Sipp of Whiskey Ch.1
(An website exclusive chapter for a co-authored work between @edwardvanwinkle and myself. If you want to see the other part it’s located here: https://www.patreon.com/posts/22638453)
Mississippi Bones, or Sipp as he’s known to his friends, sits in a dark bar staring at a broken. He’s nursing a whiskey and Coke, his favorite drink. His hands fumble around with a deck of cards. Black and worn. He shuffles through them absently.
“Well, if it isn’t my favorite person in the entire world.” A hand grabs ahold of Sipp’s shoulder before he can stand up.
“What do you want, Doc?” Sipp’s words slur together. It sounds like this isn’t his first drink.
“Just the money you owe. Toll comes due, even for you.”
“I don’t have it.” Sipp places the cards back into the tattered box.
The hand moves up Sipps back, onto his neck, and slams him face first into the bar. The bartender is nowhere to be seen. He took his leave when Doc walked in.
“Wanna try that again?” Doc pushed Sipp’s head further into the counter until he can taste the tears of divorcees.
“I mean I don’t have it… yet. I’m working on a big score.”
“Elaborate.” Doc pulls his hands away, so he can look Sipp in the face.
“Ever hear the legend of Snake Eyes Temple? Two diamonds as big as a toddler’s head.” Sipp slips his card back in his pocket, careful to palm one in his hand. It looks like it isn’t a normal card. It looks like it has a serrated edge.
“Nah. I’d love to hear about it.” Doc leans in close enough for Sipp to see his wide array of cavities.
“It’s real that’s for sure.” Sipp swings his arm around with his card in hand. Doc grabs him by the wrist and twists it until it pops. Sipp yelps, but pulls back.
“So, it’s going to be like this again?”
“Always will be. Can’t play the game if you won’t accept a lose.” Sipp runs forward swinging his other hand around, but Doc kicks him back into the bar. Sipp hra s his drink, downs it, and throws the glass. Doc backhands the glass away, and goes to strike Sipp again. He’s gone.
Sipp shoulders his way through the back doors and produces and set of keys. He scans the lot and presses the unlock button. Beep. Behind him, sits a purple Prius with a stethoscope hanging from the rearview mirror.
“It’ll have to do.” Sipp runs over to the car, unlocks, the door, and puts the car into drive. Good ole slow electric cars. He floors it through the parking lot and turn onto the road.
A bullet passes through the back window, but misses Sipp. Another shot but Sipp is already gone. The car is filled with trash, slim jims and banana taffy wrappers.
“Crap.” He was screwed. The second Doc found him in another seedy bar, he’d be toast. The road is open in all direction, and Sipp feels free for a moment.
A bit a movement catches his eye in the rearview mirror. Two black SUVs are trailing him. He twists the wheel and drifts into a back alley. The SUVs can’t follow thanks to the size of Prius.
Sipp slams on his breaks before emerging from the alley, a red pickup zooms by. Luckily, Sipp didn’t crash the car. He didn’t need that extra twenty grand on his tab. Sipp finds the closest parking garage and ditches the car. There’s no need for it, not anymore. He put the keys on the antenna and scribbles a note onto a playing card. Sorry. I’ll get the stones. You know that I don’t like confrontation. And he places the card under the windshield wiper.
After exiting the parking garage, he ducks into a storefront. His last few crumpled dollars goes to a tattered hoodie. Sipp pulls his hood up and checks his phone. The screen is webbed with cracks edging from the center.
After walking a bit more, Sipp slips into another alley. He finds a dumpster and places his lips wrist between the sticky lid and cool metal. His phone goes into his mouth. The phone flickers black and white, and he twists his wrist until it cracks back together. A tear springs to his eye, and he wipes it away with his hoodie.
“Sipp!” Doc is on the other side of the alley, standing with the light against his back. Sipl stares down a pistol barrel. They were maybe thirty feet apart.
“Can you give me a break?” Sipp spat his phone into his hand and produced the same strange card.
“I broke your wrist,” Doc said.
“That isn’t what I meant. Just back off. I’ll get your stupid money.”
“It’s too late. Far far too late.”
Sipp ducks behind the dumpster and a few scattered bullets smack into the metal. Ping. Ping. Ping.
The magazine pops and Sipp stands up, unfurls his arm and launches the card. It slices across Docs face. Tearing his face open with an audible pop.
Sipp could put an end to his running with just a few more steps. He lurches forward, rears back for a kick, but Doc pushed him back into the brick wall.
“You forgot about the one in the chamber.” Bang!
Sipp opens his eyes. Everything is white. His shoulder is encased in pain. His hands are tied behind his back. But he is alive as far as he can tell.
“Mississippi Bones. Kind of a stupid name, don’t you think?” A man with a pinstripe suit and a thin mustache walks into the light. Viktor, the head of the Killer Card Sharks. They were the ones Sipp owed money to.
“It was my dad’s idea. He thought it would be funny,” Sipp spits. His bullet wound is bound tight with bandages, and he feels stitches in his flesh. Of course, they didn’t want I’m dead.
“It is. I’ll give your dad that. I have a proposition for you.”
“I’m all ears,” Sipp says.
“You’re gonna go get the Snake Eyes. You’ll bring it back to us, and I’ll graciously absolve your debt. I might even give you credit. It’s up to you.”
“And if I say no?”
Viktor smiles. He rolls a small cart into view. There’s jumped cables hanging from a car battery on the cart.
“You’d be shocked what I might do.”
“I get it.”
“Then you leave in the morning.”