Now the cheating prick had drawn a knife.
Probably shouldn’t have kicked him in the balls, the drifter thought. Especially since his large friend here had him tied up in the stranglehold of a full nelson. It hurt like hell, but it was nothing compared to that spike of static driving right through that splitting headache he had. It felt as if it were cutting into his brain like some impossible electric blade.
“Hold him, Cal.”
It wasn’t the fat man. One of Cal’s buddies had piped up. All of a sudden, the place was just crawling with rats.
The fat man met him squarely, still wincing from the throb in his jewels. The heady mix of bar smoke and brew had him swaying a little, and just when you thought he might rethink this madness, he returned the favor with one solid shot from his steel-toed boot. Pain rippled through the drifter’s groin and into his skull. Still, he’d endured far worse than these boys could dish out, and he wasn’t about to give them the satisfaction. He swallowed the agony. His lips slid into a cockeyed grin.
Outside the packed roadhouse—this stinking pisshole that stank like all the others—the thunderstorm raged. Somewhere down that cold and lonely road that had brought them here, lightning struck a power line, and the lights flickered.
“No more tricks,” the trucker told him, uncertain as the lamps. Clearly he was rethinking this; trying to get a grip on just what the hell had happened here tonight. Trying not to lose that grip.