This story first appeared at Near to the Knuckle.
Tony sat at a corner table, his fingers laced around a glass of water, and watched the man traverse the room. He wore a grey suit, blue tie and brown shoes; and except for the limp, the man looked like a basketball player. He sat in the chair to Tony's right, the one facing the door.
"How long you been sober?" the man asked.
"What makes you think I'm an alcoholic?"
"Who else would sit in a bar with a glass of water?"
Tony spun the glass in his hand. Stared at the water. "Three months, twenty-six days."
The man saw Molly crossing the room and waved her off.
Tony raised his glass and smiled. "I'll have another."
"You like her," the man said.
"She's my daughter." Tony spun the glass some more.
The two men sat in silence while Molly deposited a full glass on the table and took the empty. She smiled at Tony. She didn't smile at the man.
"I got stuff to do," the man said. "You want to hire me, or what?"
"My wife is cheating on me." Tony's tone was as flat as a club soda that'd sat out all day.
"And you want me to find the guy. I charge one fifty a day plus expenses."
Tony lowered his hands into his lap while the man watched Molly slide a quarter in the jukebox. After a few groans from the relic, Hank Williams' voice filled the dusty air.
"Not exactly," Tony said. "I know who it is. A friend saw them coming out of the Super 8 in Smythville."
"How long has she been cheating on you?"
"Four months and thirteen days that I know of."
"So why am I here?" the man asked.
"You ain't figured it out yet?" Tony shook his head. "Man, you're stupider than concrete."
"She's your wife." The man looked toward the door. "I didn't know."
"Now you do," Tony said.
Before the man could make a move, a gun burped under the table and a bullet enter the man's gut. He raised a bloodied hand as a second bullet joined the first. His hand dropped like it was weighed down. His shoulders slumped, and his torso bent to one side.
Tony walked to the front of the room and placed the gun and a Benjamin on the bar. The bartender put the bill in his shirt pocket and the gun under the counter.
"I'll see everything gets taken care of, kid."
"Thanks, Uncle Frank. See you around."
Tony nodded three times to Molly and left the bar to go home to his wife.