The way Spooky Jim found out his wife was cheating on him is, he was rounding up some gangsters that were firebombing the homes of police he gets one of them and he’s interrogating him and the kid laughs and stares at him.
“You’re ****ing Jim, ain’t you,”
Jim tells the kid it’s none of his business so the kid just laughs.
“You are Jim, ain’t you? Man, I banged your old lady.”
Jim hit the kid and said he was full of ****.
“Man, she showed me a picture of yo ass,” the kid said.
Jim kneed him in the chest, the kid fell on the ground.
“I know your badge number,” the kid said.
Jim hit the kid, punched him hard in the face.
The kid knew his badge number.
“***** shows up at the bar, wanting to know who would get off on ****ing a cop’s wife.”
The kid is bruised and bleeding so bad that there really is no other explanation.
Through the beating all he’s talking about is having sex with Jim’s wife.
Jim left work that day and started drinking, he doesn’t even remember how he got the coke, how he started snorting lines, but in the right sort of bar in Frisco back then it was easy to stumble drunkenly into cocaine. All Spooky Jim knew was that one morning he woke up on that other side of law and order.
Jim plays songs by Creedence, he plays songs by the Beach Boys, Jim is constantly so totally lost to cocaine that you can’t believe his fingers remember such an endless variety of Americana.
The New Guy pulls his gun out, staring at The Stranger.
The bar goes silent as the gun comes to level.
“Everyone be calm,” The New Guy says, “I’m here for him,” and he’s pointing at the Stranger.
The Stranger just looks at the guy like he’s barely amused by him, he laughs for a second.
The Stranger sips his drink while the bar goes silent, while everyone is staring at him.
“You came a long way to get me,” The Stranger says, “Hell, you deserve it.
“How much am I going for?” he asks.
The New Guy’s pistol wavers in the air.
Spooky Jim doesn’t even believe how it happened, but in the weeks after he beat up that kid he started smoking a lot of crack.
San Francisco was a total wasteland back then, people fled from the city, surveillance camera networks were down, buildings were looted, police swarmed the streets but it never seemed to matter, drugs were all over the streets and there was no fear for God. Crack-heads huddled in broken down cars under graffiti soaked overpasses.
All the walls said in Technicolor: “The Falcon cannot hear the Falconer.”
Spooky Jim was there with the crack-heads most nights after he beat that kid.
Spooky Jim started smoking crack all the time, and habits like that tend to get in the way of a career in law enforcement, so he lost his job, and with that the shitty apartment he had moved to after his house burned down. Jim spent months on the streets.
Spooky Jim, a year before that he had a wife and a kid.
Spooky Jim, a year before that he had a steady job and a house.
Spooky Jim wandered the streets, catching the strange illnesses that spread like wildfire through the streets.
The streets were crowded in San Francisco back then, though, people had a shell shocked look about them like they couldn’t even believe what was happening. They had always thought it would be the Arabs or the Russians when the country came down, no one had suspected that it would be civil war. No one had seen it coming from inside.
“The Future is Now,” was written in Technicolor across all the walls.
Spooky Jim ended up in this huge camp, filled with refugees from San Francisco, there was fighting all across California back then, the state was crawling with the national guard and with wild eyed renegades but nowhere was it was bad as in Frisco.
At this camp all the nurses used to say, “What’s good for America is good for the Revolution.”
The Stranger looks at Jim and says, “This is you, isn’t it?”
Jim shrugged and puts his guitar down, “You should pay for your crimes.”
“Jesus Christ Jim,” the bartender says, “what did this poor **** do?”
The New Guy has no authority at this bar, and that obviously shakes him, his eyes dart from one guy to the next, his nerve starts to crack.
“That poor **** stabbed our country in the back,” Jim says, “That poor **** was the leader of the goddamn rebellion.”
The Stranger takes a deep sip out of his drink, “And I won’t pretend I don’t feel bad about that,” he puffs on his cigarette, “**** man, I always wanted peaceful change, but things got out of hand.”
“Tell that to your victims.”
The room is silent, the bounty hunter stares at the Stranger down the barrel of his pistol.
“You’re under arrest,” he says and moves forward.
“Ok, man, I will,” The Stranger says, “I’ll go back to the states and I’ll fight for peace.”
The Stranger says, “Unless I get arrested.”
Jim looks at the bounty hunter, “What the ****’s wrong with you? Arrest this ****.”
The bounty hunter moves forward.
The sharp bang of a gunshot makes everyone on the beach jerk their heads towards the bar, the bounty hunter totters and drops, blood pounding out from his chest.
The Stranger takes a sip from his drink.
Spooky Jim puts his pistol back down his pants, he says, “Don’t you have somewhere to be?”
The Stranger smiles and throws back the drink, without a word he stands up and slides a few bills across the counter.
As the moon flies overhead everyone stares as he walks into the pristine silver glow of the night.