Yesterdays darkness, p.1
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are a product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events, locales, or persons, living or dead, is strictly coincidental.
Copyright © 2011 by Carl Henegan
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed, or transmitted in any form of by any means, or stored in a data base or retrieval system, without prior written permission from the author.
To all of my supporters –
You were there from the beginning and I am eternally grateful.
CHAPTER ONE 8
CHAPTER TWO 11
CHAPTER THREE 18
CHAPTER FOUR 23
CHAPTER FIVE 27
CHAPTER SIX 32
CHAPTER SEVEN 37
CHAPTER EIGHT 40
CHAPTER NINE 46
CHAPTER TEN 49
CHAPTER ELEVEN 57
CHAPTER TWELEVE 62
CHAPTER THIRTEEN 66
CHAPTER FOURTEEN 69
CHAPTER FIFTEEN 75
CHAPTER SIXTEEN 83
CHAPTER SEVENTEEN 87
CHAPTER EIGHTEEN 91
CHAPTER NINETEEN 96
CHAPTER TWENTY 100
CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE 107
CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO 111
CHAPTER TWENTY-THREE 117
CHAPTER TWENTY-FOUR 123
CHAPTER TWENTY-FIVE 131
CHAPTER TWENTY-SIX 135
CHAPTER TWENTY-SEVEN 141
CHAPTER TWENTY-EIGHT 147
CHAPTER TWENTY-NINE 151
CHAPTER THIRTY 160
CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE 163
CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO 168
CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE 176
CHAPTER THIRTY-FIVE 186
CHAPTER THIRTY-SIX 192
CHAPTER THIRTY-SEVEN 194
CHAPTER THIRTY-EIGHT 202
CHAPTER THIRTY-NINE 208
CHAPTER FORTY 214
CHAPTER FORTY-ONE 218
CHAPTER FORTY-TWO 222
CHAPTER FORTY-THREE 228
CHAPTER FORTY-FOUR 232
CHAPTER FORTY-FIVE 236
CHAPTER FORTY-SIX 240
CHAPTER FORTY-SEVEN 244
CHAPTER FORTY-EIGHT 248
CHAPTER FORTY-NINE 251
CHAPTER FIFTY 254
CHAPTER FIFTY-ONE 259
CHAPTER FIFTY-TWO 265
CHAPTER FIFTY-THREE 271
CHAPTER FIFTY-FOUR 276
CHAPTER FIFTY-FIVE 278
CHAPTER FIFTY-SIX 281
CHAPTER FIFTY-SEVEN 284
CHAPTER FIFTY-EIGHT 288
CHAPTER FIFTY-NINE 291
CHAPTER SIXTY 294
CHAPTER SIXTY-ONE 299
CHAPTER SIXTY-TWO 307
CHAPTER SIXTY-THREE 315
CHAPTER SIXTY-FOUR 322
CHAPTER SIXTY-FIVE 326
CHAPTER SIXTY-SIX 334
CHAPTER SIXTY-SEVEN 342
CHAPTER SIXTY-EIGHT 345
CHAPTER SIXTY-NINE 354
CHAPTER SEVENTY 357
CHAPTER SEVENTY-ONE 361
CHAPTER SEVENTY-TWO 363
CHAPTER SEVENTY-THREE 366
CHAPTER SEVENTY-FOUR 370
CHAPTER SEVENTY-FIVE 373
CHAPTER SEVEN-SIX 376
CHAPTER SEVENTY-SEVEN 379
CHAPTER SEVEN-EIGHT 383
CHAPTER SEVENTY-NINE 386
CHAPTER EIGHTY 391
CHAPTER EIGHTY-ONE 396
“It’s gonna be one of those damn nights,” Michael Andrews muttered under his breath.
Yet as much as he felt it, even he had to admit that the words were unwarranted. Unlike most who would recite the phrase as a reactionary premonition resulting from some negative event or events, for Mike the thought arrived out of thin air. He didn’t have one single thing to substantiate the mumbled words; they spun out of nowhere.
From a rational perspective the night appeared to be like any other night. But that was just the surface; beneath that façade Mike sensed that something dark was brewing. He felt it but, aside from the one audible mumble, kept it to himself.
Even to him the thought edged on insanity but it was without a doubt there. As sure as the band that set up on the stage, the club lights, and the blended scent of everything from light beer to Patron counter balanced in the atmosphere, the feeling was very real. Crazy? Perhaps it was but the feeling remained bona fide.
Earlier that day Mike finished an audio book about the balance of life. The post recollection of the words in the book retuned to his thoughts. Perhaps the book touched on something because at the moment he felt anything but balanced. A hard self-imposed question trailed his initial thoughts. Had he had ever been balanced? Perhaps he fell into the category of most that, according to the book, moved through life tilting on the lie that they were actually walking upright.
The book also mentioned how anything could potentially render us unbalanced. People, occupations, insignificant others, anything, if given the power, could force us to walk along a sloped path. Some issues, rather ignored or suppressed, were erased by time fading from memory and never to resurface. Other unresolved issues remained dormant till they were ready to surface from some suppressed loosely sealed department in the back of our minds.
Just like the laws of nature, in the end it all balanced. Opposing forces instinctively evened out because sooner of later, they always do. Rivals, large and small, inevitably must face their own version of darkness.
Michael Andrews felt tormented by the words in the book. The words triggered memories that he would have much rather let fade away. The temperature around him dropped as if Pandora’s box was pried opened and dark destiny lurked in the mist of his life.
Like anyone else Mike had his secrets. For years he tried to deny that Karma had a debt waiting for him but one just can’t lie to the soul. He knew that his concern was not unwarranted so pessimism had nothing to do with this feeling of looming fate. The caution linked to something real, very real.
The life that he enjoyed now got him past the less the joyous times that were placed behind him. In that aspect life was, for lack of a better adjective, good. Wasn’t it?
Owning and operating a bar had its set of challenges and Mike’s business was no different. The Memphis bar sat in a prime location in the northern suburb of Dallas, Texas known as Addison. The location far exceeded what he ever imagined acquiring for his first establishment. He could not have wished for a more ideal situation so the challenges of keeping the bar afloat never bothered Mike.
The ever-compounding daily issues were indeed in place but this was lifelong dream. He placed the problems in the proper perspective knowing that the small issues were all part of paradise. The bar’s location nestled among a row of shops in one of the busiest and most ideal areas of the city. While the surrounding shops capitalized on the steady flow of day traffic, Mike’s bar dominated the night.
Each day of the week the bar slash club geared up for the night’s activity. The bar crammed with its usual capacity of regulars as well as a constant flow of new comers consistently night after liquor soaked night. They marched past businesses that typically closed in the evenings to take part in a late evening till 2 a.m. period of carefree entertaining.
The Memphis Bar delivered time after time with new pictures posted daily on social websites with random party shots. Below the photos were captions written to virtually rub the night of fun into the social
The parts of the night actually remembered by the attendants would be repeated the next day by the office water cooler. As for the parts of the night that were forgotten, they became Memphis folklore and fell in the realm of sensationalized legend.
One of Mike’s favorite perk dwelled in the ability to pass out free drinks as well as appetizers on a regular basis. He never took owning the bar for granted and loved to show his appreciation to all who visited his bar. Seven days a week the bar overflowed with patrons trying to unwind and fill otherwise uneventful nights with discounted cocktails. The Memphis Bar filled that void without fail.
The majority of the bar’s patron were the after work crowd. Peppered in the mixture of the regular customers a variety of tight t-shirted steroid junkies and need to be seen females wearing just enough to negate the need for imagination filled the gaps. As the evening progressed distinguishing one from the other proved to become more difficult.
Michael stood among them just like he had done every night of the week. As the bar’s owner as well as bouncer, he rarely took a night off. Tonight he felt the unexplainable need to be a little more vigilant so he maintained an even closer and constant presence.
While his observation remained at a high level, he didn’t notice anything that raised an eyebrow. Regardless, the slight tingling sensation persistently raced across his skin as a persistent reminder to not relax. The bothersome impression needled at him just enough to make him stand a little taller and watch everyone just a little closer. Slowly but increasingly, even less comfortable perceptions developed.
This odd tingling surfaced but was nothing new. At certain points in his life he actually ignored the sensations. Experience coupled with some close calls taught him to not question the arcane feelings that appeared out of nowhere and instead of second guessing his six packed feelings, he embraced them.
His bar managed to survive while others faded away and he attributed his longevity to going with is instincts. Michael, like the bar itself became staple in the Addison. One could without fail find him driving west on Beltline road at 9:00 am sharp in route his bar then by 10:00 am the bar opened for business. An hour later the lunch crowd flowed inside.
Everyone at the Memphis Bar preformed their prospective jobs so efficiently that Mike was constantly in awe. His bar operated like a particle free clock and with a low employee turnover the staff needed very little help from him. By the time that the 11 am the lunch crowd filtered in the staff was ready every year, everyday, seven day a week.
The day to day operations routinely took care of themselves but there were the occasional exceptions. Michael took advantage of the slower day crowd by remaining in his office and completing paperwork.
When the late evening arrived he merged from his office, blended into the crowd, and took his place on a randomly selected perch. By 7:29 p.m. Michael stood somewhere within the bar watching, monitoring, and observing.
Three female customers whispered among one another as they stood at the far end of the bar. They pointed and giggled like adolescents as they looked in his direction. Stay over there, please stay over there, he thought. He silently repeated mental plea with little hope that they would not find their way over to him.
One of the girls walked over to the bartender then pointed in Mike’s direction. So much for wishes. He could almost hear the conversation. Oh not that’s not just the bouncer but also the owner? She ran to spread the news to her two wing – girls whispering franticly as if she had just discovered the meaning of life.
All three women adjusted their mini skirts and applied another layer lipstick before making their way over to him. This wasn’t the first time Mike wanted to turn invisible, wasn’t the tenth either but just the downside of paradise. As unnatural as it was for him, he had to conjure up the social requirements needed to run a bar.
The bolder red head tapped him on his broad shoulder. “Hellooo, um you own this bar?” The other two giggled.
“Yeah I guess you can say that,” Michael said. “But between us, it’s still more fun to be doing shots then calling them,” he lied before motioning to her friends. “I’ll tell you ladies what, go over to Ruben there and tell him I said the next round is on me.”
“Really? Wow thank you! So you want anything from me, or us?” All three girls smiled flirtatiously at Mike.
“Oh I doubt if I could handle you girls,” he smiled while turning toward the bar. “Ruben! Ruben!” Michael circled his finger over the girls’ heads. Ruben returned an enthusiastic thumbs up.
“Ruben will fix you girls up. Have fun out there ok?”
They squeezed Michael’s arm then shared wide eyed glance between them. The red head – and apparent spokesperson for the trio - made a statement for the group. “We sure will and the offer still stands.”
Michael smiled wondering if grin appeared to them as forced as it felt. He nodded in his pretend effort to show genuine interest in the same liquor induced offers that came to him at least once a night. He hoped by now that he would have gotten comfortable with the social side of business ownership but although no one seemed to notice, he hadn’t.
He wore his signature fitted black shirt not only for comfort but to remain camouflaged. The dark colors worked perfectly it hide the armpit sweat but did little to shield him from the less then desired propositions.
Fashion in general had never been his strong suit so the black t-shirt suited him well. As he stood the moisture under his arms reminded him that the propositions like the socializing still made him nervous. He worked through it by setting aside time to greet the regulars and exchange small chat with anyone who approached as a way of confronting his anxieties.
In conversations with visitors, unless recognized, he tended to omit the fact that he owned the bar. He thought that the omission gave him a true perspective of how the customers felt about his place. That approach only worked for the new customers, as for the regulars, everyone knew Big Mike.
His frequent trips to the gym were obvious even for the casual onlooker. At six foot two inches tall, he tipped the scales at two-hundred and thirty-four pounds. After a recent physical, his doctor joked that Michael had less body fat then the average race horse.
Even with an above average physic, Mike still managed to blend in with the crowd. He lurked within the shadows of his establishment allowing his instincts to guide him. His instincts lingered as one of the few things he trusted but even doubted that at times.
Over time blending into the bar atmosphere came natural. The secret training that he received from his time in service instinctively emerged enabling him to maintain an outside surveillance.
Only so much could be seen and no matter how observant, he only had two eyes. Mike caught a lot of things that he had to address but catching everything was challenging if not impossible. This evening proved to be no different.
“Say man,” the voice started behind him. “Where can a brother get a drink in this dump?”
The sudden sound of the voice behind Mike took him by surprise at first. When he realized who was behind him, laughed before even turning around. “Oh hell, looked whose slumming it in Dallas today?” He spun and gave his buddy Eric Dunbar a hug. “Hell dude, I thought you were in Cost Rica or something.”
“Not anymore, had to cut the trip was cut short had something else come up,” he grinned. “On my way to the airport now so decided to swing by your dump, mooch a few free drinks off of you, then sleep it off on the plane.”
“Is that right?” Mike said folding his arms across his chest.
“Why not? You should be paying me to stop by to class up this place a bit. What’s up, black man can’t get VIP in here?” Eric laughed.
Mike tossed a playful punch at Eric. “You just praying to get laid out, man yo
Eric’s large physic dwarfed compared to his much larger personality. A smile remained on his face at all times and in the years that they knew one another, Mike had never been around Eric without having constant laughter. Eric traveled often but the Memphis bar was his first stop when he was in town and last stop before he left.
“Man it’s good seeing you Big Mike. I’m gonna grab that drink and get out of here before I miss my flight. Then I’m…” He eyes Mike close. “You ok man?”
“Yeah I’m good, why you ask that?”
Eric hunched his shoulders. “I don’t know. You just look a lil spaced.” He slapped Mike on his shoulder. “Got a maid pregnant or something? Got to stop sleeping with help man.”
Mike laughed. “Man get the hell out of here with that.”
“Ok, you’ll learn. I read an article the other day about the dangers of sleeping with the help. I fixed that though,” Eric said.
“Alright, I’ll bite, how did you fix it Eric?”
“Hell, I stop reading stuff like that. Damn sure not gonna stop sleeping with the help that for sure!”
Mike laughed till he was almost in tears. “Man you need help! Get the hell out of here,” he said welcoming the comic relief.
Eric moved on to the bar then ordered two shots of crown from Ruben. Another bouncer pulled Mike away to discuss the work shift. When Mike looked back Eric finished the seconded shot of crown then slipped out of the bar.
Mike needed that laugh but even more needed it to last longer. Even with the light conversations, the comic relief from Eric, and typical calm environment, the feeling that something was amidst would not go away.
Everything looked fine on the surface. Yeah but so what? The odd tingling remained locked in place. It continued to remain along with the vibrating music, cigarette smoke, and loud conversations. The music drowned out the conversations, and he moved away from the smoke, but did nothing could alleviate the tingling.
Yesterday's Darkness by Carl Henegan / Mystery & Detective have rating 3.1 out of 5 / Based on31 votes