We all listened. He's the greatest story teller. He keeps us coming back for more. The smoke from our cigarettes and the dim candle lighting added to his theatrical mannerism. His stories are this hubs greatest attraction. Even the tourists have heard of him. They make sure to go to "The Pony Tavern" when they come to visit Clarksdale.
"Come gather around. Let me tell you the story of Johnny Walker." -of course he prompted us to buy shots of Johnny Walker Red. In those funny sounding Aussie accents came the
"What's you gonna' tell us mate? The origin of the booze?"
"Take your shot."
"I'll buy the whole bar a shot."-that was the cue.
"No sir ree, this is about the Mississippi Delta's own superhero."
"Wait a minute. Does this have anything to do with the riot that took place in town a couple months back?" "There was a riot in town?"
"It happened in the other part of town."
"Many say he was rich, but chose to he live as a street person. One thing for certain is that he didn't like what he saw in this town. He thought he could make a difference just by himself. Some say he did. Those who crossed him thought he had superpowers. Say he even had some sort of devil in him. He embraced the skull and moved with the night.
He started by training in the worst hoods in Jackson. One of his tactics was posing as a crack head to lure the drug dealers. He tended to his own wounds from being shot, bruised, and cut, so that he wouldn't have a record at a hospital. As he improved his fighting skills he also developed his own weaponry that included gloves with iron plated knuckles. Also from underneath his sleeved wrists hid a mini flame thrower, smoke bombs, and explosives. He also developed his trademark of black skull face paint.
In his first attack on Clarksdale he walked to the local drug dealer's corner. Didn't give that poor boy a chance to think, just ran up on him and started punching. When the dealer's clique came, Walker employed his smoke bombs to use as his element of surprise. He had learned from Jackson that when men get frightened they become sloppy. He hit a couple in the knockout spots on the head. Three others got their breath knocked out. Two got their eardrums busted. When the smoke cleared the remaining ones ran away. Then he personally dropped the dealer in front of the jail with a note that read 'I AM THE NIGHT.' It didn't take long for the streets to get safe again. But of course, as the saying goes 'good things don't last forever.'
Mr. Walker had gotten the attention of someone in the majors. It was a man who disguised himself as an aristocrat. He got a substantial amount of money from the crime in Clarksdale. The aristocrat hunted down Walker and offered him a deal. When Johnny wouldn't play the game, the aristocrat tried to scorch this whole city. By causing riots and damage of property the aristocrat could earn thousands from extorting government funds. Then he would frame Walker for the riot and a slew of other crimes. 'The Night' did the inevitable and went after the aristocrat personally. Unfortunately, the Aristocrat had too much power. Johnny ended up severely beaten and left for dead with vertically cuts on his wrists. Yet somehow 'The Night' escaped. Some say Johnny crawled away and died in a private place. Others say he still roams this town and he's just waiting for the right opportunity to show himself again."
We all remained silent for minute.
"So one thing I don't get. Why did he have vertical cuts on his wrists?" The bar tender poured a shot extra slow, lit his cigarette, then turned the volume up on the wide screen TV.
"Oh, my bad." The bartender replied as he turned the volume down.
Then he answered, "It was because the aristocrat wanted it to look like Johnny had committed suicide." "Great story, mate."
"Let's have a toast."
We raise up our glasses on his command.
"This is to the hero in us all."
I wondered if they thought his story was real. Then I chuckled to myself for even considering "The Night" to be something real. Then out of no where a gentleman came to the bar, "Hey uh, the game is in the last quarter. Would it be alright if you turn the volume up?"
"I'd like a drink too."
"Well, kind sir. Tonight's special is Johnny Walker."
"No thank you. I'll just have a diet soda." When the gentleman paid for the soda I noticed a long vertical scar on his wrist.