The Man Behind the Bar by Chris Sarantopoulos is a short story (locations 201) which I received from Instafreebie, a platform for free giveaways and book promotions.
The bar sign said Ben Stingler’s place but when the hitman entered the bar, the bartender knew that he, the bartender, was entering a life and death situation. Either he or the hitman would soon be dead. The bartender, real name Phil Harisson, had a shotgun on a swivel just under the bar. Phil might be able to come out of this alive. The hitman was straightforward about his mission. He laid his Baretta pistol on the bar and asked Phil what had gone wrong; what had he done to anger boss Bocca so much that today it had come to this? Phil was himself a hitman with quite a tally of successes. Phil knew, thought it was logical, that one day he might occupy the same position as those he had dispatched. Phil was not resigned to it; he had changed his name, moved to a new city, and opened a bar. Obviously, that had not worked.
The hitman asked Phil what he had done to cause his employer, Bocca, to offer a high bounty payment for the death of Phil. Trying to buy time while figuring out what to do, Phil gave the hitman the account of what had happened. At the same time, he directed his waitress to get the two or three mid-day drinkers out of the bar. If you would like to know the offense that brought the hitman, read this short story.
Inevitably, the showdown happened. Somebody won, somebody lost. I won’t write a spoiler here. The ending will surprise many readers. This is a tightly written story in a somewhat spare style. I recommend this to fans of short stories. I will read other short stories by this author.