Pepper sat at the bar nursing her drink, butt dancing to the music Kenny and the Breakers were playing up on the stage. The Black Hole had a bad rep, and most anyone could have told her to avoid the place. Nearly all of the clientele had at least seen the back seat of a squad car in the best case, or more likely, served 2 to 5 in the state pen. The patrons were a mix of over the hill thugs, bikers looking for trouble, or folks looking to sell their wares, personal or chemical in nature, with the occasional clueless novice thrown in as a wild card.

Pop Riley regarded the lanky brunette sitting at his bar very much a wild card and figured there would be trouble. When she came in every pair of male eyes turned her way, and conversations stalled until she placed her order. After handing off a bottle of lite beer to her he reached under the counter to feel for the reassurance of his Maverick 88 pump action shotgun.

There were two other wild cards, a scruffy pair of drifters who had come in and taken up residence in the front corner about an hour ago. Both sat with their backs to a wall. They had wisely chosen a table near the door. They too seemed to be expecting trouble. They both openly leered at Pepper, and appeared to be egging each other on to get up and ask her to dance.

They soon lost their chance.

Wally “the Brick” Bargas noisily slid his chair out from his table, rose, and swaggered over to the bar.

“Hey ya, darling,” he said as he sidled onto the stool next to her. “What’s your name?”

Pepper regarded the burly biker with open disdain, then turned her attention back to her beer.

Wally leaned in closer. “You have a name, I assume?”

This time she favored him with a slight smile. “Pepper.”

He raised an eyebrow. “Nice name. I like ‘em hot. Want to dance?”

She shook her head, no, and took another sip from her beer.

Wally raised two fingers to Pop, who immediately placed two new beers on the counter between them.

“I think we should dance,” Wally said, grabbing her wrist. As he pulled her from the stool he also slipped a pill into her beer with the practiced move of an old hand.

The two men in the corner rose and drew as one.

“Police officers! On the floor.”

Pepper suddenly twisted, pulling Wally off balance, and threw him to the ground. She planted a knee firmly in his back as she yanked his forearm up between his shoulder blades. Three men from Wally’s table started to rise, but settled back when they saw one of the undercover cops had them covered.

Behind the bar Pop instinctively glanced to his right to see a gun aimed straight at him. He slowly and carefully drew his empty hand from underneath the counter.

As Pepper cuffed Wally three uniformed officers barged trough the door, weapons drawn.

“Everybody, put your hands where we can see them.” The detective covering the bikers aimed his gun at one of them, center mass. “You. Hands on the table.” The biker reluctantly complied.

The other detective worked his way down the bar and bagged Pepper’s spiked drink as well as Wally’s.

“You, OK, Sharon?” he asked Pepper.

“I’m fine,” she said as he helped her haul Wally to his feet.

“You like spiking ladies drinks, Wally?” the detective said leaning in close. “I’ll bet your DNA will prove most interesting.”

Sharon gave Wally a shove toward the door. “Let’s get this scum bucket downtown.” she said. “Man, I can’t wait to get out of these heels.”

© 2015 by J. M. Strother, all rights reserved.

  3 Responses to “Hot Pepper”

  1. Nice one. If only it were so clear which places to avoid having one’s drink doped. Several years ago it made local news when a woman had her coffee spiked at work. (She worked at a school.)

    • Lovely. You certainly would not expect that in the workplace. But then, there were the 4th graders in the news last week who tried to poison their teacher. It’s a wonderful world.

      Sharon, aka Pepper, may become a regular part of the force in my Marlin Henderson stuff. I ended up liking her too much to throw away.
      ~jon

  2. Taut little scene. I see why you like writing Pepper.

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