‘Trick’ by Bryan Jansing

sc june 18

I’m in line at the Laughing Dog Deli, forgetting everybody’s order.

“Hey, Trick,” I say.

“You look like shit,” he says.

“You eat shit!”

“Cappuccino?”

“Make it a double.”

Trick has perfected the cappuccino, makes them just the way I like them, like I was in Italy; dry, with a lot of froth and just the right amount of warm milk at the end.

“I also need sandwiches.”

Trick is one of a kind, that sort in life, the true loner; a Michigander who’s been in Colorado for years. He’s just finished school, has a writer’s degree and secretly, we all know he’s a serial killer.

“A writer’s degree? For what? Writing your papers?”

“Yeah,” he says, “Something like that.”

This Ted Bundy lumbers more like a Charles Bukowsky; pigeon-toed, overweight with little, beady, dark eyes that make him look something like a badger. If Disney needed a caricature of a serial-killer badger, Trick would be their man, right down to the long chops across his face. He waddles when he walks; his shoulders are broad, crooked from scoliosis and his small hands feminine. His hair is dark and thin exposing his white scalp. Behind those small, black eyes is a sharp man, a man of ideals, a rebel with no cause. To girls, he’s simply creepy. To me, he’s mysterious.

His feminine hands work the sandwich order. A couple of Tangos, made with black forest ham, Havarti, peppercorn, mayo, lettuce, tomato; three Ellis with prosciutto, roasted red peppers, fresh mozzarella on focaccia—my favorite.

After several minutes, Trick hands me the brown paper wrapped sandwiches and a couple more coffees.

“You gonna stop by after work?” I ask.

“You know it.”

“Thanks doctor.”

At the bar we devour our sandwiches. Fat Bastard thinks out loud.

“I can’t be in two places at once. And Dwayne’s going to need my help. And we need Porn Star behind the bar.”

“Why don’t you just ask Trick to do the door?”

“The creepy guy at the deli?”

“Yeah.”

“That’s not a bad idea,” Fat Bastard says with a mouth full of Ellis.

Later that night, Trick checks IDs. “Thanks, Brain.”

“For what?”

“For getting me in.”

“Is it worth it?”

“Yeah. Fifty bucks and all the beer I can drink.” He raises his pint glass to me and takes a swig as people walk up.

“IDs.” He stammers with a mouth full of suds.

“Do you work here?”

“No,” I say, “he doesn’t.”

I walk away.

“No really,” I hear Trick plea, “I do work here. I need to see your IDs.” Trick puts his pot belly, six foot, badger frame in front of the group so they can’t pass. One girl is about to walk away.

“Then why are you drinking a beer?” I hear a guy ask.

“Cause I’m thirsty. This job makes you very thirsty.” Trick says.

I let him flounder. One guy gets a little aggressive, but Trick holds his ground.

“What are you doing?” Fat Bastard asks.

“Watching Trick try to get these guys’ IDs. I told them he didn’t work here.”

“That’s funny,” he says and walks back inside.

“He’s still arguing with those guys?” Ace says.

“Yeah, and now that other group’s arguing with him.”

We both watch as Trick desperately tries to fend the growing crowd of naysayers off.  One guy’s had enough and gets in Trick’s face.

“Should we go down there?” Ace asks.

“I guess.”

“Hey!” I holler to the aggravated, bushy-headed man. “He needs to see your ID.”

The man relents and shows his ID. Trick is a little flustered.

“Why did you do that?”

“Cause it was funny.” I say.

“No it wasn’t.”

“Not for you, but funny for us.”

“That guy was about to fight me.”

“I know, we were watching.”

Pitbull comes down with another beer. “Good job, Trick. I was sure that guy was going to pummel you.”

“Jesus. And you guys just stood up there laughing at me?”

“Oh, come on Trick. Nothing happened.”

“It almost did.”

“Almost doesn’t count. But you passed. You stood your ground. Good job. Here’s your beer.” Pitbull hands him his pint. Another group of people walk up.

“ID’s,” Trick says.

“He doesn’t work here,” Pitbull says and walks away.

Bryan Jansing’s works include, “Like Clumps of Dried Dirt,” “Bridge Party,” and “A Number on Reality,” in Fast Forward Vol. 3, The Mix Tape (2010), which was the finalist for the Colorado Book Awards. He has written for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. His book Italy: Beer Country is the first book about the Italian craft beer movement.

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