The bossís girl
Sometimes you just get sick of warning people and have to let the chips fall where they will.
As a bartender in this strip joint, Iím always telling men to keep their hands off the girls, and know most men wonít.
With Big Sten, I know itís the same thing all over again and know if I tell him too much weíre going to have a fight.
And Iím not sure I can win.
You can smell the pine sap on him from his felling trees all day, he dragging in the great Northwest with him each night when the saws stop.
His kind are a tough kind, and come here to blow off steam, needing a little T&A before they go home to wives they get no thrill from.
Worse, still, Sten wants me to introduce him to Kathy, and gets mad when I say I canít, asking if I need a bigger tip or a sock in the nose.
I tell him ďNeitherĒ and go to fill an order from a guy across the bar who doesnít need another drink but gets one anyway free so I donít have to fight.
Sten fumes, and then gets distracted, watching Kathyís seductive moves as if she means them for when she doesnít.
Sheís here for the salary and tips, and doesnít need romance.
She gets plenty of that from the boss Ė willingly or not Ė and wonít take any from men like Sten regardless of how big they are.
Unlike the other girls, she wonít put out for the staff either.
The bossís girl is the bossís girl, and we all accept that and get on with life.
But Sten being one of those who doesnít take no for an answer, gets up at the end of her set and moves his beer down to the spot next to hers, telling her he would like to see her after hours, and that he has a room down at the local motel they can share.
She ignores him; just as he ignores everybody, making him steam even more, all of that pine tar dripping off of him with sweat and anger, so that he foolishly grabs her and forces her to look at him.
None of us see the gun until after we hear the shot, but we see Sten stiff well enough, and fall, as the boss steps out from his back office, the pistol still smoking in his hands, a boss telling us to move the body outside so he doesnít have to smell the stink, a boss who then takes his girl inside his office, where he presumably plans to call the police.
Me, I just wipe the bar where Sten sat, as if he never existed, and in truth, he never did.