Sea Legs by Kent Gowran

Izzy spit teeth onto the sidewalk outside the Hidden Cove Lounge and watched the reflection of the bar’s neon in the window of a long black car parked at the curb. His eyes shifted to the bald tank of a man who’d liberated a couple of his pearly whites. “You’re gonna have to do better than that, Randall.”

The chrome dome tried to roll his shoulders in a menacing way, but it came off as awkward, like he just wasn’t sure of himself. Izzy sucked at the spot where his teeth had been and when Randall launched an upshot to his jaw and he bit down on his tongue. His mouth filled with blood as he rocked back onto his heels for a moment, then planted his feet, opened his mouth, and let the blood flow out onto the front of his shirt. “You know, man, I liked you better when you were wearing all that crappy King Diamond looking clown make-up and drinking grape Faygo all the time. I mean, come on, I could at least take you seriously when you were. Now? Not so much.”

Randall took a step back, his skin flushed red, and shook with rage. “I told you, Bobo is dead.”

“Maybe it’s time for a resurrection?”

Randall let out a roar and unleashed a kick that caught Izzy square in the balls and lifted him up and off his feet. He flopped down onto the sidewalk, scrapped the left side of his face, rolled to one side, and came back up onto his feet. He limped toward the black car and put his hand on the hood to steady himself. “All right… All right… Now you’re getting into it.” Izzy shook out one leg then the other, shook his arms, and twisted his neck from side to side until he got a loud crack and pop out of it. “Let’s go, tubby. Make me feel it.”

For a big guy, Randall moved fast. Izzy had just enough time to think: Too fast. The first blow was a brutal pop to the face that pushed his nose off to one side followed by a quick right-left-right barrage that sat him down on his ass. He realized a flock of cartoon cuckoo birds were due on the scene and was about to say something about their being tardy when Randall put a boot into his gut, hard, and then set his kicking leg on the repeat cycle.

“How about that? You feeling that?”

A woman came out of the Cove with an unlit cigarette dangling from her mouth, watched Randall kick Izzy a few more times, then took out a cell phone and snapped a quick picture of the action. She looked at the shot for a moment and said, “I’ve got to post this one on my wall.”

Randall stopped working on Izzy and stepped toward the woman. “Don’t do that.”

She held up the phone to his face. “Too late.”

It was a good action shot, and Randall thought he looked kinda badass. Not full-on badass, because he could see Izzy grinning like an idiot in the shot. The fucker was having a good time. He shook his head and looked down at his boots before he turned away from the woman and found Izzy back on his feet. “Shit.”

“Can I see that?” Izzy stepped over, one hand held out toward the woman. “Just a quick look?”

She looked uncertain.

“Come on, I’m not going to smash your phone or something.”

“Well…”

“Please?”

She handed Izzy her phone. He looked at the picture, gave an approving nod and opened his hand. It broke apart when it hit the sidewalk, and Izzy stomped on its remains.

“Hey!”

Izzy took hold of the woman’s chin. “Shut up, go back inside, and have a few more drinks. All right?” He tightened his grip and made her nod her head. “That’s the way to be.” He started to smile, but let out a scream instead.

Randall, fist full of Izzy’s hair, yanked him away from the woman and bounced his head off the street parking pay box. He went limp and Randall held him under one arm. He looked at the smashed phone on the ground, then at the woman, and took out a roll of bills with his free hand. He thumbed off a half-dozen, held them out to her, and said, “Sorry about my friend. He’s an asshole.”

“He’s your friend?”

“For lack of a better word.”

“Why were you beating him like that?”

“He busted your phone and put his hands on you,” Randall said. “It wasn’t right.”

“That’s not what I meant.”

“Oh.” Randall looked at Izzy, let out a sigh. “He was bragging about his sea legs.”

“Sea legs?”

“Not like a sailor, but, you know, saying he could take a beating and stay on his feet. Like that.”

“And that’s why you were fighting?”

“It wasn’t a fight.”

The woman laughed. “Shouldn’t the two of you be locked up somewhere?”

“Izzy probably should be.”

“Izzy?”

“Well, Issac. He doesn’t like his name.”

“What about you?”

“I shouldn’t be locked up. He’s the nut. I’m just his friend.”

She considered that for a moment. “Do you have a name?”

Randall nodded. He thought of telling her his name was Bobo, but opted for the truth instead. “I’m Randall.”

“And I’m Luann.” She stuck out her right hand to shake, and Randall put Izzy down to free up his own. He shook her hand, it was cool, and he thought he might be falling in love. His face got hot and she smiled. “I’d give you my number, but, well…”

“Yeah.”

They stood there in silence, each watching the other, then Randall said, “Want to go get some pancakes at the Golden Angel?”

Luann looked back toward entrance to the bar, and said, “Sure.”

“Just give me a minute.” Randall hauled Izzy off the sidewalk, dragged him to the rear of the long black car, used a remote to open the trunk, and stowed his unconscious friend inside. He tossed the remote in with him, and closed the trunk. He stepped back onto the sidewalk. “All set.”

“Is that your car?”

“It’s Izzy’s.”

“Oh.”

“Believe me, Luann, it won’t be the first time he’s come around in the trunk of his own car.” She laughed that, and Randall held out his arm. “Nice night for a walk, huh?”

She took his arm, looked up at him, said, “You’ve got a little blood on your cheek.”, and cleaned it off with a kiss.

Bio: Kent Gowran was born in the country and lives in the city. His stories have appeared in Plots With Guns, Needle: A Magazine of Noir, DZ Allen’s Muzzle Flash, Horror Garage, A Twist of Noir, and other wild venues. Along with two nefarious cohorts, he edits the online flash fiction site Shotgun Honey. He keeps a sorry excuse for a blog at http://bloodsweatmurder.blogspot.com

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