He weighed 210 pounds buck-ass naked; 217 in his leather jacket and boots, which he wore that crisp March evening to the bar along with a gold pin in his lapel. It was shaped like a spade, a gift from his wife when they were young, once she’d discovered how much he liked expensive-looking things. He wasn’t handsome, but his light skin, wavy hair, the polished gleam of his fingernails, and the bills pressed tightly in his wallet almost made him so. As he entered the Albatross he stopped in the doorway and imagined his body filling the width of the frame, giving the occupants time to look and wonder who he was. The jukebox played the Temptations and threw colored light onto his face, and a couple of women at a nearby table glanced up from their pastel martinis, one sucking the cherry from her drink. Satisfied, he walked in. Hilda swept a dish towel along the bar top, looking bored, smiling out from under her bangs at a trio of men at the counter, a pretty laugh spilling from deep within her chest. He chose a stool in the middle, with an unobstructed view of her.

Homepage photo by Infrogmation of New Orleans, CC BY-SA 3.0