“What a schmuck,” murmured Gordo, swigging from a bottle of Coors. “Still owed me twenty bucks. Now I’ll never see it.”
“Hey, Morey was a nice guy,” countered Amber. “He gave me my Tilda, and she’s great.”
Sasha sniffed. “Didn’t give you a weddin’ ring, though. Shitty deal, you ask me.”
Morey lay stiff and starched in the coffin. The mortician had dolled him up special. Amber wanted the bruises and cuts hidden and four missing front teeth replaced. Morey looked like a million, and Mr. Burry wasn’t making out too bad, either.
Morey was laid out at Sharkey’s Bar. The owner couldn’t refuse. After all, Morey was his muscle at the door for twenty years. Mr. Bury fussed that a bar was hardly a place for a mortician of his stature, but an extra five bills took care of any objections.
By noon, everyone was drunk, and Morey? At least you couldn’t smell him, what with the beer and perfume and Mr. Bury’s scented flower arrangements. Not much high-brow drinking, mostly beer, but they tipped Louie extra. Dino got all homesick for Crete and started in on the ouzo too soon… he fell flat off the barstool. People stepped over him discreetly.
“You know, Amber,” said Louie from behind the bar, “I’m gonna miss that bastard. He shouldn’t oughta got mixed up with that fix at the Downs. Backfired, and now here he is, all dead and shit. Sorry.”
Amber downed a quick lime-tequila-salt slammer and said, “He was in the right place at the right time with the wrong luck and no gun. I told him, ‘Morey, take some protection,’ but then again,” another shot of tequila and a grimace, “I told him to use protection with me, and that’s how I got Tilda.”
Morton “Morey” Kelley, aged 52, eulogized by a chorus of semi-friends and a couple of enemies who sang along with Credence on the jukebox and slipped Amber cash. And the occasional tongue.
© 2012 Amy Barlow Liberatore/Sharp Little Pencil
For Trifecta: Third definition of “Observe”: To celebrate or solemnize (as a ceremony or festival) in a customary or accepted way. This is as customary as it gets in my family! As for “Mr. Bury,” there actually is a funeral home in Buffalo named “Bury Funeral Home.” And Sharkey’s is in my hometown, Binghamton, best spiedies going and the whole place smells like old beer and marinated pork.