The Man Behind The Bar by Chris Sarantopoulos is a very story of twenty-two pages about a tired assassin who just doesn’t want to play anymore. At the time of this story, Phil Harrisson has been out of play for five years. Gone but not forgotten as during his working days he had skimmed some money off the top from incomes of former bosses. Former bosses because he was as close to a double agent as possible. Hired by one criminal organization to infiltrate and frame another, Phil had taken his cut where he could. It had not gone unnoticed. As a professional, it seems Phil could have done a better job of hiding than to simply change his name, open a bar, and work as a bartender/owner.
Phil recognized a fellow assassin when the customer walked in. When the customer ordered a drink familiar in Phil’s past, it was confirmed. Now the job was to get the few customers to leave before the killing began. Phil knew the way it would end but looked for the best time to make his move during the time the two openly admitted assassins began talking. Phil’s question was “Why now?” The hitman’s question was “How much did you steal?” Those questions were answered up to the point when Phil saw his chance.
But the final answer to all questions surprised even Phil.
This is an entertaining, short coffee-break story. I would be interested to know what percentage of readers was able to predict the ending. I did not, although after reading the ending I was not surprised. The writing style is crisp with no unneeded flowery language. I look forward to reading longer works by this author. It sells on the Amazon page for USD 0.99 and I gave it four Amazon stars.