing up with him I followed him to the door. Outside he turned around to me.

“You know Saturday night will be the big night in there. If it's this active during the week I'd like to see what it's like on Saturday evening. How about us hitting this place tomorrow?” he asked. Three nights in a row at a bar. I never did that even before I was married but I was ready to go again. That place felt...good.

“I'm ready Jonah. Hey I don't even have your phone number to get hold of you if I need to. What's your cell?” I asked him.

“Hell, I don't have use for such things. Just concentrate real hard if you need me and I'll be there,” he told me laughing.

I assumed that answer meant he didn't want me to be able to contact him or he was keeping a low profile for some reason. Oh well, I was going to see him tomorrow night. He might think about it and reconsider my request.

Saturday was long. Living in an apartment by yourself you were faced with doing very little. I cleaned up around the place but there wasn't much to clean up. I didn't trash the place the little time I was here like a lot of single guys.. I did do my laundry of which there wasn't much. I didn't have to wear suits to work so I rarely went to the laundry to get dry cleaning done. I ended up spending most of the day on my computer researching things. I decided I was going to start writing. Maybe there was a book in there somewhere but writing was relaxing to me. It always was. It would improve my grammar and vocabulary using it on a regular basis. That wasn't a bad thing.

I fell asleep at my computer having spent most of the day on the first two pages of the great American novel. I woke up in time to get a late dinner and then head to the Last Chance.

I went to one of those all you eat fried chicken places, not expecting anything great but was nicely surprised. The skin was pleasantly crisp without being hard and void of grease. I had to add this place to my list of places to go for dinner on a regular basis. Maybe Saturday evening would be fried chicken night. It was good to have a routine for someone like me otherwise I might not get things done. I looked at my watch and realized I had just enough time to meet Jonah at the bar.

Same as before, I was walking to the front of the place when Jonah came up behind me. This time, when he slapped me on the back I jumped a mile. I had gone deep in thought about some of the things we discussed and some of the things I heard him talk about with the two ladies he ran into.

“Sorry to startle you. I think I almost gave you a heart attack,” he laughed like a hyena.

“Yeah you would have been sorry if you had to resuscitate me,” I told him. “I wouldn't be like those two ladies you were with these last two nights,” I told him jokingly.

“I shudder to think about it, Gant,” he told me.

There was a line tonight outside the bar so the crowd must have been huge but when the bouncer at the door saw us he waived us to the front of the line and opened the door for us.

“I guess we're regulars now,” I told Jonah.

“Must be. This place is moving,” he told me with a sparkle in those light blue eyes of his that were disarming in a way.

We took our seats in the vicinity where we were last night and ordered our first pitcher from the girl coming around taking orders. It was easier to do than fight your way through the crowd at either bar, especially tonight. We hadn't been there but a few minutes when a young woman came over and wrapped her arms around Jonah's neck and kissed him hard on the side of his face.

“I can't believe they let someone like you in here,” she told him jokingly. You could see in her face she wanted to just pick the man up and eat him. This was a beautiful young woman more than half Jonah's age. What gives?

“Oh God, I didn't expect to see you here. How...when?” Jonah stuttered in a way I knew this woman meant something special to him.

“ I just got in and I was hoping I'd run into you,” she said looking at me as she said it. She pulled a stool out and sat.

“Gant I want you to meet someone I knew not that long ago but we went our separate ways. I regret that now looking back. This is Teri...Teri this is Gant,” he made the intro.

“Is that...” she began but Gant interrupted.

“That's Gant, not Grant,” I told her. God, she was an angel. I couldn't imagine her some years ago.

“How long have you known this reprobate?” she asked me.

“Just a few days. How did you two meet up?” I asked. This was one lucky son of a bitch.

“I started working at a bar he showed up at one night. He was a regular there and I fell head over heels for the guy when I met him. I was eighteen at the time. I knew he was a lot older but it didn't matter and I didn't give a crap,” she informed me making me stare in wonder at Jonah who was staring at her with something beyond love in his eyes.

“She told me she loved me a number of times for five years. I just wouldn't listen,” Jonah added.

“He was married to this beautiful woman at the time and I just knew one day she would walk away from him. I told him so. I told Jonah if we got together I would support him in anything he wanted, He didn't even have to work. I kept getting better and better jobs to the point where I was making more money than I could handle. I did it for him. He still didn't budge. Then he called me one day to wish me a happy birthday. I thought it was to tell me he was moving in with me so I asked him. He tells me what I'm experiencing is 'puppy love'. I told him it wasn't puppy love after five years,” she went on with a story I couldn't believe.

“Yeah, at that point I stopped talking with her or emailing. We didn't do much of that anyway,” Jonah interjected.

“But I still waited. Then when I get a congratulation email from him when I graduated from medical school and he said nothing else, that was that. Within a few hours I accepted a marriage proposal from a guy I was living with. I splashed it all over the social network which I was never a fan of, figuring that would draw him out...nothing, “ she elaborated.

“How long did you wait? Did you get married?” I asked her.

“I waited ten years, then I said 'yes' and got married. If he came to me then I would have turned my world around for him, she told me looking at him deeply and giving him a light kiss on the lips.

“Yeah and the strange part of it all, my wife did ask for a divorce. You see Gant, sometimes when a man gets older he loses some of his sexual abilities. Mine were due to some chemical exposures I had as a young man. She told me she realized when there was no more sex our relationship had all been about the sex and she really wasn't in love with me,” Jonah explained in more detail.

'I would have never done that. I always wanted to take care of this guy and sex didn't matter either. We never had sex in all those years and my love for the guy continued. Just to have him near me would have been enough. We didn't even kiss other than on the cheek. I knew he was trying to stay loyal to his marriage so I didn't push it,” she went on in the conversation.

“If we got together I would have ruined her life. Look at how successful she is. She's still young and beautiful and look at me. She'd be cleaning up my drool as I rocked on the front porch. I couldn't do that to her. She meant too much to me,” Jonah added looking at her then giving her a hug where I thought her shoulders would touch.

“Don't you think I should have had the chance to make that decision? Then I hear about the divorce and he becomes some recluse. I figured he never really loved me like I did him,” she added.

“Don't think that. I never wanted to interfere with your life. If I had said anything to you I might have destroyed your husband's life. That would have been selfish of me. I only wanted the best for you,” Jonah confessed.

“You stupid would have been best for me,” she enlightened him.

“What now? You're here,” I asked.

“Sometimes you can't go back no matter how much you want to and no matter how right it might have been. My husband's back home. I left but the past is the past. What's done is done. We have to live with our decisions,” she insisted.

“But there's nothing to hold you back now. You're both free,” I told her.

She looked at Jonah then and spoke.

“He doesn't know? You haven't told him?” she asked him surprised.

“In due time, Jonah responded.

“What haven't you told me?” I asked.

“I said in due time,” Jonah insistently repeated.

I watched as they murmered quiet things to each other that I wasn't privy to. They laughed and giggled like two young lovers, oblivious to the world around them. Teri finally stood and I knew what that meant.

“I have to go now. Jonah. Gant it was nice meeting you,” she told me.

“I'll miss you,” Jonah told her standing and holding her close against him.

“I've always missed you,” she told him as she gave him a tender kiss where I could feel the magnetism behind it...or maybe it was the electricity, it was some force that I could feel.

I watched as she walked into the crowd. Then I realized all three woman of his that I met never left through the door. They always left through the crowd. I gathered it was through a back door.

“You're a real dog,” I told him.

“I hate that term. It's derogatory like I was up to no good. That, I never was with her, or any other woman. She, most of all could have changed my course in life even at my age at the time. I was too blind to see what she saw, or willing to be to me what she wanted. You might blame me for over thinking things but the problem was, I was trying to think of everyone else in my life rather than just myself,” Jonah reminisced and shed what appeared to be a slight tear.

“She is a beautiful woman. At nineteen she must have been something else out of this world,” I told him and meant it.

“She was and inside she was even more beautiful yet she never looked at herself that way, maybe that was part of what made her what she was...a real angel,” he told me.

We talked awhile and enjoyed the music. There were people on the floor making fools of themselves but enjoying it. It made the evening pass quickly. A young lady came over and introduced herself as Jena to us, sitting on the unoccupied stool Teri left behind. Jonah got up and announced his departure then.

“Third wheels get a little squeaky as time goes on, so I'm headed out. It was nice meeting you Jena. Gant I'll see you around,” he told me.

“Jonah how about next Saturday?” I suggested as he shook my hand to leave.

“We'll see,” is all he said as I watched him leave. I was distracted by Jena who bumped into me as she moved her stool almost on top of mine.

Monday came and I was concerned about Jonah. He had left without any certainty of our next meeting. I remembered seeing a bulletin board on the wall as you went into the 'Last Chance'. It was a large board covered with cards and notes from people that had met other people but only had their first names to go by...ships in the night. They wrote notes that hopefully the person they were looking for, would read and contact them. I decided I would post a large one with my name at the top. That would attract his attention and then he could contact me.

I left my office after work and headed towards the 'Last Chance' to post it. The only space around was in front of the other bar where Connie worked, 'Torpedo's'. So I parked there and walked the two blocks up the street to the alley where the Last Chance bar was. As I walked down the alley the front of the place was completely different. There were no neon signs anywhere and the hand painted sign over the doors wasn't there. The place looked abandoned. I didn't understand, since the place was doing great and how do you shut down everything this quickly? I was just in there two nights ago. I peered through the glass door and the place was empty. I tried the door and it was open so I let myself in to take a look.

The old bars, one on either side of the great room were there but they were dusty with spider webs hanging from them, It had been some years since the place had seen any business. I went to the one bar to get a closer look. There were eight by ten framed pictures on the wall behind the bar, as dusty as the rest of the place. I leaned over the bar as best I could to look at them. I thought I saw Jonah in a couple of them so I jumped over the bar taking years of dirt with me. I pulled one of the pictures down and wiped it off the best I could. There was Jonah alright, and Teri was with him. Heck, I was there sitting at a table. Then I took another picture down and saw Jonah again, this time with Betty Lou as I wiped off the dirt. There I was again in the background. What gives?

“Hey mister, you shouldn't be in here. This place is condemned. Didn't you see the no trespassing sign on the doors?” a man in a hard hat yelled from the front door as he just came into the place.

“Sorry, I had to see this old place one last time. I used to come in here with an old friend,” I told him.

“That must have been awhile ago. This place has been shut down for ten years,” he yelled back.

“Doesn't seem that long. I found a couple pictures here of him on the wall with me and a couple of his lady friends. Do you mind if I take them?” I asked. Not understanding exactly what was going on I wanted proof in the morning where I could look at them and see myself and know I wasn't crazy or just imagined the last few days.

“It doesn't matter to me. The whole place is coming down in two weeks anyway. It'll just become part of the rubble if it stays,” he told me.

So I took the two pics. I looked around to see if there was one of Jonah and the third lady but I didn't see one. I left through the door I came into the place through and walked to my car with the pictures under my arm. I thought about the three times I had been in the place when it was a lively bar. I had some thinking to do as I unlocked the door to my car. I threw the two pics into the back seat and started to get in but I looked up at the sign over the place in front of me...'Torpedo's'. I wonder if Connie is on? I thought to myself.

Without giving it another thought, I slammed the car door shut and headed for the door. Walking in I spotted someone filling the ice chest behind the bar.

“Is Connie on tonight?” I asked.

Short Story

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