JACKO’S BAR • by Nancy Wilcox

Jacko’s is a bar on Glitter Street. I’m there at 7:00 with the after-office crowd. I like Jacko’s. They have a live band. The drinks are a little pricey, but like most old biddies, I can nurse a Coke half the night. It’s a survival trait; servers ignore women on their own. This waitress is intimidated by my glance. I make her want to button up her blouse and tug down her skirt. I remind her of her sixth grade teacher, the one who made her read Shakespeare out loud.

I don’t fit in at Jacko’s. Major out of place, in a flowered dress and a ten dollar haircut. I’ll never see fifty again, and a good thing, too. The first time I saw it, it scared me white-headed. Jacko’s caters to the thirty-might-be-twenty-five bunch, monograms and blazers and incipient stock options. Hooray for them. The band plays 40’s swing, which is not easy with a keyboard, a guitar, and a drum-kit.

I like it here; I don’t know anybody, nobody knows me, and nobody gives a damn.

Feels like home.

7:30. Her ex swaggers in, half-drunk, and grabs the waitress. She’s been warned if he causes one more scene she can kiss Jacko’s goodbye. This time he’s brought his friend the big sharp knife. Makes sense, scar the pretty girl’s face, she can’t get the good jobs in the nice places; she can’t afford to leave you.

You’ll tell me a .38 doesn’t have the stopping power of a .45; and a snub-nose, obviously, doesn’t have the accuracy of the longer barrel. But Jacko’s is a small bar. They’re not even twenty feet away when I put a neat little hole through his left eye. Well, neat going in. I cannot begin to describe to you the distress of the yuppie in the three thousand dollar suit who happens to be sitting at the table behind the couple, sipping his Zinfandel and watching the assault like it’s part of this evening’s entertainment.

The big advantage of a snub-nose is, it doesn’t bulk out a purse like a full-barrel .45. I stow it away and walk out the door with half the hysterical crowd. True to type, I leave no tip.

But hey, I gave her my ‘abused girlfriend’ discount. What more do you want? If I didn’t do so much damn charity work, I could afford a better haircut.

Nancy Wilcox is a word-jones. (Something like a wordsmith-wannabe.)

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