I saw Allan again today. I can't go to The Bank anymore without seeing him. Can't help thinking that the entire evening had been a Catch-22, just waiting to happen.
A few months back, (7 months, 2 weeks and 4 days to be exact) Allan and I had gone out for the evening. We hit up our usual haunts; Redline, Scavenger, Bar-Hops, etc. At The Bank, Allan had this strange feeling that someone had been following us.
He was a tall, lanky fellow. About 6' 3"; couldn't have weighed more than 135 lbs, soaking wet, with bricks in his pockets. Longest goddamn trenchcoat I had ever seen. It hung just centimeters off the ground. Had himself a black cowboy hat, you know the kind with the sides curled up. That and his handlebar mustache, this guy was unmistakable. He looked like the villain in some sort of bad western set in 2012.
Anyway, Allan said he had seen the guy at Redline earlier, and now he was here. The guy had even thrown a few looks in his direction. I hadn't noticed him myself, so I just said it was probably just a coincidence, and the guy probably thinks we're following him now. The guy just stood at the end of the bar, sipping what looked like a bloody mary, minus the celery stick.
We mingled around the club a while longer, mixing with the random folk we generally run into. Allan was fixed on that guy though. Couldn't stop looking at him. Finally I dragged him outside for a smoke. Peaches followed us out, rambling on about her cat eating her X, and how she didn’t have any money for more, but instead had to trade "favors" for it in the ladies room. She finally decided the ground was too steep for her and headed back inside.Allan pacing like a caged animal the entire time, I grabbed him by the shoulders and told him to calm down. He swore something was up with that guy, so we waited outside to see if he followed us out.
15, 20, 25 minutes ... Nothing.. The guy was inside, and seemed to be staying there.
Refusing to go back in, we moved onto the local watering hole about 3 blocks west. If the guy came in here, we'd know he was following us. It was a little mom & pop hole-in-the-wall. Only people who came in here were the old retired Vets, sitting at the bar talking about the time Joe Louis came in.
This wasn't some hip, trendy place the club hoppers go to. Although, thinking about it, that guy would probably fit in here better than at The Bank. If not for his outfit being all leather, he'd stick out like a sore thumb in there.
We sat near the back wall, Allan turning to look out the window every chance he got. After an hour or so, he started to relax a little, but still visibly shaky. Allan gets up to order one last round for us. Glancing to his side, he sees the man standing across the street. He was so startled he would have fallen over backwards, had it not been for the octogenarian directly behind him, nursing his Tom Collins.
Now stinking of gin, the old man started yelling towards Allan. I got up at this point, not nowing what had been happening. I apologized to the old man, feverishly, trying to sop up the liquor with the world’s smallest napkin. The bartender wiping down the bar, mumbling obscenities to himself about "kids these days." Amongst all the commotion, I hadn't noticed Allan was outside already. I ran to the door to stop him, as Allan has been known to over react a bit when he's been drinking. By the time I got out, Allan was already yelling across at the guy, who wasn't moving at all. He just stood there, staring blankly, as if he was waiting for something. Allan stepped out into the street, not looking where he was going. He slipped off the edge of the sidewalk, stumbling into the street, causing himself to be plowed down by a small VW racing out of the alley. I looked around the street, but the guy was gone.
After the police finished their report, and the heavy zipper was shut around Allan, I sat on the edge of the sidewalk. With my head in my hands, shaking, I looked up and saw the man again. He walked towards me, with his hands in his pockets. He stopped over me, and I looked up asking why he had been following us all night. He said to me "Allan and I had an appointment." Then he turned and walked away. He lit himself a cigarette, with his red right hand, and disappeared about halfway down the road.
When it's your time to go, it's your time to go. But, if your fate teases you into it, is it still fate..?