Sixty seconds of earning a living behind a bar.
Every cubic inch of the room is filled with noise.
Music, talking, laughing, yelling, and the
high-pitched screech of girls.
They haven't seen
each other in hours.
Cracks of the cue ball,
breaking glass, popping beer bottles,
and a chest bumping toast from the
boys out by the tables.
They aren't family,
but they are brothers.
Everyone knows my name when they are thirsty.
I swing around, and look for eye-contact, and cash.
Pointing I ask, "What do you need?" I wipe
the sweat from my brow as I listen,
and my hand leaves my forehead
and goes straight to my bar towel.
"Ummm...vodka tonic! Two beers of the month!
One bourbon and coke! Oh, and four tequilas!" you announce.
I echo your order as I slide to my right. Thrusting the top of the cooler open, I put my right hand on my co-worker, with a "I'm behind you" touch. I hoist the two beers with my left hand, and pull them to my chest. Spinning my bar tool into my palm, I pop the bottles and back hand the caps toward the trash can area. The floor will due.
Turning 180 degrees, I stand up straight. Another bartender passes in front to the left, and one behind to the right. My left hand reaches for two rocks glasses, and I spin back around. I thread the necks of the bourbon and the vodka through my fingers and pour. One, two, three, four.
I fill the glasses with ice, reach for the soda gun, to finish the mix. I never stop turning as I snatch four shot glasses and rim each with salt, one by one, while I reach for tequila. While I am topping off the liquid trouble, I ask, "Limes?" By the time you decide I already have them.
With a creased twenty to signify your loot you ask,
"OK. How much?"
I count inside. 'House liquors $4.50...two drinks, four shots, is six. Four-fifty times two is nine, times three is $27. Beer off the month $2.00, times two is $4. 27+4 is...'
"Thirty-one, please. Out of...forty."
I spin around, and poke the screen.
One, two, three four, ones.
"Here you go.
Nine dollars is your change.
"Hi", I rasp.
Her first request is a kiss.