It’s just another day at work. No big deal. Nothing to worry about. I pull on the warped and dented metal door, holding my breath as I cross the threshold into the bar.
Just act like nothing happened…
What are you talking about? Nothing did happen.
Inside it’s quiet. The rail is empty, as are all the tables. A couple of paisanos chitter at a lottery machine. And that is it. Charlie is leaning on the bar, staring off into space. He greets me with not much more than a grunt. “Well,I guess I’ll go home now,” he says after a long quiet pause. “Don’t have too much fun.”
“Yeah,” I groan as I survey the empty building. With no one here to distract me, how am I not going to obsess about the body hidden out back?
I really need to learn to be careful what I wish for.
Scrubbing away at the black grime in the floor drain, fighting the urge to run out and peak under the banner in the ditch, distraction tumbles through the door with enough know-it-all cackles to make Mother Theresa homicidal.
“And then she said…”
The first big woman with big hair, big makeup, and big perfume is intterupted by a second even bigger woman with even bigger hair, bigger makeup, and bigger perfume, “Wait, wait, let me guess!” They approach the bar and drop their big, oversized bags THUD!
“Hi ladies, what can I get you?”
They both turn and look down their noses at me. The first one rolls her eyeswhile the second says, “Excuse you, we were talking.” Here’s a little secret everyone twenty one and over should have figured out… don’t be rude to the person who controls the alcohol!
The liquor room needs organizing so I leave the two harpies to their gossip and head to the back. A few minutes later they realize that they are thirsty and no one’s around to serve them. “Where’s the bartender?” I hear one of them say. The other huffs, “There goes her tip.” They bitch a little longer before one of them finally hollers, “Hey! Hey! Can we get some service out here?”
Right about now I’m kind of wishing Charlie had some Visine left. Except there is no way I’d be able to drag either of those bitches out of here. Not to mention the trail of hair spray and eye shadow that would be left behind!
“Hey Bartender! Can we get a drink already?”
“Oh sorry,” I say as I return to the front. “I thought you said you didn’t want to be interrupted.”
The bigger of the two talks over me, “Why don’t you just do your job and get us a drink. I’ll have a Long Island Ice Tea.” She turns to her friend, who claps her ridiculous acrylics together and announces that she will have the same.
I grab two pounder glasses from the beer fridge and fill them with ice when the bigger, more obnoxious of the two snaps her fingers at me. “Uh-hum, no ice in mine.”
She’s kidding right? “You don’t want any ice?”
“Nope,” she smacks. “No ice.” She turns to her friend, “You don’t want all of that ice do you? That’s how they water down the drink.”
Actually, it’s how we make the drinks not taste like shit. But whatever, I’m sure this walking Aquanet advertisement knows how to do my job better than me. I want to suggest we light a floater of 151 on top of it for her, just to see if her hair catches. Instead, I dump the ice from the first glass and replace the pounder with a bucket.
“Hey what are you doing? I still want a full drink,” she snaps.
And I want you to have real eyebrows, but we don’t always get what we want do we? “So you want extra sour and cola?”
“No…” she shakes her head in that snotty way usually reserved for daytime talk shows. “I want it the regular way, just without ice.”
A half ounce each of rum, vodka, gin, triple sec, and tequila, an ounce of sweet and sour, and a splash of Pepsi later, I set the third-full pounder in front of her, and a standard Long Island in front of her friend.
“What is this? Where is the rest of it?” She points at the other drink. “Why doesn’t it look like that?”
“You said no ice. I asked if you wanted extra mixers in it.”
“I don’t want extra mixers in it. I want you to make it the same. This isn’t even full. I feel like I am being cheated here.”
“If you don’t want extra mixers, the only way to fill that glass is to make it like a triple, and that is against the liquor control laws.”
She rolls her eyes at me and points near the top of her glass. “Long Islands are like two thirds alcohol.” I laugh. At her. She wants nine ounces of liquor for seven bucks. That’s something you expect to hear from a high schooler with a fake ID, not a grown ass woman.