There’s a killer pub on Nickels street, backs onto the river. Used to be a time when the tide turned, the day’s filth was washed away. Not anymore, not on Nickels street. Fitz knew the barman, he knew all the barmen, but this wasn’t a social call. It was a dank and dark gaff; a dim light above a torn pool table vaguely illuminated a movement at the back. They were still there, he was always there.
Fitz sat down, laid his hat on the table and rolled a cigarette between thumb and forefinger. He looked up at the face.
What does evil look like, he thought and inhaled deeply. He saw a residue of generations of depravation of decent things, he saw a denial of warmth and love, and a lifetime’s inhalation of hatred and fear stared coldly back at him. A boy still, in his early twenties, his tongue flicking, lizard-like, testing and tasting the fear around him.
His brothers sat either side of McKano. A near empty bottle of vodka, three shot glasses and a girl’s salty make-up mirror lay on the table. It was an edgy 3.00 pm.
You looked for me Fitz,
Fitz threw out an envelope and a photograph,
I’m looking for him and that’s an incentive.
The uglier brother reached for the envelope but Fitz slammed his hand to the table and flicked the cigarette to the ground.
You owe me since the girl, McKano, I still have the file.
McKano’s pock-marked face pinched into a smile and he nodded to his brother. Fitz leaned back, casually slipped his hand beneath the table and felt the trigger. He looked McKano directly in the void where eyes should be, and saw a bead of sweat forming on a greasy hairline. Timing is everything and this was not a good time.
I never seen the guy before, now take your money and leave quickly while you can still walk.
Fitz had a weak hand so there was only one move left, bluff.
Come across with his whereabouts or the file goes to the cops.
McKano flared, bolted upright and leaned into the table,
Come back tomorrow at five, I’ll have information then. maybe…..
Fitz stood up, slowly backed away and nodded to the barman. Afternoon sunlight hurt his eyes and he kept a steady pace till he’d left the Island, his hand stayed in his pocket, his finger on the trigger. He felt anxious, more then his usual edge. He needed to think and he needed a drink.