A loud, persistent pounding on the exterior wood door startled Calvin from a hazy sleep. He bolted upright on the storeroom cot, froze still, holding his breath, not making a sound. Another loud pounding on the door with what he thought must be a closed fist. “Come on Calvin, open the damn door, man. I know you in there!” said a man with a deep, rough tone. “Open up! Don’t make me break down this sorry ass door. If I have to, I’m gonna kick your butt all the way to Thursday. Open up!”

Calvin grimaced, then replied, “All right. I’m comin’.” He threw back the blankets in frustration and sat up, clapping his arms to get blood moving through stiffened muscles. He had no choice but to open the door. Failure to do so would only have made things worse. He rose and slipped on his scuffed shoes, and looked around for his jacket, and found it hanging on a bar stool. As he slipped one arm into the jacket, he caught his reflection in the cracked mirror behind the bar, frowned and slowly shook his head side to side. Dumb ass! He slowly walked over to the door, unlatched the deadbolt then stepped back not really knowing what to expect. One way or another, it was not going to be good. Humph, the day before Mardi Gras … you’d think I woulda had betta luck. He shook his head. 1949 was not starting out on a good note. Read More