The bar looked like the Devil's house on Christmas Eve. The lighting was garish and red. Two large illuminated tin soldiers flanked the mirrored stage, where a topless girl spun around the stripper pole beneath eaves of tinsel. Clarence Carter sang from the jukebox. Sheri was behind the bar. She was in her early fifties and gave the impression she had seen just about every vile or disappointing human act devised. I had just finished my first round when a young guy plunged through the doors and froze. He was thin, black, and nervous. He wore a red windbreaker over a t-shirt and sweat pants. Everyone turned and looked. He wasn't a regular. He looked around, then took up a spot behind me. "What'll ya have, hon?" asked Sheri. "Do you have a back door?" he asked. "No," said Sheri, "and if you wanna stay you gotta drink." Its was then I looked in the mirror across the bar. The man's windbreaker had fallen open slightly. A gun butt rose up from his waistband. I looked at Sheri. She'd seen the gun too. "Gimme a Miller's," said the man. Sheri looked at me. My favorite saying at the time was "get on with it." Whatever in hell was coming next, I figured there was no use delaying. "I'll have another shot," I said, holding two fingers against the side of my glass. Sheri waddled off and came back with the drinks. I slid a $5 across the bar and sucked mine down. "That'll be two fifty," Sheri said to the gunman. But he wasn't listening. He was watching the door. "Two fifty, hon," she said, a little louder this time. But he had already turned and taken a few quick steps toward the door. As he began to push his way out, two cops crashed thru from outside and wrestled him down. The cops didn't fuck around. They quickly disarmed and cuffed the man. It was like watching a calf roping. Then one of the cops jerked him to his feet and pushed him face first through the swinging doors and out into the street. Another Clarence Carter song came on the jukebox, and a new girl took the stage. I eyed the gunman's bottle, which stood open and untouched on the bar. "Go ahead," said Sheri, "on me." I raised the bottle to my lips and got the hell on with it.