Death in the Bahamas…

               

There is no way out. It’s too late to change anything, I’m out of options. That’s what I kept telling myself. I sat on the couch looking out the window, from where I sat I could see the road. I was just waiting for the police to arrive. I was making myself sick with this debilitating anxiety, this overwhelming fear of being arrested in another country. What were the prisons like here? This is a far cry from America, the prisons have to be horrible. I need to just leave, find a way to just leave.

                “Hey man, you’re making yourself crazy. I really don’t think you killed the guy. Everybody at the bar knows who I am and where I live. If you had killed him the police would have been here last night.”

                Simon was doing his best to comfort me, but it wasn’t working. I know what I did. At least I thought I did, its all a blur. I just blacked out, the last thing I remember is Guy pulling me off of the guy, blood everywhere.

                Simon sat down on the other end of the couch, he turned on the television. He flipped through the channels until he found a cooking show.

                “Look, we’ve all lost control sometimes. The guy had it coming. I really appreciate you being there for me. I mean you went a bit crazy, but I know you meant well. Nobody is blaming you and I know you didn’t kill him, so stop worrying. Its going on three o’clock, if you were going to be charged for anything the cops would have already been here.” Simon was sipping on a beer, he had two in his hand. He handed me one. I took it, I needed to relax a little.

                Simon had been a good friend from the very beginning. He had given me a room to sleep in, he always shared his food and his beer. It’s been over six months since we first met, and he has been like a brother to me. Last night was way beyond anything I had ever been involved in before. I keep waiting to wake up, like this is some sort of insane dream and I’m in my bed and any minute now I’ll open my eyes.

                A car was pulling in the driveway, my heart was pounding. It was just Simon’s friend, Guy. He had gone to the market to get food for tonight. I needed to relax, to get this out of my head. My hands were bruised and there were a few cuts on my knuckles. I sat looking at them, trying to remember what had happened, how it all just exploded last night.

                “You need to put some medicine on those hands. You don’t want them to get infected.” Simon said as he put his beer on the table. I looked over at him and noticed the black eye he was sporting. There was a little nick on the bridge of his nose. Seeing that I remembered how it all started.

                We had all gone to the Cheeky Monkey last night, it was Simons favorite bar. Like he said everyone knew him there, he was probably their best customer. In fact, its where I met him six months ago. It wasn’t a big place, but it had a good-sized bar that filled up the main room. The bar was U shaped, connect to the wall so people could sit all the way around it. They usually had two bartenders working simultaneously, back-to-back. Fridays were always busy; it was when a lot of the new tourist were coming in and the room was always full of the regular local crowd and a fair amount of tourist.

                Last night we were celebrating the return of Simons friend from Australia, Guy. He is a big hulking brute with burn marks covering the left side of his body from a boating accident years ago. All the women loved his accent and last night was no different. He and Simon were in the corner at the regular table, they were always loud. The more alcohol, the louder they got. All of Simons friends were there, sitting around the tables in the corner. The lights were always low except for the red lights that were scattered around the room for ambience. It gave off a sinister look, contrasting with the brick walls and the red tables. Simon had made his way across the room to the bar, where he was chatting up some brunette that was sitting at the corner. She had an empty seat beside her, and Simon had grabbed it and introduced himself. He had this charming British accent that people loved. The drunker he got the more he sounded like Ozzy Osbourne, and being a short, chubby blond man just added to the attraction. He loved to make people laugh. Most people had no idea, but Simon wasn’t interested in any of the women, he was happily married. His wife worked in the States at some big government job. But Simon didn’t have an American passport yet, so he just stayed here in Nassau. He ran a big dredging company and preferred to stay in his own house and see his wife once a month when she came to visit. It was an unconventional marriage, but they were happy. I had never seen him cheat on her, but he loved to entertain everyone.

                The brunette at the bar, her name was Kaylee, and she was from somewhere on the East Coast. She was vacationing with her boyfriend, who had gone to the men’s room. Simon was having a good conversation with her, and she was enjoying his company. He bought her a drink and ordered a round for the table. I was hanging out in the corner with the rest of Simons friends when I saw Kaylee’s boyfriend come strolling through the room. He was a very tall, muscular guy. He had slicked back, dark hair and he was eyeing Simon. I was mid conversation with some local girl, and she noticed I had stopped focusing on her and was watching the situation at the bar. She was watching too, and we were both anticipating what was about to happen.

                The boyfriend came up behind Simon and shoved him out of the way, Simon caught himself from tripping over a chair near the bar. He turned and looked to see the boyfriend yelling at Kaylee. I stood up and made my way through the room. Simon had tried to laugh it off, but the big guy just lit into him, then he began poking his finger into Simon’s chest. I couldn’t make out what he was saying, the room was loud from the music and all the people talking. All I knew was I needed to save Simon.

                “Hey, get your hands off of him!” I yelled as I made my way through the heavy crowd of bar patrons. When I got to Simons side I asked him if he was okay, and then I felt a hand on my back shoving me into Simon. I steadied myself and turned to see the big guy moving toward me. He pushed me; his hands were huge. I felt him pushing the full weight of his arms into my chest, I tried to catch myself, but I just fell to the floor. Everyone had started yelling at the guy, this was a friendly place, and nobody ever started fights in here. As long as I had been coming here, I had never seen a fight or an argument.  I picked myself up off the floor, the bartender asked me if I was okay. He put a shot of tequila down on the bar beside me and told me to go get the guy. Simon was standing beside me, covered in beer from when the big guy shoved him. I grabbed the tequila shot and downed it, looking back at Simon.

                “Let’s go talk to this guy, you in?” Simon was on board, we headed for the door walking after the oversized troublemaker. Maybe it was the Irish in me, maybe it was the shot of tequila, but I wasn’t going to stand by while some guy brought the negative energy into my favorite bar. This had always been a safe place; a fun place and this this person had infected it. I took off my watch and handed it to Simon. We pushed past the people; they were all cheering us on. I opened the large wooden door of the bar and walked outside.

                “What the hell Kaylee? I go for a piss and you’re trying to fuck some old guy at the bar!” The man was holding the girl up against the wall, yelling at her and using that finger to make his point into her shoulder. With every word he poked her harder. She was crying, trying to explain her innocence. He was drunk, and he was angry.

                “Hey mate, your girl wasn’t doing anything. I was just talking to her. She told me she was here with her boyfriend. You are taking this too far; she was just being friendly. Let me buy you a drink, we can go back in, and all be friends. What do you say?” Typical Simon, trying to be everyone’s friend. I knew this guy’s type; he was an angry American and he was in a foreign country. There was no reasoning with him. He was just an arrogant meathead who liked to control women.

                “Fuck you, you British fuck. I’m not your mate!” And out of nowhere he threw a punch at Simon. He hit Simon right in the nose and Simon went down on the ground. That was the moment I started to black out with anger. Everything slowed down, it was like watching a movie in half speed. I saw Simon fall backwards and hit the wall, as he slid down to the sidewalk. I looked directly at the guy, straight in his eyes. And I launched at him with my fist in the air. I landed a punch right in his face. I felt his cheek bone and my hand meet. He stepped back and shook off the punch. His girlfriend screaming for him to stop. I heard a crowd behind me, everyone had come outside to see the fight. I didn’t wait for him to recover, I just kept hitting him. He landed a few punches in my waist, knocking the breath out of me each time but I was in a better position than him. I could hear the muffled shouts from the crowd, but all I could see was the top of this guy’s head. He was doubled over, blocking the punches as best he could. He kicked at me, hitting my leg with his. I stumbled to the ground, catching my breath. I had cut his forehead with my punches, and blood was trickling down his face. He was mad, he stood straight up and shook his arms. We had both caught our breath, there was no holding back. I launched a blow with my left hand across his nose and then an upper cut into his jaw with my right. His head went back, and he went down. I jumped on top of him, punching his face with my left and then my right. I had blacked out at this point and the next thing I remembered Guy was pulling me off of him. I looked down at him, his face covered in blood. His girlfriend, Kaylee was kneeling by his side. She was screaming that he wasn’t breathing. I looked at my hands, they were covered in blood.

                “Calm down mate, we got to get you home. I think you killed the wanker.” That was all I remember Guy saying as he walked me to the car. Simon was in the passenger seat, his nose bloody. Guy was driving and I was laying in the back. All I could think was, I killed a man. They drive was quiet, nobody spoke the entire way back to Simon’s house. I could see the moon out the car window. I felt all the turns and knew we were almost to Simons house.

                When I got home, I got in the shower and washed off the blood. I dried off and tossed my clothes in the wash. There was blood on everything. My shoes and glasses had blood drops on them. I passed out on the bed. The next morning, I felt like I had been hit by a truck. I stood up and walked to the mirror. I had bruises on my waist, and my chest. My hands were swollen and cut. I made my way down the stairs into the kitchen. Everyone in the house was hanging out in the den, I could hear them laughing and talking. When I walked into the room they all smiled at me. Simon stood up and walked over and hugged me.

                “There’s my champion! Where did you learn to fight like that? You beat that wanker’s ass!” Simon said with so much excitement. But I couldn’t be excited, I was terrified. I had killed a man last night. I was thinking about how to get off the island before the police came.

                “You guys are insane. I killed that man. I’m going to jail. Fuck, I’m going to a Bahamian jail, that’s got to be a lot worse.”

                “No, you didn’t kill him. You just taught him a lesson. You came out of nowhere and saved the day!” Simon laughed and sat down on the couch.

                I had been sitting on the couch for over an hour, drinking a beer with Simon when Guy walked through the door. He was carrying bags full of food. He sat them down by the door and walked into the den. Simon was watching his cooking show, and I was scheming a way to get off the island.

                “Holy shit, you both look like hell. So, I stopped off at the Cheeky Monkey and asked about the guy you desecrated last night.” Guy said loudly.

                “Yeah? What did they say?” I was on the edge of the couch just waiting for the horrible news.

                “Oh yeah, he was still alive. He came too and made his way back to the cruise ship. They left this morning. He was pretty torn up. You hit pretty good for a yank!” Guy laughed as he took off his sunglasses.

                “You mean he isn’t dead? No cops, he just got on the boat and left?” I had never been so relieved.

                “Ol’ Smitty saw the whole thing, he told me about it. He helped get the guy a taxi and him and his girl headed back to the boat. Nothing to worry about. Where the hell did you learn to fight like that?”

                I just sat there on the couch, feeling the throbbing pain in my hands. In a matter of minutes my life had gone from being a murderer and planning an escape and a life running from the police to now, just another day. I was starving, I stood up and headed to the kitchen to fix something to eat.

                Simon stood up, grabbed my arm. I turned and looked at his black eye. He looked up at me and smiled.

                “Thank you, I’ve never had anyone kill someone for me before. It means a lot knowing you have my back. We’re going back to the bar tonight, you coming?”

                I laughed and said, of course. Just another day in the islands.

Copyright 2021©James Heaton

The Blue Eyed Storyteller

www.blueeyedstoryteller.com

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