J is for Jukebox

“Come on, Mare. Enough already with the Britney tunes! Goddammit!! My ears are bleeding here!” I was thisclose to taking a bat to the damn jukebox just so I didn’t have to listen to anymore ‘baby, baby, baby’.  And if Mare doesn’t get her butt over here and help with this, I’m gonna…grrr…”Get down here, Mare! We’ve still gone one more case of glasses to dry before closing!”

I focused on the task at hand, wiping down the glass with the cloth, squeaks punctuating my movement.  I wanted to forget today ever happened.  It was a hell of a day.

I’d gone to Al to ask for a raise and he’d practically shooed me out of his office “It’s not a good time, kid.  With the new bar opening down the street, our regulars aren’t spending as much. Sorry.”

Sorry, shmorry was what I thought.  I stormed out of his office.  Money was tight.  Syd wanted to take swimming lessons but I just didn’t have the extra cash for those kinds of frills.

I was supposed to be already home that day to spend time with Syd.  I’d been neglecting him, my poor darling boy.  But Al had asked me to take over Marcia’s shift since she called in sick.  Taking the extra shift mean a little extra cash. But God, I was dead on my feet.  And Mare and her jukebox-Britney obsession was getting on my nerves, if they hadn’t been taken hostage already.

Recalling the day was NOT making me feel better.  Finally, I slammed the glass I was drying down on the bar top.  That’s it!  I’m heading home! The glasses can wait.  Better yet, they’ll all be dry by tomorrow morning anyway.  I was reaching for my bag, getting ready to walk out of that joint when I heard the jukebox whirr and the early notes of “Baby, one more time” play. God! Didn’t she get the message!

I felt a chill blanket me and red haze fill my eyes.  I turned to the jukebox and saw Mare standing there feeding it with more money undoubtedly ensuring Britney would play on a continuous loop.  I suddenly felt disconnected from my body, outside of myself.  I lifted a barstool and brought it down over and over.  My arms pumping up and down, sweat trickled down my brow, in between my breast.  I felt splinters of wood prick my skin.  My arms continued to move upwards and downwards.  Upwards and downwards.

After what felt like seconds, my arms slowed and I came to myself.  I looked and saw carnage – blood, Mare on the ground, pieces of metal.

But silence, oh the sweet sounds of silence.  The jukebox is quiet. Yay.


Note: Incidentally, J for Jukebox was written in Jakarta.