Today I’m doing something new: writing from a prompt. I’ve done a few prompt responses in the past, but never on this blog! Just some forewarning – I’m writing this yesterday as I’ll be busy all evening tonight. Also, I’ve done very minimal planning for this so it is essentially a freewriting exercise.
“Buy me another beer and I’ll tell you why I did it.”
Your own drink in your hand, your eyes sidle down the bar towards the voice. To your surprise, a man is staring at the side of your head from a few seats down. He wears a large brown coat, but otherwise looks fairly normal. You ignore him anyway, turning back to your glass on the many-ringed bartop.
“Excuse me!” the man says, and you hear him shuffle closer. You turn your head towards him, a skeptical expression on your face. He stares at you with uncanny certainty. “Buy me a beer and I’ll tell you why I did it,” he states again, with confidence.
“Did what?” you ask, your glass meeting the table as you size him up. He doesn’t look like he’s on anything, but looks can be deceiving. At your question, he sits back in his chair, a little disappointed. He takes a deep breath.
“Well, it happened a while ago,” he says, finally breaking his line of sight with you, turning to face the bar. A whimsical expression dances across his face. “I saw this girl, see. Brown hair down to her shoulders. Body to die for. I saw her walking to work one day,” he muses. You sigh. Definitely on something.
“Well I’d be damned if that was the last time I was going to see her. So I checked out where she was heading, and it was the gym down the road,” he continues. You know that gym. You used to go regularly with some work friends, some years ago. “Well, this girl was a bombshell, right? I couldn’t just let her go on her own. So I started going with her.” He starts tracing some patterns on the bar with his finger. You’ve got nothing better to do, so you keep listening to the nutter. You can’t remember why you stopped attending that gym.
“She played so hard to get though, you know? Wouldn’t give me the time of day. Until one day, when I pissed her off, she had a go. Said there was another feller she liked. Well I wasn’t having that.” By this point, your interest in his tale has wavered. You instead wonder about the colleagues you used to meet there, all those years ago. Like Layla.
“I waited until the next day, then I went off on her. Told her she shouldn’t be leading me on like that. I’m a good guy!” he cries. “Hey, are you still listening to me?” he asks you, some anger in his voice. You’re jolted out of your reverie. Had you seen this man before? You earnestly nod at his piercing gaze.
“The bitch just told me to piss off again. That the feller at the gym was the only one for her. That I had no business talking to her anyway. She threatened to call the police!” he says, his voice slowly raising in volume. He’s standing now, and you join him, stepping backwards.
“Well I had to stop her, didn’t I? Couldn’t have her running off with any random bloke,” he says, looking you up and down. You step back again. his eyes take on a crazed look. “I did it down an alley, not far from here. As she walked home from that gym,” he says. “Wrapped my hands around that pretty neck of hers and shook all that pomp and prissiness out of her.” He sits back down on his bar stool as you back even further away.
You’d stopped going to that gym because Layla hadn’t come back one day. She didn’t show up to work. You’d never come to terms with her disappearance. The man in front of you just turns back to the bar. You explode.
“How could you do that? Because she rejected you? What kind of person does something like that?” you sputter, knocking chairs out of your way in the otherwise deserted bar. The words pass your lips before you can stop them. “Why did you kill her?
He glances at you as a smile forms on his lips.
“You haven’t bought me a beer.”