Image by: Cliff

Bar Bet

Lil’ Brutus scowled when he saw them sitting in a booth at the Corner Pocket.  He’d thought about going home after work.   But he knew his old lady would be waiting for him.   It was Friday and she would already be tight and mouthy when he got home.   Besides that, his father-in-law, Big Brutus would be sitting out on his porch drinking and telling everyone what had happened out at the job site.   Lil’ Brutus would end up in a fight with the old man and then his weekend would be fucked.   Which was why he’d decided to go for a drink at the Corner Pocket off of Santa Barbara, instead of going home to the south cape.

“Lil’ Brutus, Yo!”  Happy Halloway called from the corner booth.

“Lil’!” Happy’s friend,  Taco added.

Lil’ ignored them and went to the bar.   Meredith was tending bar and pulled up a Corona  as soon as he sat down.   Lil’ Brutus smiled at her.   “You know if you weren’t so old I’d leave my wife for you,” he said.

“And if you weren’t so fucking ugly I’d  keep you in my yard with my pit-bull,” she smiled.

“Lil’ don’t be that way,” Happy called across the bar.

“Seems your cracker friend wants you to join him,” Meredith said.

“He ain’t my fucking friend,” Lil’ said and drank his beer.

“From what I hear he’s the pimp for a whore you were poking,” Meredith said.

“He’s been talking that shit here?” Lil’ asked, setting down his beer.

“Don’t get worked up Lil’.   You know Happy is always doing stuff like that.”

“Not to me, he fucking don’t,” Lil’ said getting up.

“Careful,” Meredith warned, “Charlie’s not in a good mood and if something happens he will bust heads and ask questions later.”

“Nothing is going to happen.  I’m just going to have a talk with him,” he said getting his beer from the bar.

“Lil’,” Happy said, getting up and throwing a hand out to the bigger man.

Lil’ shook his hand then sat down in the booth across from Happy and Taco.  “I hear your telling people about the doll,” he said.

“Nah, man, you’ve got it all wrong.  I’ve been showing them the video,” Happy said showing him the video display on his cellphone.

Lil’ looked at it.  There were at least twenty videos of Happy and the dolls to choose from.

“Check this one out bro,”  Happy said, and started a video playing.

The video was of Hector, who was a framer from Guatemala who was part of Happy’s crew.   “Boss, I need a ride.   I’ve got to get my truck back,” Hector said.

“This is one of my guat six-pack, Hector, and we are going to go get his truck back from the repo man,” Happy addressed his cellphone.

There was about ten seconds of video of them leaving the job site and driving to the dealership where the repossessed truck was being held.    Happy recorded their arrival at the dealership office but then he was outside the office.  “The man says I can’t record in there.   Two party consent state.   So Hector is getting his truck back now and-”

“Boss!  Boss!  Come Here!” Hector was yelling.

“Man, wonder what Hector is all fired up about?” Happy said to the cellphone.

The video showed the car lot and Hector pointing into the window of his truck.  “What the fuck?  What the fuck?” He repeated.

Then the video showed the cab of the truck and an inflatable male sex doll strapped into the driver’s seat.    The video was then a close up of Happy’s face as he grabbed his head in shock, “Oh shit!  Hector’s truck wasn’t repoed.  It was his gay lover Raul who drove it here!”

“Fuck you, Happy!  Not cool!  Not fucking cool!” Hector said, shoving the cellphone out of his face.

Lil’ smiled.

“You get it,” Happy said.   “I told you that Lil’ got it.”

Taco shrugged.

“My brown skinned savage friend here thought you were all pissed off about what happened this morning.   But I told him, no, Lil’ ain’t that way.  He knows we are all sweating our balls off out there and if we can find something to laugh about it makes the day go a little faster,” Happy said.

Taco looked at Lil’, “You did say you were going to rip Happy’s dick off and shove it up his ass.”

Lil’ nodded.    He’d been called over by his boss, Big Brutus, and told to finish laying block where Miguel had stopped.   He’d moved all his equipment over and was starting to get block when he saw the inflatable doll’s ass sitting on the wall with a note on it that read: Be Gentle Lil’ Brutus.

Big Brutus had fallen out laughing and Lil’ Brutus had chased Happy out to his truck.

“It was Big Brutus that wrote the note,” Happy said, “He was also the one that drew the asshole on the doll.”

Lil’ shook his head.  It was a good thing he hadn’t gone home.

“Meredith, I’ve got this round,” Happy said, motioning to the bartender.

“On my way,” she said and got drinks for the three construction workers.

“You’ve been with Big for what. . .ten years?” Taco asked.

“Eleven.  I started with him when I was nineteen,”  Lil’ said.

“Was that before or after you met his daughter?” Happy asked.

“After,” Lil’ said, their son was going to be thirteen next month.

“Shit, man.  You’ve got to be some sort of mad animal to be doing that work for that long,” Happy said.

Lil’ smiled.   He’d been an average built kid of 19 when he started working for Big.  But a few months on the job had loaded him with muscle and he was still lean and strong at thirty-one.

“Anyway, Taco and me we were having a few drinks and playing a few games.   You like to gamble, right?”  Happy asked.

“Yeah, I sometimes go bet on the dogs or play poker up at the track,” Lil’ said, rolling his fingers.

“Here you go, Corona for you,” Meredith said setting another beer by Lil. “A Patron for you,” she set a glass next to Taco’s other glass.  “And a Crown Royal for you.”  She set  the glass of whiskey down in front of Happy and took his empty one away.

“Thank you, darling.” Happy said.  “Let me ask you something.”

“What, Happy?” she asked.

“You got any rolls of coins?”

“Probably, why?  You going to a strip club?”

Happy started laughing.   “No, but I might do that.   Get some quarters and drop’em down a G-string.   But, no,  I need them for a game.   Pennies, nickels, quarters.  Whatever you can spare.”  He handed her a twenty dollar bill.

“I’ll be right back,” Meredith said and went to the office to get the rolls of coins.

“I don’t get it,” Lil’ said.

“You ever play blackjack?” Taco asked.


“Then you know about card counting,” Happy said.

“Everyone knows about card counting,” Lil’ said, and picked up his beer.

“What people don’t know is that it is all about 1, 2 and 3,”  Happy said.

“Bullshit,” Lil’ said.  “Face cards are ten, Ace is 11 and 1.”

“Yes, but that isn’t how you work it in your head.  You’re counting into a nine pack shoe and you think you are going to run it like that?  Shit no.” Happy said, “You always value them a 1, 2 and 3.”

Meredith returned with a roll of quarters, two rolls of pennies and a roll of nickels.   “Thanks, Darling.  Keep the change.  Could you break those open and dump them on the table,” Happy said.

Meredith looked at him, then Lil’ and finally Taco.  No one said anything so she cracked a roll on the edge of the table and dumped out the nickels.  She then dumped out the quarters and finally she cracked open the two rolls of pennies.

“Ok.   Meredith, grab a handful of coins and don’t let me see how many you take,”  Happy said.

“What’s this about, Happy?” Meredith asked.

“Lil’ here doesn’t think I know how to count cards.   I told him it is all about 1, 2 and 3.   So I’m going to show him that I can do it by counting coins,” Happy said.  He wasn’t smiling.

“But. . .” Meredith began.

“A handful, don’t let me see.   If Lil’ wants to see that is up to him.” Happy said.

Meredith grabbed a handful of coins.  “Now what?”

“Now, nothing. Those are yours,” Happy said.

“I’m going to referee you boys,” Meredith said.

“Fine, you and anyone else you like.  Lil’,  We’ve got a pile of coins between us.   How many total, I don’t know.  Maybe you do, but I don’t.    This is just like what happens when you play cards.   You don’t know.  So you have to count.   You and I will take turns taking coins off this table and the one that takes the last coin off the table loses.” Happy said.

“Loses what?” Lil’ asked.

“I’m trying to show you something here.  They lose the bet.  The point is I can count the coins-“

“Fuck you, Happy.  Loses what?  What are you willing to bet?” Lil’ asked.

“Shit, you are getting way too serious Lil’, I’m just trying to teach you how to count-”

“Twenty bucks,” Lil’ said and slapped a twenty onto the table.

“Damn it,” Happy said, and got out his wallet.  “Look, I don’t know if this will work the first time.”

“Put up,” Lil’ said.

Happy got a twenty from his wallet and set it on the table.   “Meredith, you are watching this, yes?”
“Sure am, Happy.”

“So the rule is you can only take off 1, 2 or 3 coins at a time.   Person to take the last coin off loses.”

“Fine, I go first.” Lil’ said and took three coins off the table.

For the next seven minute the group was silent as Lil’ and Happy moved coins off the table. Finally it came down to 4 coins and it was Happy’s turn.   Happy took off three and Lil’ was stuck pulling the last coin off the table.

“Again!” Lil’ demanded as Meredith pushed the bills over to Happy.

“Fine, but I was just trying to make the point that if you can count 1, 2 or 3-“ Happy said.

“Shut up,” Lil’ said and took a single coin off the table.

Eleven minutes later it was Happy’s turn, there were 4 coins left on the table and he took three leaving Lil’ to take the last coin.

“I’ve got to get back to the bar,” Meredith said, “You boys play nice.”

“Again,” Lil’ said and drew two coins off the table.

This time the game was over in four minutes and Happy had won again.   “It’s just 1,2,3.”

Lil’ got out his phone.  “You some sort of a fucking psychic?”


“Chill out Lil’,” Taco said.

“Okay, I got twenty bucks says you can’t tell me how many people live out on Pine Island,” Lil’ said.

“What?  Is this some sort of fucking bar bet?” Happy asked, shaking his head.

“No, you tell me and I’ll check it online,” Lil’ said.

“With who?” Happy asked.

“Who?  I’ll check it with the internet,” Lil’ said, he was sweating.

Taco looked at Lil’.  “Which search engine?” Taco asked.


Happy threw twenty dollars down on the table as did Lil’.     Happy took a sip of his Crown Royal then said,”9000 as of 2000.”

Lil’ looked at his phone and didn’t say anything.

“Am I right?” Happy asked.

Lil’ pushed the forty dollars over to him.

“Guess I am,” he said and scooped up the money.

“You ain’t no fucking genius,” Lil’ said.

“Sure I am, look me up online,”  Happy said.

“Look you up?” Lil’ appeared skeptical, then started to type.

“By my given name.  Terrance Halloway,” Happy said.

“Terrance?”  Lil’ smiled and typed in his name.  The results rolled up.  “You don’t rank.”

“What?” Happy asked.

“You aren’t on the first page and. . .you aren’t on the second page,” Lil’ said

“Fuck you, really?  Give me that,” Happy demanded.

“Look it up your damn self,” Lil’ said.

Happy got out his phone and looked himself up.   “Fuck me, I don’t show up until page six.”

“You ain’t nobody!” Lil’ said.

“Oh yeah?  I’ll bet you I can get to the top of page one by this time tomorrow.”  Happy snapped.

“What?  Fuck you!  You aren’t an internet genius.  You’re nothing!”

“You afraid to take the bet?” Taco asked.

“Two hundred and fifty dollars,” Happy said and he wasn’t smiling.

“You’re on,” Lil’ said.


“So you were having a friendly conversation and he just hit you?” the officer asked.

“That’s right,” Lil’ Brutus said, sitting cuffed next to the officer’s desk.

Lil’ Brutus hadn’t mentioned the bets when he, Taco and Happy were arrested and taken to the Cape Coral Police station.

“Hey officer!” Happy called out.

“Mr. Halloway you will-“ The officer began to bark.

“Did you update the webpage when we were brought in,”  Halloway interrupted.

“Yes, now-“

“You got my full name Terrance Halloway and my address?”

“Officer take him-“

“Check me on Google!” Happy yelled, as an officer came over to take him away.

The officer watched Happy being hauled out.   Then he launched the Google search engine and typed in Terrance Halloway.

“Do you know what your friend meant by any of that?” The officer asked.

“He’s not my friend,”  Lil’ said.

“Hmm.  The only thing I see about him is his arrest tonight.”  The officer said.


“Where what?” the officer asked.

“Where was it?”
“On Google.”


“First place, why?”

“Nothing,” Lil’ said.  “Just a bar bet.”


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