The yackity sound of an old five-cylinder radial droned over Rockford. A small biplane circled slowly, descending.
The old mercenary leaned out of the cockpit of his battle-worn Polikarpov PO2 plane, scanning the ground. Where the landing field used to be, modern family houses spread in a sleepy suburban neighborhood. The Cantina was still there, though, the parking lot empty, with weeds sticking up from holes in the pavement. The Mercenary turned his plane in a wide circle, lined up on the longest direction of the parking lot and throttled down. Engine sputtering, the little biplane slowed down, lowered it's stubby nose and glided down, rolled over the bumpy paving and came to a halt in front of the Cantina.

The mercenary cut the engine, jumped down to the ground, his age nearly not hindering his movements. He reached into the rear cockpit and took out a set of choks and threw them over his shoulder. He walked to the rear of the plane and dragged it a little to put the plane's nose straight into the wind, then placed the choks on the main wheels. After a moments hesitation, he decided to leave his shotgun in the plane and, putting his hands in the pockets of his long leather coat, walked to the door of the Cantina.

Pushing open the door he walked a few steps into the murky, brooding darkness and looked around, letting his eyes get accustomed to the low light . The floor was littered with various trash, what chairs and tables were still present were stacked in a corner. The shelves behind the bar were gaping empty, and the mirror was gone. A slight sharp smell hung in the air indicating that the drains were no longer in working order.

The old mercenary walked over to the stack of furniture, picked out a usable chair and sat down on it. He took out a pocket flask, screwed the lid off, lifted the bottle saluting the absent patrons, and took a good swig, then leaned back and thought of the old times.



... To be continued? ...