Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The bar

"Here ya go, doll." The bartender set the glass down in front of Bethany with a thump. "Six bucks. You want to start a tab?"

"Sure," Bethany mumbled, reaching for her wallet and pulling out a credit card and ID. The bartender looked at the ID, looked at her, and took the credit card from her. As he headed away from her, Bethany sighed and picked up the glass. Spiced rum and coke; not the classiest drink, but a good starting place. It tasted good, at least, she thought as she drained half the glass in one go. A few more, and she'd go for something cheaper. After all, once she was good and drunk, it wouldn't matter how things tasted.

She played with her straw, trying to forget why she was sitting in Billy's Bar at seven o'clock on a weeknight. Billy's wasn't really her sort of place, after all. Bethany liked to think of herself as a relatively classy gal – when she went out with the girls, they would usually hit one of the swankier dance clubs downtown. Today, though, she didn't want the pounding dance beat. Today, the sad country songs seemed a better fit.

Bethany finished her drink and motioned towards the bartender. He looked at her with a raised eyebrow, but poured her another drink and brought it over without a word. As she lifted the fresh glass to her lips, a man sat down beside Bethany.


Bethany glanced at him out of the corner of her eyes, but kept drinking. When she finally set down the empty glass, she turned to look at him. "Can I help you?"

"Beth." The name came out sounding more like a sigh than a word. "Let me drive you home."

"I'm not ready to go home." She turned her attention back to the bartender and lifted her glass up, rattling the ice cubes.

"You can't drive home." The man's voice was gentle.

"I know. I'll take a cab." Bethany rattled the ice cubes more forcefully.


"I said I'm not ready!" she yelled, slamming the glass down on the bar.

The man sighed again, and rose. Bethany made a point of ignoring him as he made his way to a table in the back of the bar.

"He's still here," the bartender pointed out as he set down another full glass.

"I know," Bethany mumbled.

"Need me to call the cops?" the bartender offered.

"No. He means well." A tear rolled down her cheek. "He just doesn't love me any more."

I write like
James Joyce

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