The Locked Room Ch 8

by Jon Peters

Ugh. I hate zombies. I hate their yellow-green, puss-oozing skin. I hate their corrupted, dirty teeth. I hate their milky, sweaty eyes. They look like melted glazed donuts.

You know what I hate more than zombies, though? Pirates. Filthy, dingy, smelly, toothless pirates.

Here’s the thing. I’d never met a pirate until Evelina and I arrived at Crab Bay Restaurant, where Christi was a bartender. After we slogged through the mosquito infested swamps, bloody zombie babies fresh in our memory, we hiked the three miles to the restaurant via backwater channels. In Seabrook, Texas, Crab Bay jutted out from the choppy waters on fifteen-foot concrete stilts, covered in brown barnacles. The slanted roof was a dirty rose color and the wood of the shack rotted away with every coastal wave spit in its direction.

Evelina and I rolled up in our mud-caked jeans and sloppy shoes, looking more like those that were chasing us than we cared to openly admit. The warped, wooden steps loudly creaked as we walked up them toward the front door, reminding me of a sailor walking the plank to their watery doom.

“Here we go, matey” I whispered to Evelina, who snorted before looking over her shoulder, expecting ghosts.

“Place looks dead,” Evelina said, pressing her eyeballs up to the smoke-stained glass of the front door.

“You two gonna stand there like a couple of crooks or are you comin’ in?” came a twangy voice from a second story open screened window.

“It’s locked, you wizened crone!” shouted Evelina, yanking on the door.

“First, I don’t even know what a crone is. Second, are you fucking seventy-five? And third, sorry, I forgot I locked the door. One of those freaks tried to get in here earlier,” came the reply from inside the shack. Evelina stepped back from the door and we waited patiently for our friend Christi to come down from her mountain top to let us inside.

The door croaked open and a young red-haired, freckled woman poked her head through the crack. Christi, her curious, green eyes sparkling, spoke through the opening.

“Welcome, ladies” she said as she opened the door wide to birth us through.

“Thanks, Gwenevere,” I said, using Christi’s middle name as I walked into the stuffy restaurant. She hated that name.

We stepped into Crab Bay Restaurant, with its dirty rainbow flags suspended from the ceilings among old smelly fishermen’s nets, plastic sword fishes and painted pirate figures filling their empty pockets with booty from golden treasure chests. The place really was a disaster, even without the bastardly dead walking about.

And it was home.

Evelina and I hung out at Crab Bay almost every day and well into the night when Christi worked. Sometimes we helped wash the bar glasses or do side work to help out Christi, who usually closed the restaurant. We’d slam shitty tequila and talk about the hot new girls in our lives or the occasional boy. But mostly we just talked to each other amongst rainbow clouds and fish eyes.