Nobody ever walks into a dive like this. It’s the kind of hole to steer clear of, unless it’s the only beacon in your stretch of inky night, a slice of flotsam, a quivering straw.
Unless you’ve got nothing left to lose.
Mark Crandall felt the sawdust underfoot, damp with spilled beer, matted and caking the treads of his combat sneakers, his fighting shoes. Their cracked leather tops sported crusty brown splotches from bloodied noses and split lips. The buzz of impact still echoed in his bones, but it hadn’t been enough. Nothing was ever enough.
He straddled a barstool, swiping a jacket sleeve over the pitted surface in front of him, sweeping away peanut shells, obliterating the oily, wet circles overlapping like an Olympic icon. Clearing the slate.