Short Story Series: “Bertha” (Part 2)

“Bertha” (Part 2): Ongoing series

by Alina Happy Hansen

Emilio imagines her as a pirate queen. Her eye plucked out of her head in a fight on some deserted island. Searching for treasure or maybe searching for another hit. He pours her beer and goes to clean the racks in the fridge under the bar. It is slow enough that there is not much to do and only a few people to wait on. Taking the bottles and cans out, he takes a clean rag and begins to wipe out the fridge all while speculating that Bertha was probably once a junkie and definitely not a pirate. Her hair is matted and loose, her face sagging, the skin a sickly pale color. Her hands calloused and claw-like hold her glass of beer possessively.

Suddenly Emilio thinks of her hands around his throat, her glass eye bulging out then popping out her head all together. A shiver goes through him and he stands up trying to shake it off.  Now he’s just creeping himself out.

He can feel her eyes or eye on him as he moves and out of instinct looks over at her. Her face is stone but she is staring directly at him. Her teeth-less mouth knitted into itself, her lips non-existent. Emilio doesn’t want her here, he wants her to go but he recognizes this feeling. He gets it every time she gets here, right after the first few minutes. By the end of the hour hopefully he’ll be too busy to notice her. A huge crash makes him jolt and Emilio looks at Bertha. 


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