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Once Burned

Once Burned

Description : Once Burned
I parked my bike in front of the restaurant, wiping the perspiration from my upper lip. It was unseasonably warm this January, but sweating during a Florida winter was better than freezing in a Northern one. I twisted my hair into a knot, my neck cooler once the long black swath was off it. With a final swipe at my forehead, I entered the restaurant, ignoring the tables in favor of the patrons seated at the bar.

It only took a glance to see that most of them were average height, with a few extremely tall exceptions. Damn. If Marty wasn't here, then I had to ride to his next favorite hangout, and it looked like it was going to rain. I threaded through the tables, making sure to keep my right hand affixed to my thigh so it wouldn't accidentally brush anyone. It was that or wear the bulky electrical glove that inspired questions from nosy strangers. When I got to the bar, I smiled at the pierced, tattooed man who scooted enough to give me space at the countertop.

"Seen Marty?" I asked him.

Dean shook his head, rustling the chains that led from his nostrils to his ears. "Not yet, but I just got here."

"Raquel?" I called out. The bartender turned around, revealing a beautiful but bearded face that tourists surreptitiously or openly stared at.

"The usual, Frankie?" she asked, reaching for a wineglass.

That wasn't my real name, but it was what I went by nowadays. "Not this time. I'm looking for Marty."

"Hasn't been in yet," she stated.

Raquel didn't ask why I'de in person instead of calling to ask that same question. Even though all the carnies...