Phil called her “The Problem”. She was 5’8’’, 138lb of carmel-skinned trouble. She drank, smoked, yelled and picked fights. She was also a cop, which made things hard. It wa the weekend so the cage was set up at the back. A good sized crowd cheered and booed the two squaring of. Someone thorough a bottle at the chicken wire and screamed “Kill ‘em!”. It was a typically rowdy night at the Black Addler.
“You got a call.” He said.
She sipped her beer and watched the fight. “Tell them to fuck off.” She said.
Phil picked up the phone. “Yeah, she says to ‘fuck off’”. He nodded his head and then he cupped the speaker. “She says it’s a case”. He said as the fight went to the ground and the spectators let out a small roar.
“Tell them to fuck off.”
Phil sighed, pinching the bridge of his nose as the migraine woodpeckered the sight of his head.
“Listen kid, I ain’t your fucking secretary. You tell ‘em. “ He handed off the phone to her and walked away to the other end of the counter, out of the door leading to the back, reaching for his smokes.
“What?” Marley said, her twelve beer forcing a noticable slur into her words.
“I’m off duty.” It sounded like “I’m off dooty”. Someone yelled and she turned around and one of the fighters was twisting the other one’s arm into a J shape.
“I’m off duty.” She said again, straining the syllables. “Get miles to cover it.” There was a pause and she looked over to the cage. Both fighters were blown, moving sluggish. One had a bad cut on the bridge of his nose and it spewed blood like broken faucet. His opponent had his left eye swollen up to the size of a tangerine.
“Write me up then!” Marley said as she swept her leg around, wrapping the phone cord around her slim midsection. “You heard me. Write me up. I’ll take that demerit. Insubordination? Sure. Why not?”
She glanced around but the Phil the bartender was gone. She sloshed her bottle and there was still some backwash beer and so she tipped her head back and drank it down. Half-spit, half-barley ran down her throat.
“Look, putting her on isn’t…don’t…ugh.”
Her head was pounding. What time was it? There was a chalky taste in her mouth and she burped up and it tasted like acid and bile. She was angry that she hadn’t blacked out yet.
“I’m off duty.” She repeated. Phil came back with a bucket of ice and started filling the little well below the countertop and Marley looked at him and gestured with her finger at the empty beer, but he ignored her and he began to fill the bar with ice again.
“No. You’re not going to get me to come down there. I’m off duty. I’m punched out. I’m indisposed. How many ways do I have to say ‘I’m busy’.”
A waving cheer. The sound of something thick and heavy hitting the canvas. The bar rattled with the noise. She cupped her hand over the receiver and looked at the crowd.
“ SHUT THE FUCK UP!”
Her voice carried around the bar and everyone went quiet with the suddness of her yell.
“I’m sorry, what was that?”
She paused and when she looked up she caught Phil’s eyes and she slid the bottle over to him and he replaced with a new one. All the while:
“What does it look like?” and “How clean did it look?”
She took the beer and she opened it by snapping the top against the lip of the counter so hard that it popped off without breaking the hard neck of the bottle. Marley put the beer to her lips and took a sip of the gold bitter. Marley licked her lip as she soaked in the grisely details
“Okay. Give me a half and hour. Why? Because fuck you, that’s why.” She said and hugn up the phone.
“What was that about?” Phill said and instantly regretted taking an interest in her.
“None of your fucking business.”
She tossed her head back and opened her throat and the beer poured down her gullet like bathwater down a drain. When she finished, she smashed the bottle over her head.
“I’m going in.” She said and headed towards the cage.