The Empty Hand: Opening Paragraphs · 10:07pm
In case you missed it (though that's unlikely if you've been paying attention to these blog posts) I've got an original short story for sale in digital format on Amazon. However, for those of you who are on the fence about making a purchase, I've decided to provide you with the first two paragraphs for your perusal.
O’Malley’s Tavern was quite possibly the most stereotypical Irish pub in Boston, and that was saying something. The wood-paneled walls had been given an unusually dark stain to make the place look slightly dingier than it actually was, and they were punctuated with neon shamrocks and never-used dart boards. Flat-screen televisions hung down from the corners of the ceiling, blaring out the Celtics game as the loudest of the bar’s regulars argued amongst themselves about whether an injured millionaire free agent was ripping off the billionaire who paid his salary. At the counter, someone ordered a black-and-tan, and the bartender, instead of unceremoniously ejecting him from the establishment, dutifully prepared the order without so much as a roll of his eyes. In total, the general ambience added up to a single, cohesive statement, and that statement was: “The people here have no idea how real Irishmen get drunk.”
Lawrence Butler, however, wasn’t here for a simulated cultural experience. He sat in an isolated booth in the corner of the bar furthest from the entrance, occasionally taking a sip from the pint of Guinness he’d ordered solely so that he wouldn’t stick out like a sore thumb—O’Malley’s may have been permeated with stereotypes, but that didn’t change the fact that it was only Monday evening. Of course, he would have greatly preferred to conduct his business in some place even more isolated from the public eye, but for a client like Aidan Connolly, one had to be willing to make a few compromises. Besides, it wasn’t too bad: Lawrence had no problem blending in with all the other white, male thirtysomethings who made up the bar’s regular patrons. Besides, he was fairly certain Connolly and his business associates had a “working relationship” with the owners of O’Malley’s, so in all likelihood, any overheard snippets of conversation would be conveniently forgotten if anyone ever started snooping around.