West End

I’m standing behind the bar watching the sink fill hot soapy water.  It’s around 11:30 pm on a Saturday, which means its also starting to get busy and the room will be filled with a bunch of intoxicated twenty and thirty somethings, but for right now my mind is a drift.  I wonder when the owner is going leave so I can have another drink, on top of the three I had before starting work.  I day dream about all the climbing I’m going to do when I get this damned cast off my foot, and how I hope to walk out tonight with a fat stack of cash.

Suddenly my moment of bliss is broken by a twenty dollar bill being waved in front of my face.  I shut the water off and look up.  The waver of this Andrew Jackson is wearing a black polo shirt with the collar up (strike 2. Strike 1 was waving the money in my face in the first place) and his short hair has gell in it (strike three). “I’ll take three Coors lights and three cherry bombs.”  No “Hi”. No “Can I please?” Not even a “I’d like …” I look at him for a second I decide to tell him to fuck off, but then suddenly change my mind a decide its time for a game.

“I’m  just the bar back.  I can’t serve drinks.”  A half truth.  I am indeed the bar back, but I can serve drinks, and I’m pretty sure he knows this.  “I’ll get you the bar tender”  I walk over to Nick who is always up for a game.

“Guy in black polo withe the popped collar.  Fifteen minutes??”  I ask, smiling.

“Fifteen minutes” he replies and smiles back.  I start my watch.

This is our favorite game.  Fifteen minutes, or ten, or if we really don’t like you 20 minutes is a game we play with the people who think they can walk up to the bar, throw their outstretched arms across the counter and get served before the high tipping regular who they just bumped in front of.  The goal of game is to make it the previously stated amount of time before actually serving the customer who so tossed his hand in my face.  Our record is 13 minutes, but I’m feeling like we’re going to break it right now.

The game works so well because the second bar tender, Candice, has a tendency to disappear for anywhere between ten and thirty minutes.  No one knows where she goes, we just know that she’s not around and therefore not working.  This serves to make Nick and myself exponentially surlier than we where before.

2:30″:  I start stocking the Bud Light and Nick serves the girl to Mr Popped Collar’s right, then moves to far end of the bar

5:00″:  I serve Tom his Johnny Walker and look over at Mr. Popped Collar.  He’s still got that twenty sticking out over the sink.

7:30″: Mr. Popped Collar’s arm must have gotten tired, because now he’s leaning on the bar.

10:00:  I’m now restocking the half case of Amstel Light the owner drank when I hear Nick yell my name.  When I turn I see he’s standing right in front of  Mr Popped Collar.  “SHOT!!” He yells, Its not really a question.  I walk over, we clink classes and toss down the shots of Jamesons.  We look at Mr. Popped Collar plop our glasses down and walk away.

12:30:  I finish stocking the fridge at the far end of the bar and turn around.  Candice has suddenly appeared and is handing drinks to Mr. Popped Collar.

At that point Nick and I make eye contact then turn I anger toward Candice.   Walking up to me Nick asks “How long?”  “twelve minutes and thirty seconds.  Where the fuck did she come from?”  “I don’t know where the fuck she’s was” he responds.

I start to say something, but then I hear the opening notes of  “Thunder Road”.  I cut my next thought short point up at the speakers and turn up the stereo.  Nick goes to serve Tracy and I walk toward the back with empty cases of Bud.  Our singing lost in the din of the bar.

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