“Jim Dandy To The Rescue” howled and crackled out of the truck speakers. “Finger Poppin’ Time,” Frank said to nobody in general. He pulled in the gravel parking lot of a bar called “The Office.” The bar was well lit with the front door propped open. He went inside and took a seat.
Glancing to his right he saw a couple of young girls in short, short faded cut offs. They were wagging their asses back and forth hunched over juke box on their elbows. Frank felt a pair of eyes on the back of his neck.
“We don’t serve no booze hounded, rubber necks in here,” the tooth pick behind the bar said, with a growl in his voice.
“My money spends like anyone’s. Let’s get things rolling with a beer.
The Reed bent underneath the bar and pulled up a cold can. Frank slapped a ten down on the bar. He took a draw from the can, then guided the aluminum cylinder around in a water spot on the bar.His head was like a blank chalkboard until he started scribbling on it. Soon there was dust of sorrows covering his shirt and pants.
Frank’s eyes followed the can of Milwaukee’s finest. It rolled back to his days at the hospital. His clean well organized appearance and smell of a first class surgeon. He felt his two day’s worth of growth letting his fingers run down the sides of his face. Frank stared at his ripped,.stained pocket shirt and filthy jeans he had on. They looked right back at him in a bitter, discolored reflection.
He switched from beers to whiskey shots. Holding out his hands he checked to see how steady they were. Fine, just fine he concluded, even though they trembled a little. He started to make plans; like had done a thousands of times before. Small plans at first; maybe a tiny comeback. Then, bigger plans about ending up the Head Of Surgery again, well respected; every single nurse in the hospital there for his taking.
It was going to be like before. Before he killed her on the table. Before he lost his nerve, before he didn’t wake up nights in a cold sweat a pair of dead child’s eyes in his head.
He threw back another shot. Deep inside, down where you’re forced to be honest with yourself, Frank knew there’d be no come back. It’s like when he was a kid and knew for sure he’d become a doctor.
Now he knew his office would be a barroom. The only patient himself.