He didn’t see her. When he thinks back on it, he still swears to God he didn’t see her.
"Another one, Fred," he calls. He shifts on the stool, straightens his spine then slips back like mercury into his slumped position that’s taken form over the hours, over the years. Over many, many scotch and sodas.
"So what’s buggin’ you today, Hal?" the bartender delivers the Dewer’s along with the perfunctory bartenderly interest in his clients’ lives and problems. Well worth another possible scotch at three bucks a whack.
"Aw, the women, Fred. It’s always the women."
"Yeah? What women?" Fred knew that Hal would be lucky to have a one-legged eighty year-old, half blind and toothless broad interested in him but of course, couldn’t say so.
"Ah, just women. All women." Hal looked down into his glass, the crystal cutting the sparkling golden liquid into irresistible sips. Fred had wandered back down the end of the bar to pull beer into a half dozen frosty mugs from the large black oak keg. Hal played with his drink, twirling it in the wet rings on the bar with the tips of his fingers. Then he lifted it up and gulped a good swallow down, closing his eyes as he did. And that’s when he saw her again, the scared little girl dressed in a red woolen coat who was there and gone in a flash of a thump that barely swerved his truck from the roadway.