It was the day before Halloween, and I was on my evening walk. There was no moon that night, so it was very dark. I decided to walk along the 2400 block of Lincoln Avenue. I had never walked on this particular stretch of that street.
Walking is thirsty work, so I dropped into a bar for a beer. The place was dimly lit, musty, and cobwebs were in the corners. It seemed the place was ready for some paranormal infiltration!
I climbed onto a stool and signaled the barkeep.
“A beer please.”
The barkeep said:
“Did you come here to meet the ghosts?”
I could feel my face turning ashen and the hairs on my neck standing erect!
“What do you mean?” I gasped.
“Well, whenever I see a new face, I automatically think someone told you about the place and it’s bad karma. People enjoy being frightened.”
I stared at the bartender, he was a frightening looking bloke himself! He had black hair and slicked down long sideburns, tiny black eyes and a rough, sickly color to his skin. He was a big fella, with a scar on his left cheek. His mouth seemed to be molded into a perpetual sneer.
“I feel a little hungry, give me two of those hard boiled eggs and another beer.”
The barkeep smiled slightly. “Eat, drink, and be merry, that’s what I say.” He gave me my eggs and beer and a salt shaker.
“Who does the dusting around here, there’s lots of cobwebs.”
“We had a cleaning woman once, but she kept locking the lady customers in the restroom. She would let them out after about 15 minutes, they were well powdered by that time. The boss got rid of her.”
All of a sudden I heard a loud banging on the women’s restroom door. The barkeep ran over and unlocked the door. A frazzled middle-aged woman stumbled out.
“How did that happen? I thought you said the cleaning lady was sacked!”
The Frankenstein behind the bar said:
“That happens every once in a while, it must be the ghost of the cleaning lady.”
Then there was a loud crack of noise from outside the bar, it made me jump.
“It sounded like a gunshot coming from the alley that’s haunted by Dillinger.”
“Why does he haunt the alley?”
“Because it’s a DEAD END!”
I wasn’t in the mood for laughing.
I looked out the dirty window and down the street was the Biograph Theatre.
“That’s the place where they trapped Dillinger, wasn’t it?”
“That’s right, he was gunned down in the alley.”
I gulped down my beer and asked for another. All of a sudden the jukebox started up with some jazz music. But there was no one by the jukebox!
I looked at the barkeep, he was grinning at me.
“Did you do that?”
“No, it goes on by itself sometimes. Jazz was Al Capone’s favorite music. He once had an apartment around here.”
Just then a flapper-type woman, straight out of the 1920’s, came into the tavern and sat at the end of the bar.
“Who’s that?” I said, pointing toward the beautiful girl.
“I don’t see anybody, mister, I think the beer is affecting your mind.”
I jumped off the stool and ran out of the tavern. I was exhausted when I slammed shut the door to my apartment and slumped into a chair.
The next day was Halloween and I decided to go to the tavern again and see if what I experienced was real. But when I got to the spot where the tavern was, there was only an EMPTY LOT!
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Great story cousin I liked the end, it caught me by surprize. I really like stories that make you look scared all I have to do is look in a mirror.
THAT WAS PROBABLY MY FAVORITE “DAVE” STORY. I FELT LIKE I WAS BACK IN “THE TWILIGHT ZONE”. OOOOOO,OO,OO. YIKES. I SCARED MYSELF.
Like the barkeep in the story said:
“People enjoy being frightened!”
Good one Dave!
You are too funny! Only you could manage to write a story about a haunted tavern. Great idea though, you should open one!