One Man’s Barkeep

Wally was hunched at the bar with another empty beer. The playoffs were on and most the tavern’s clientele was glued to one screen or the other. The occasional roar and cheer would explode, breaking Wally’s train of thought.

Suzanne, Wally’s sister and the tavern’s owner, stood in front of him. She raised a brow and nodded to his glass.

“No. I want a G and T. Double. With the good stuff you keep in the back.”

Suzanne shook her head. “You get Bombay Sapphire, single, and like it.”

Wally shrugged and went back to pretending to watch the game. The new server, a young man called Big Stuff, swooped in with a litany of drink orders and rushed away. Suzanne got to work.

It was always great to watch Suzanne tend bar. She was fast, efficient and dramatic in the way she slung the bottles and shook the shaker. In her younger years, she used to drive all the way to Chicago to enter bartender contests. She won one year for the longest distance pour from a bottle into a glass. Her flair and good looks got her a lot of marriage proposals. “Men figure I don’t mind a drinker,” she would say, “but they’re dead wrong. I don’t bring work home.” She married the local Veterinarian, a quiet, serious Vietnamese man who knew he was the envy of many when she said yes.

“So, what’s it this time, Wally?” Suzanne asked as she slid the Gin and Tonic to him.

“Why don’t you do like all the other places?” Wally said, deflecting her inquiry.  “Get one of those touch tablets for orders. Give that new kid of yours a break.”

“One headache at a time.”

“Gotta move with the times, sis. You won’t always have Aunt Glenda around to do your books. Wouldn’t want to get an unnecessary audit, right?”

“What’d you know about it, anyway?” Suzanne scolded. Big Stuff swooped in again, deftly lifting a large tray of drinks to his shoulder and hurrying off.

“Why they call him Big Stuff?”

“Never asked, actually,” Suzanne shrugged. “They just do.”

Amy, who worked the kitchen orders, suddenly appeared next to Wally and placed a plate with a cheese burger and fries in front of him.

“I didn’t order no food!” Wally protested.

“I did,” Suzanne said, “You need to eat, you gonna drink like that tonight. And I mean, all of it. Slow that drunk down, you so bent on getting. And, before you ask,” Suzanne continued, “your next is a big glass of water. I’m warning you, whatever is up your backside tonight, you are not making a mess of it here.”

Wally shot his sister a look, picked up the burger and took a bite. Until that moment, he didn’t realize how hungry he was.


The prompts this week are (one literal, one interpreted, one implied): blue Bombay Sapphire; one scream at a time; justifiably so. https://aooga.wordpress.com/2019/03/31/olwg-96-heist/

3 thoughts on “One Man’s Barkeep

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