Frank Armstrong is the star of Joshua Hale Fialkov’s acclaimed graphic novel, Tumor. Stop by today and tomorrow on MulhollandBooks.com for Frank’s continuing adventures in prose, with original illustrations from Noel Tuazon.
Thursday at the King Eddy is just like every other day. Except this Thursday is what they call Everybody’s Payday. It’s that rare month where disability checks, V.A. Pension checks, and the last of the month fall on the same day. It might as well be Christmas Eve it’s so busy in here. My usual stool’s occupied, so I take up a small table in the corner and stare at the girl behind the bar so she knows what I want.
The past few months have been a blur of gin stains seeping through nicotine stains and sopping up into my skin. Camonte cut me loose after what went down, and I realized that aside from being a mediocre hitman, an errand boy for thugs and murderers, and a drunk, my prospects were nil.
And so it goes.
Drunk by ten thirty in the am, wandering through downtown aimlessly from noon ‘til five, then back to King Eddy’s for the dinner rush. King Eddy’s serves food, so between the booze, the cigarettes, and plates of one-dollar meatloaf, my life pretty much revolves around this place.
And the Nickel, around the corner. That’s where my wife died. They also have a helluva good omelette and these bacon donuts which sound revolting, but, man, they really hit the spot.
I’m proud to say I keep my schedule daily. If a man ain’t got nothing else, at least he can be regular. So, like regular, Dennis from behind the bar walks over with my one-dollar plate of meatloaf and mashed potatoes, with a double of bourbon on the side.
“How you doin’ Frank?”
“Some guy was here lookin’ for you. Stocky, looks like a cop.”
“You mind pointing him out without pointing me out?”
“Of course. Comes with the dinner.”
Some fat ass cop is lookin’ for me. Fantastic. Maybe Camonte’s pinned Rosa’s murder on me. Hell, maybe ‘pinned’ isn’t the right word. Turned me in, or gave me up. I didn’t kill her mind you, I just may as well have.
I hesitated. There was a single moment when I could’ve done something. I could’ve stopped him from shooting, or at least gotten in the way of the bullet.
I drink to forget.
It doesn’t work.
Continue reading “B & E: A Frank Armstrong Story”