By Paul Beckman
I was walking to the men’s room through the lounge when I heard the band start a Sinatra set and all of a sudden my walk turns into the same swagger my brother Tommy uses in his band when he covers Sinatra. I turned to watch the singer and pushed the brim on my fedora back Sinatra-like, exposing my forehead and my killer blue eyes.
That sounds like a bad comedy routine Bad Cop said.
Kind of like you playing the bad cop role here? I don’t control this, it happens on its own. Something triggers it and I morph into someone else. It’s happened most of my life but I’ve never been arrested because of it before.
So you were wearing your hat in the lounge, Good Cop asks?
Sure. I wear my fedora indoors and take it off to eat. I put it back on when I got up to go to the men’s room.
Why the hat? Bad Cop wants to know.
Because it’s what I do. So I turn around from the band and this bruiser walks by me carrying two handfuls of drinks and we bump into each other. I had my head turned the other way looking at a hot skirt. He told me to watch where I was going and I saw that he was covered with wet spots on his shirt and string tie and his drinks were only half full.
The least you can do is apologize, he said.
No. I told him if he was too cheap to use a waitress he ought to expect what he gets. Well one word led to another and the band segues into “My Way” and he’s still mouthing off and I’m feeling the Sinatra so I pushed his face back with my palm and he spilled what was left of his drinks and while lying on the floor calling me out.
Meanwhile, the band announces a break and I slide back to being myself and head on to the men’s room. He followed me in with his friend—a muscle-bound lout and I thought of my brother Mickey, a street fighter from way back who’s not afraid of anyone.
No, I didn’t try. That’s not how it works. Mickey came over me and me him, and I did what he would do.
Yeah, I always carry a small pocket knife and I use it for opening packages, bottles that kind of thing, but as Mickey, I grabbed the knife in my fist with the corkscrew protruding between my fingers and raked it across the mook’s cheek and then held it to the other guy’s throat and backed out of the men’s room.
I was heading to my table when the two shields walked in and hauled me out and brought me here to the station.
You got to go to the head, Detective? Go on hurry up. I don’t have all night I said; his Bad Cop tone coming out of me.
Paul lives on the CT shoreline and writes wherever he travels. His flash collection, “Peek” pub by Big Table Publishing can be found at www.pincusb.com. He was one of the winners in Queen’s Ferry Best of the Small Fictions (2016).