“Last Call” by Mel Bossa from Men of the Mean Streets (Bold Strokes Books, 2011). Edited by Greg Herren and J. M. Redmann.

Sugar the bartender seems to hold everyone at the Detour Club in thrall, most of all the doorman, Shield. It isn’t wise to lose your heart in the Detour, because everyone’s got some kind of racket going, and folks aren’t scared to kill to get what they want. Club bookkeeper Easy D vanished a few months ago, and a few days ago turned up dead, the apparent victim of hired thugs. It seems likely that Violet, the owner of Detours, ordered the hit. Everyone is on edge. Shield wants Sugar to agree to run away with him, but when he makes that clear, he gets an unwelcome dose of reality.

I enjoyed this story and I also liked the author’s novel Franky Gets Real very much.