#52 Tuckered Out

by Marcia Smart

Tucker Pope walked into the Idle Spur in Lubbock, Texas and ordered a double of the bar’s most expensive whiskey.

He savored the rich liquid as it passed over his tongue, tapped the toe of his snakeskin boot to follow the beat of the music blaring from the country band. The clang of beer bottles, laughter from dark corners and boots stomping the two-step added to the music in his ears.

“Barkeep!” Tucker held up his glass, signaled for another.

“Celebratin’?” The bartender poured, left the bottle on the bar.

“You might say that. ‘While back I won the lottery.”

“Well, damn! You must be ridin’ higher than a filly in a stakes race.”

“Yep, it sure changed my life—but not for the better. Wife’s spendin’ is outta control, relatives clamorin’ for loans. Even had threats on my kids’ lives. Drive with my Colt in the pick-up now. And that’s just for starters. It’s been a livin’ hell. Say, if ya don’t mind my askin’, how much might this place rake in on a Saturday night?”

“We do pretty good. Maybe two grand every weekend.”

Tucker nodded, finished his whiskey, emptied his wallet on the bar—three thousand dollars.

“Drinks all around…and keep the change.”

Tucker tipped his hat to the dumbstruck bartender, left the bar and went to his truck in the parking lot. He reached under his seat and produced the Colt.

Nobody heard the gunshot that ended his high-priced miserable life.


Lisa Pellegrini said...

Fantastic, Marcia! I adore the Southern-fried dialogue in this piece. It makes me feel like I am right there in that Texas bar. Splendid commentary on overnight wealth and how it can destroy your life instead of improving it. The title is just beautiful and perfect, how it ties in with his name. I love Tucker's good- ole-boy persona juxtaposed against his feelings of torment, doom, and gloom that led to his tragic demise. This is another one of my favorites in the contest. I love it!

Marcia said...

Thanks for the positive comments, Lisa. High praise considering I'm an LA transplant from Chicago....yeeha!

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