Sunday, October 28, 2007

Red's - A short story.

When I was young there was a story often talked about but usually not believed. It was the story of how one night the devil himself came to Reds Bar in Espanola. Mothers used the story to try and keep their daughters from going out drinking and partying. Although there are many variations to the story as my Halloween treat to you I have written my version. Parts are from memory of the story as told to me when I was young and parts are filled in by me to complete the story. Enjoy, and Happy Halloween!


By Greg Solano

It was a long day at work, but thank god it was Friday. Julie began putting things away on her desk and began the process of shutting down the IBM Computer. Since her company switched to the expensive IBM computer things are a lot easier during the day. Keeping track of accounts and delinquencies is definitely easier. At the end of the day before the computer she just closed up the ledgers locked them in the file drawer and left for the day. Now it took about 45 minutes to backup the data to the tape drive and shut down the computers for the day. On Fridays it seemed to take for ever.

Julie never used to complain, not even to herself, things have changed lately. Her mother’s death changed everything. Her mother never liked Julie’s job. As a collection agent for a finance company her job was to hound people every day and get them to pay their delinquent loan payments. Julie was good at her job, relentless and without sympathy she was known in the company as the “Pit Bull”. Loan officers though out the company wanted their delinquent accounts assigned to her. She would collect and keep them out of trouble.

Julie’s mother Christina used to call her Jewel’s and as a devout Christian who’s own mother came to Santa Fe New Mexico from Mexico City only sixty years ago Christina always thought her beloved Jewel’s work was not a good job for a Christian. Calling people all day to get blood from a turnip, “how could you do it me hita? “ she would often say. Now Christina was gone and Julie felt lonely. Julie partied a lot but never was able to have a stable relationship. It was usually one night stands or just guys she partied with. Julie hadn’t partied at all for over a month now, not since her mother’s unexpected death.

Christina died in a horrible car accident. Her 1979 Caprice Classic was destroyed by the semi load of trees coming down from the ski basin. It was one of those freak accidents that no one could have ever believed would happen. She was headed home after her day at work cleaning the homes of the rich on Bishops Lodge Road. As she headed home a Semi truck passing her in the opposite direction dropped its load of trees just as it passed her car. The huge steel car was crushed and Christina died probably never even realizing what had happened.

The IBM was through with its back up and shutting down. Julie picked up her purse and headed home. On the drive home Julie began thinking of going out tonight. Many times she would head over to Espanola and party at Red’s. This was a very small bar that had live music on weekends. It was the in place even though it could easily be described as literally a hole in the wall. “What the hell? Julie said to her self.” It has been such crappy week I need to get out.

At home Julie began looking through her closet for a dress; she picked out her black long dress with some black silk high heels, black panty hose finished off the ensemble. Some deep red lipstick and she was on her way. Julie glanced at her watch and saw that it was eight o’clock as she pulled into Espanola and headed down the strip to Red’s. She adjusted her dress as she stepped out of her long Red Monte Carlo. The large steel door of the 77 Monte Carlo squealed loudly as she slammed it shut. Julie’s high heels clicked loudly on the pavement as she headed to the door of Red’s bar and lounge.

Red’s was a dark small bar. The long bar ran along one end of the room with several tables scattered around the rest of the room. A very small dance floor was situated in front of a corner that was cleared out to make room for a band. Three men were set up and playing a Cumbia. The singer was a short olive skinned man with a pretty good voice, another Hispanic was on the drums and the band was rounded out with a bass player. Reds smelled of old beer which had seeped into the dark red carpet night after night for the past twenty years. Julie waited for her eyes to adjust before heading to the bar. “Hey Al, how’s it going?” “Julie! Where you been it’s been a long time, sorry about your mom, it was horrible” Al said as he passed her a Coors. “Let me have a shot also, lets kick this night off right” said Julie as she took a big swig out of the cold Coors can.

The bar was packed tonight and as usual the ratio of men to women was at least three to one. It wasn’t long before men began asking Julie to dance. She obliged them all, she was in the mood to party. Of course it was only a dance, she didn’t pay attention to the flirtatious advances that came during and after the dance. She danced and drank the night away and before she knew it the clock struck eleven. Julie sat down and used the bar napkin to wipe the sweat from her face. Another man walked up and asked her to dance. “I need a break come back in a little bit” she responded. As she sucked down what had to be her ninth or tenth coors her attention was drawn to the front door as it swung open. A tall dark skinned man entered the door. He was gorgeous she thought to her self as he looked over the room. He was dressed in black with black silky hair that reminded her of Elvis Presley and a body that looked sculpted by Michael Angelo himself.

Their eyes met and it was as though he came here looking just for her. He walked straight to Julie’s table and outstretched his hand to her. All of a sudden she wasn’t tired any more. She took his hand and headed straight to the dance floor. Neither said a word and it didn’t even dawn on Julie that this was weird. Julie was mesmerized and the two began dancing. All of a sudden he was the only man she saw in the bar. The couple all dressed in black and in the center of the dance floor became the center of attention. Yet they paid no attention to anyone else. “Julie you’re a beautiful woman” the man said as he finally spoke. “How do you know my name?” she asked him. “I met you here a few months ago” he said. “I am sure I would remember you” she said as she put her hand on his chest.

“You were pretty lit up and having a good time” his lips cracked a smile as he said this. The two danced and laughed for the next hour. As the clock reached a few minutes until midnight they were still dancing when he glanced up at the clock. “I’ve got to go” he said, “why don’t you come with me?” “No, let’s stay” she pleaded, “its early; last call is not until 1:15”. She held onto him trying to keep him dancing as he began trying to pull away. “I’ve got to go, come with me, let’s go!” His voice changed from the smooth man to a sort of growl. Julie was used to getting her way so she began kissing him and pulling him closer. She ran her hand through his hair and as she did so she felt two bumps, the bumps were unnatural, hard and almost seemed like small horns.

Julie felt strange for the first time she looked at the man whose eyes now seemed to turn red; he had a goatee where there was not one before. There seemed to be heat coming from his body, it was like standing in front of a fireplace. His hand pulled up to her neck and long nails that were not there before scratched across her neck. She could hear screams but they weren’t from her. She hadn’t realized it but the band had not only stopped playing, they were running out of the bar along with everyone else. The bumps on his head had extended at least two inches into the air and his clothes were smoking. The bar smell had changed from stale beer to burnt flesh. Julie could feel warm blood slowly coming down from her neck. She backed up slowly with out even realizing she was doing so.

The devil himself had now appeared before her, he smiled and then ran out the door a glowing tail swinging behind him. Julie wanted to run but could not move. She stood there in shock, the only one left. She walked out, still stunned and got into her car and drove away. It was a long drive home, 45 minutes. She was trying to comprehend what had just happened to her. Her heart was still pounding and her chest was heaving. The long road between Espanola and Santa Fe was dark and seemed even more so than usual. Then up ahead she could see a red bright light. Maybe it’s a cop she thought; as she drove closer the light appeared to be in the center of the road. She slowed down and the closer she got she realized it was a man, a man who seemed to be glowing red. Even though it was still far away she could see his face, it was the devil from Red’s Bar. He was grinning, his arms outreached toward her. She swerved the car to the right, and hit the brakes. The car slid into a ditch on the side of the road and stalled. Panic struck as she tried to start the car.

Julie looked into her rear view mirror and saw the demon standing behind her car, still grinning. He touched the trunk of her car and flames quickly encircled the car. Julie tried to open the door but it would not open. She screamed so hard that hardly anything came out. The demon turned and walked away. Screaming and frantic Julie tried the door again and it still wouldn’t open. She began praying the Our Father….. Our Father, who art in heaven hollowed be thy name. Thy kingdom com, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Suddenly she felt something, something calming. At the drivers door was a cloudy white light, in the center of the light Julie could swear she saw her mothers face and heard “Jewels, come to me”. The door opened and Julie stepped out. She walked towards the light as the flames continued into the sky. The light dissipated and Julie sat on the hill side and watched her car go up in flames.

Tomorrow she would start a new life……

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