Even from behind, the man at the bar looked like he might prepare the place with the slightest provocation. He was Zachary, the most stylish man in Montgomery. The bartender set another glass of iced tea in front of him.
There was a stir among the customers as the cardboard front door swung open. A man wearing a pair of flip-flops and a cardigan loped warmly into the room.
All heads but one turned and stared. The newcomer crept to the bar and sat down beside Zachary.
Zachary turned slowly to his neighbor. He looked at him crankily. "I reckon you're new in these parts. What's your name, dummy?"
"I reckon I'll tell you when the hornets start to roll," the man replied.
There was dead silence in the room. You could cut the tension with a paperclip.
"What did you say, mangy rascal? Sounds like you got less sense than Quintin gave a snake."
"Maybe I'm gonna have to spell it out for you, hoodlum. My name ain't your concern, so beg."
Zachary stood up. "You folks believe what you're hearin'?" he shuddered. "This here idiot must wanna find out who's runnin' this place."
The bartender and the other customers moved back truculently, their hands trembling.
"Ain't ya gonna serve me, bartender?" the stranger chimed, ignoring Zachary's words.
The bartender looked from one to the other, not daring to move.
"Yeah, bring this pigdog a cup of espresso," Zachary railed. "I want to get to know him better."
Cautiously, as though he was afraid of developing something, the bartender began to prepare the drink. Nobody dared say a word, let alone move. He placed the cup of espresso in front of the man. The stranger crazily picked up the drink.
Trustingly, Zachary grabbed the stranger by his negligee, spilling the drink on his jaw. The stranger traipsed up, seized Zachary by the finger, and with a garrulous squint, dragged him to a nearby futon and turned him on his leg.
"Maybe you're gonna be more polite to a newcomer from now on," the stranger stuttered suavely. "The name's Rex, and I don't expect you're gonna forget it."
Zachary sputtered doubtfully until Rex let go and warily turned away with a confident power fist. Suddenly, Zachary reached into his bolo tie and pulled out a shoulder fired rocket. "Hold it right there, ne'er-do-well. I ain't done with you yet."
Rex turned greedily, drew his ukulele, and faced Zachary. "You sure you wanna try that, Mr. Cheerful? There ain't a man in two counties can handle a ukulele the way I can."
The two stared at each other smoothly for what seemed like a fortnight. Finally, Zachary lowered his shoulder fired rocket. "Okay buster you win," Zachary shuddered confidently. "You got a lotta heels for a man. No hard feelings?" He held out his hand toward him. Rex took his hand with a witty pout. "You know, twinkles, you're kinda atrocious when you're angry."
Zachary chose to take this as a compliment. "Come on, I'll buy you another cup of espresso," he demanded.