“Demon Rum” was first published around 1995 in the fiction magazine Pirate Writings, and was written by request of the editor, using a painting of a mouthless man holding a glass of a distilled spirit as a prompt. It is included in Charles’ fiction collection QUIET YET SOMEHOW WRONG, along with 16 other horror stories. Click the link under the title to purchase from Amazon.
Charles M. Saplak was, for a time, a sailor in the Sixth Fleet, and traveled to Naples many times. He irregularly blogs about books and writing (click his byline link above for his blog) , and also “tweets” @CMSaplak.
“The scene on the other side of the glass resolved itself. Spangler’s suspicions were confirmed; he made out men bent over scattered tables; behind a bar at the far wall a man handled bottles.
Spangler felt his way along the stone wall (unsteadily, for his drinking had started hours ago) to a place where an unmarked door stood slightly ajar. From inside came the sounds of glass against wood, and the smells of tobacco smoke and stale sweat.
There were no signs or outside lights. As a bar this place struck Spangler as just what he needed. No frills, no B-girls, no blaring bands or flashing lights, just a place where a seaman could get one last drink before returning aboard.
It was just what Spangler was looking for on this cloudy Mediterranean night. It was just what he had been looking for on most nights of his life, these past ten years.”