By Steve Siciliano
Before getting on to more interesting things I want to tell you a little bit about myself. My name is Winston, Harry Winston. I’m fifty-nine years old. There’s a spot toward the back of my head that my barber, DeMario, likes to show me with a hand-held mirror whenever I get a haircut. DeMario does this every time he cuts my hair and every time he does it I call him an asshole. Besides the slight balding there are other signs of age. My hair and beard are about ten years past being salt and pepper. There’s a sagging, puffy fold of skin below my right eye that used to bother the hell out of me but now whenever some asshole makes a comment about it I just say fuck it. I have a strong upper body and muscular legs but I’m carrying a little more weight than I like around the belly. Overall I’m in pretty good shape for my age and, I’m proud to say, I can still handle myself in bar fights. And that, my friend, is good, because I spend a lot of time in bars.
I like bars. I’ve always liked bars, but there are some bars I like more than others. Let me tell you what I like. I like bars with polished draught towers. I like the ones with tiered bottles of booze lined up in front of dimly lit mirrors, the ones with wooden cooler doors that make that nice hinge snapping sound when they are slammed shut. I like old bars. The ones with lots of wood -- intricately carved pillars and high shelves holding dust covered relics. The ones that have curving edges worn smooth by years of bent elbows and those that have brass foot railings and swiveling stools. And if these bars have good beer it just makes it even better. What I don’t like about bars is that sometimes I come across an asshole who wants to fight me.
I want you to know that I really don’t like fights and I don’t go around looking for them. In fact, I’ll do almost anything to stay out of one. But I will admit that the things I like doing in bars sometimes makes assholes want to fight me. I like playing pool and darts and I’m good. I’m good and I usually win because I don’t give a shit if I lose. It’s when you care about winning that you lose. I like playing for money and I usually win a lot of money because I don’t give a damn about losing. Some fights start over women. I like looking at women but sometimes the woman is with some asshole who doesn’t like me looking at her. I always try talking my way out a fight. I always tell the asshole that I don’t want to fight but if we do one of us is going to get hurt. I always look them in the eye and talk in a soft, low voice. That’s enough to get them thinking and when they start thinking they’re fucked. They’re fucked because they start thinking. I always hurt them but unless they’re trying to kill me I won’t hurt them too bad. Usually all it takes is a short, quick punch that breaks a nose and the fight’s over. Sometimes I’ll give him a snap kick to the groin. The fights you see in the movies, the ones that last for five minutes, are bullshit. When you know how to punch or hit someone he’s not getting up. I won’t hurt them bad unless they’re trying to kill me or if there is more than one coming at me. Then all bets are off. Then I might take out a knee with side thrust kick or I might break a jaw with a crescent punch or smash a wind pipe with a shuto. I’ve been in bar fights all over the world -- San Francisco, Berlin and Tokyo. In Paris and Key West. I haven’t lost one yet. I’ve been in bar fights all over the world because of my work. I’m a private detective.