Her hands were no good when it came to making things steady, though. Cassie kept them at her side as she walked down Claiborne Street toward the Saturn Bar.
Cassie's hands hadn't been steady since she read about Laurie Young being found.
Passing by the Black Cat Mini Mart, Cassie looked at the hand-painted sign propped in its windows. The sign was a pair of dice showing boxcars-two sixes. Cassie wondered if people had to dream of being lucky before they actually were.
Was it the same with death? Did people have nightmares the night before they died? Did they wake up, shake the monsters away and go into their day, never suspecting that this would be the day it all ended?
The alternative seemed worse.
Cassie looked at the sidewalk ahead. Kids had chalked a picture of flowers and guns there. An ambulance roared by down Claiborne. Somewhere there was laughter.
Did Laurie Young dream good dreams the night before she was taken and torn and dropped in the alley behind Big Lots? Did she have a dream of dancing at the prom she had shared with Cassie? Did she dream of her family, wake with a smile, and was taken anyway?
The Saturn Bar door jingled. Neon was smiling above beer signs and posters of jazz musicians. The air smelled like cigarettes and peppers and a dozen perfumes.
So much joy, sad and happy alike. Cassie marveled at it. She lifted the bar divider with shaking hands and did not meet the eyes of Alan, the bartender.
"Alan," Cassie said. "Do we have a gun here?"
If Alan gave her a look, Cassie didn't see it. She was looking at the cherries and the limes and the olives in their neat containers. She wondered what taste would be good enough to be a last taste.
"A gun?" Alan chuckled. "Why? What could happen?"
Cassie no more knew how to answer than she knew how to stop her hands from shaking. She used them to punch the clock and tie on her apron.
That would have to do.
Matthew C. Funk is a social media consultant, professional marketing copywriter and writing mentor. He is the editor of the Genre section of the critically acclaimed zine, FictionDaily, and a writer for FangirlTastic and Spinetingler Magazine. M. C. Funk's work features at numerous sites online and in print with Needle Magazine, Howl, 6S and Crimefactory. He is represented by Stacia J. N. Decker of the Donald Maass Literary Agency.