Last Call Means Last Call

It never fails. It’s 2:30 but that doesn’t stop the drunks from asking.

“Just one more! Please!”

Nope.

“What if I tip you real good?”

Ooooh like maybe double your last one? You know, the quarter you left on the bar three beers ago?

“C’mon I didn’t even hear last call, you gotta give me one more.”

Here’s the thing buddy, I don’t have to give you ANYTHING. Not only that, but it would be illegal for me to now. And, contrary to what you think you know about my job, I don’t even have to say last call. So kiss my . . .

“Hey beautiful, let me get one more.”

You’ve got to be kidding me.

He tosses a few crumpled dollars on the bar. A couple of quarters. One of them rolls and ends up on the floor.

It could be worse. Every once in awhile some bitch will throw a fit: scream and yell, throw the ice at the bottom of her glass across the bar, make a total ass out of herself. This city is known for its bad behavior and faked bipolar excuses after all. The whole damn state is actually. What Oregonian hasn’t found their flight by the obnoxious passengers that litter the concourse?

Which must be why the Powell’s employee approached me with kid gloves last Saturday. “Did you already get your book signed?”

“No. I just got back.”

She apologized. Profusely. “He’s done signing.”

Now I’m not a crier or anything but I admit, tears started to well up in my eyes. “I called. They said it was still going. I drove up from Salem . . . ” I don’t know why I told her that. It just came out. Better words than tears. I had already driven to Portland earlier in the day for the signing, waited hours but had to leave for work before my group was called to line up. As it happened the bar was overstaffed for the night and they didn’t even need me. So I raced back to the Pearl District and fought for parking a second time.015

I probably sounded like one of those asses trying to circumvent last call because she responded, “I’m sorry, that might have been the case then, but the line is closed now.”

So close. Yet so far. I strained to at least catch a glimpse of the Fight Club author but I couldn’t see over the crowd.

Her words were soft, coddling―well practiced in handling the temperamental, entitled Oregonian consumer. “He’s been here since one and his hands are starting to tremble.

Chuck Palahniuk. The best storyteller of our time. Sacrificing his hands to sign books. I told her I understood, told her not to apologize, blinked back my tears yet again, and did not even think of throwing a fit.

But you go right ahead and scream and throw shit because you want another shot of Fireball. I dare you.

 

 

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