--image by urban bohemian on Flickr

–image by urban bohemian on Flickr

On the lunch shift, the drunks are at tables rather than at the bar, and the waitresses serve them my Bloody Marys and martinis along with their New York Strips. Five or six ounces of vodka and 16 ounces of dead cow in an hour, and then they’re gone—until after work, apparently. This is my first nighttime shift as a bartender, and I’m surprised to see many of the same faces I’ve often seen at lunch since I started this job. Most of these guys must have noticed me behind the bar at lunch. Most of them now seem to be taking a closer look.

One sot is doing more than gawking. Since 5:00 when he toddled in, he’s tried “Hey, you gotta boyfriend?” and “You’re hot, girl!” Neither have gotten him any more than another Dogfish Head beer—why anybody would name a beer Dogfish Head, I don’t know, but he’s ordering them, I’m serving them to him, and the brand seems to suit him. I’ve moved away from him by the time he’s come up with “Nice ass!” loud enough to elicit some titters. Sorry, I mean laughs.

I’m at the other end of the bar pouring a reverse manhattan and refilling a seven and seven when he makes his final move. “Hey!” This time he’s really loud and lusty, if somewhat slurred. “Wanna mess around?”

Everyone else sitting at the bar stops drinking and talking and waits for my answer. I put down the jigger, put my hands on my hips and stare down the length of the bar at this fool. I don’t even think what I’m going to say. Then, “Well,” comes out of my mouth. “I’ll tell you. What I do, I will guarantee you, nobody would ever call M E S S I N G around.”

He got up and left.

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