Tarquin Saint Regis. Take 1

A heavy hand clapped Tarquin Saint Regis’s shoulder.  A muffled voice accompanied it, but, being muffled, he couldn’t make out the words over the pounding bass of the bar’s music.  He shrugged the hand from his tweed blazer and swiveled on his barstool.  Several inches of smoky haze and poor bar lighting wavered between him and a man clad in a black wool suit, the nap of which was busy absorbing aromas of stale beer, cheap perfume and cigar smoke.  Looming behind the suited man were two larger gentlemen, the heavy hand belonged to one of them, whose sour grimaces gave an air of permanent inconvenience.

Tarquin, ever grinning, shuffled a half empty pint glass from right to left and then offered his hand, “Branford, how nice of you to make a call!  Hoyle, Collie, it’s always a pleasure, a-and I do appreciate your coming out tonight, what with the weather and all.”  Tarquin’s hand hung like a lowered half of a drawbridge, but Branford only looked at it disapprovingly.

“I’d much rather do business elsewhere, Tarquin.  Why is it, every time I’m sent by Dad to come and fetch you, you always seem to have pissed yourself through the cracks of civilization and wound up puddled in some deathtrap of a bar?  I know it’s trite, but I feel intoxicated just breathing in the air.  I’m loathe to touch anything, yes-even you, for fear of contracting something that has yet to be discovered by modern science,” Branford snuffed once, his nose and upper lip curling in disgust.

Tarquin laughed and dropped his hand.  He raised his pint glass and drank the remaining beer in one gulp, though a noticeable amount spilled from the side of his mouth and splashed on the already-soiled lapels of his blazer.  “Bran, of the sizeable kennel that Dad has, you are by far his best retriever.  No one else could have found me here, inebriated amongst the world’s destitute wastes… wasn’t that how you put it once?  And you do it with such emotion and patience for your little brother, God save my wayward soul.”

The larger of the two brutes chuckled, but was silenced by the connection of ribs with his partner’s elbow.  The prodding brute spoke up in a bullfrog’s croak, “It’s time to go Mister Saint Regis.  We gotta schedule to keep.”

Tarquin frowned, a move that revealed lines in college rule on his brow.  Not new lines, but the sort of lines that erode themselves into a forehead over the duration of one’s life.  Tarquin was 24.  “Nobody’s going to hurry me out of here.  I didn’t ask you to come down here, I didn’t ask Dad for nothing,” He turned his head and coughed, “I’m looking for another pint, Reg.  And I think I’ll need a shot to wash it down.”  Tarquin slowly returned his gaze to the three men who stood around him, “Hoyle, Collie, i-if you’d be so kind as to give me and my brother a moment alone?”

Hoyle and Collie looked at Branford.  Branford’s shoulders sagged towards the floor, as though he had just put on a backpack filled with cement.  He looked at the floor and sighed, “Wait in the car.  We’ll be out momentarily.”

As the two hulks soft shoed their way out of the bar, Tarquin slapped the glittered purple vinyl seat of the empty bar stool next to him.  “After last time, I didn’t think Dad’d try to find me.”

Branford perched halfheartedly onto the stool, and looked his brother in the eye, “He’s your Father, what you did won’t change that.”

Tarquin nodded.  He lifted the shotglass off of the bar and raised it towards Branford, “Well, I certainly didn’t think you’d be the one to come after me.  Not after what I did,” he poured the shot into his mouth and swallowed, “But I guess blood is thicker than water after all.”

“I’m here because Dad asked me. You’re nothing to me.  And I’ve got half a mind to let Collie and Hoyle work you over a bit before we drag you back home. You’re a plague on the Saint Regis name.  I wouldn’t give a damn if we left you to rot in this dive.  But Dad wants you home.  And him I do care about.”  Branford slid off of the stool and buttoned his jacket.  He pulled slim moneyclip from his pants pocket and peeled off a one hundred dollar bill.  He tossed the bill thoughtlessly onto the bar, “Now we’re getting out of here.  That’s the end of it.”  He put his hands on his hips and stood, waiting for Tarquin to rise.



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