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Twenty Dollars To Fear (standard:humor, 1454 words)
Author: Jimmy MasonAdded: Sep 19 2007Views/Reads: 1898/1093Story vote: 0.00 (0 votes)
A moving truck's break down causes a most memorabel night at the local bar

Devlin Baker jumped out of the twenty five foot U-Haul on to the sheet
rock shoulder. The hood of the truck was billowing white noxious steam, 
coming from the cracked radiator. Devlin looked around at the little 
town he had found himself on the outskirts of, and released a whistling 
sigh. He turned back to the open door and fished out the card with the 
800 number, and then slammed the door shut. Sticking the card in his 
pocket he began trotting towards this godforsaken little hamlet in the 
middle of the all too featureless plains of Illinois. 

Coming into town Devlin saw a restaurant and made that his destination.
He muttered to him self. “A phone. Maybe a beer.” He judged the 
distance at about a mile. “Perhaps a shot even.” Devlin finished 
smirking to himself. The town seemed to consist of this block with the 
restaurant, and four other blocks, the surrounding area was corn and 
soy bean fields. Devlin couldn't recall seeing a sign as to the town's 
name or population, but in his opinion there were probably twelve 
living people in the town of “Nowhere”.  A strong wind blew across the 
cornstalks and the dry sound mixed well with Devlin's laughter at this 

Above the door was a sign reading McLanagil's Eatery & Tavern lettered
in bold dark red letters with green trim. Devlin opened the door and a 
set of brass bells rung him in to McLanagil's. Five tables peopled the 
floor along with four booths, From one of these a young couple regarded 
Devlin with curious eyes. Along the bar counter their were 14 stools, 
five of which were occupied. Devlin already liked the atmosphere in 
McLanagil's the multitude of neon beer label signs added a colorful 
light to the interior. Standing behind the bar watching Devlin 
approach, is a rough looking, barrel-chested    man, red headed, with 
glittering emerald colored eyes. “Something I can help ye with 
stranger?” Asked the bartender with a thick Irish accent. “Do you have 
a phone?” The man looked him over. “Aye, the telephone is back there.” 
Devlin fallowed the cocked thumb and saw the pay phone on the wall next 
to the bathrooms. Devlin slapped the counter lightly. “Thank you.” He 
walked back to the phone pulling out the card, He nodded to the five 
men sitting together at the end of the bar, and they nodded back. As he 
picked up the receiver and began dialing the helpline he herd the 
bartender call. “Are ye kids alright over there?” Devlin plugged his 
other ear with his knuckle but still herd them reply. “Yes Mr. 
McLanagil.” Devlin then herd one ring, two rings, then three and the 
line picked up. An automated woman said crisply. “We're sorry, all 
lines are busy right now, please hang up and try your call again.” 
Devlin slammed the phone into it's cradle, catching a glimpse from the 
bartender. He held up his hands and then tried the helpline once more. 
This time it didn't even ring she just came back. “We're sorry, this 
call can not be made at this time, please hang up and try again.” 
Devlin looked at the card puzzled and the voice came again, “ Please 
hang up and try again.” Devlin gently hung up the phone this time and 
walked back towards the bar. 

He took a seat away from the other five men, the bartender walked over
and jammed his hand across the counter at Devlin. “Name's Shamus 
Nathaniel McLanagil.” Devlin took the hand. “Devlin Baker.” Shamus 
smiled. “What can I get ye to drink?” “A beer and a shot of whiskey.” 
Devlin figured he couldn't drive, so why not have a drink? He looked 
down the bar as Shamus got his order and saw that the five men were all 
looking at the same thing. The man in the middle of the group has a 
farmer's almanac out and open on the bar, they all seemed intrigued. 
The man closest to Devlin said to Shamus. “It's an evil moon tonight 
Mr. McLanagil. You may want to close up shop early.”  Devlin laughed 
along with everyone else at the bartender's reply. “I pay no mind to 
that kind of blarney, Mr. King. Now eat your peanuts and shut up.” A 
beer bottle and a shot of whiskey was set in front of Devlin. “Thank 
you Shamus.” “Your welcome sir.” Shamus leaned on the bar. “So tell me 
Mr. Baker, What brings ye to me tavern so late in the afternoon?” 
Devlin slammed the whiskey and walked it home with the beer. “I broke 
down just outside of town. I'm on my way to Ohio and now I'm trying to 
contact the U-Haul people.” Shamus stood back up. “Well there is a 
hotel here in town. Just in case you don't contact them.” He headed 
down the bar ready to serve. Devlin took another drink of beer and 
looked out the window. Dusk had come to the world and a large orange 
hunter's moon was already working it's way above the horizon. A thought 
occurred to him. Jane would be worried about him, this breakdown was 
going to set him back a few hours. He got up beer in hand and walked 
back to the pay phone. McLanagil came over and refilled Devlin's empty 

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