Thursday and Jude go to her bar
June 18, 2017 § Leave a comment
Thursday and I arrived at her bar one chilly night in March. Swinging through the side door with frozen eyelashes, both of us were grateful for the warmly lit interior. The reflections of candles in the mirrors of the liquor shelves gleamed across the laminate protecting a fifty year old bar top. I had always found the bar top of a bar to being particularly telling. A nice, finished piece of solid wood, half of a tree that could fit fifteen or more seats across, promised a comfortable stay.
Our sole intention for the night was to meet some of Thursday’s coworkers in a setting that wasn’t work and that she couldn’t fuck up: with booze. More importantly, with whiskey, her companion, confidante, and general demoralizing drug that she continued to use as if she desired to batter herself. I, myself, was never much good with abusing drugs, but whiskey and bourbon, those caramel-colored beverages meant to be enjoyed on the rocks or straight up, were Thursday’s true friends. Although they often knocked her ass-backwards or straight into a pillow full of tears, they allowed her to neglect the shy, anxious facet of her personality and to make friends, a lot of them.
In her later years, like with most adults, these drinks remained friendly to her, but only in great moderation. This was one of those unfortunate years where moderation could not hold a candle to the long awaited and well-earned Tolerance.
The guy behind the bar I recognized from a couple of days before when he slipped by me on his way out the door. He was Korean, but raised American. He was about Thursday’s height with long dark hair with a slight goatee.
I let Thursday make her introduction. “I’m Thursday,” she said. “I’m new.”
“Brent,” he said, shaking her hand. “I think I saw you the other day when I was here. What are you having?”
“A whiskey diet and a shot of well bourbon in a bucket, neat.”
Brent pushed the glass of whiskey and diet soda over to her on a coaster. Thursday passed me the bourbon.
When you order rail, you’re allowed to mix it with anything because in most bars, the rail isn’t even real bourbon. It’s like a hybrid of gasoline enhanced moonshine, some no-name cleaning product that was probably banned from shelves in the 80s, and caramel color number-something. Example? Old Thompson.
If you want to commit a slow, painful suicide through evisceration of the insides, or perform a general yearly detox, drink a liter of Old Thompson. As you set down the bottle or tumbler, notice how the bastard rips the finish right off your mahogany table and then think about what it’s doing to your insides. Step away from the bottle and go find something to mix it with. Gatorade is not the best choice for whiskey, but in extreme circumstances it will do the trick. Thursday learned this several years ago when she lived alone. She used to tell people that she lived alone because she could drink all she wanted and no one would judge her. I got a laugh out of it a couple of times and even overused the line myself for a while. But now, even I don’t find it funny anymore. Thursday only uses the line when she can’t think of anything to say.
The tubs in this bar were perfectly cylindrical, no ridges or clefts. I found this annoying as my fingers had nothing to concentrate on while I sat quietly and listened to Thursday strike up a conversation with Brent and two customers.
One of the men has shaved his head to remove all doubt of premature balding. He had bright blue eyes and also a well-trimmed goatee. He was certainly the most talkative of the three and I was suddenly and not-so-pleasantly reminded of the inner-workings of foodies and their troubles. The conversation of the night so far had been stuck on work, glued to the frightful topic. Tonight, Thursday and I listened once more to the topic of the one idiot who always seemed to be in charge at every restaurant.
It seemed to me, according to the conversation at hand, that if this one idiot were simply swiftly dismembered and their insides served up in vodka sauce and penne to only the most heinous of customers, that all things would return to their rightful place in Restaurant Utopia.
Aside from that one idiot, and his or her kiss-ass minions, most of the other staff was perfectly acceptable, though only a few really outshone the rest as far as stellar-everything goes and these few would explode into a fucking supernova of personality and customer-service oriented godliness if only so-and-so wasn’t such a fucking cunt whose ass should have been fired six months ago.
And of course, Chris, Brent’s bright-eyed bald friend was a fucking supernova, and Brent could be too if he joined the auspicious ranks of the prestigious downtown French restaurant that most foodies around here just called “the Toilet.”
I had heard that the food at the Toilet was actually amazing, its unfortunate moniker stemming from the disgust of rest of the downtown service folk getting goddamned tired of the elite little brick and white trimmed building with mortar made of cherub bones, a kitchen boasting ovens forged by Hephaestus, and a head chef that used only locally sourced organic ambrosia pretending that they were in goddamn New York City. Unfortunately for the local greasy spoon, mom and pop places, this trend would take the nation by storm within a few years.
I was surprisingly hammered by the time Chris and Brent wrapped up their conversation, luckily they were equally drunk and didn’t notice that I was now drinking from a flask. Brent had locked the doors and it was just the four of us.
“Can I make us a drink?” Thursday asked.
“Go for it,” said Brent, lifting the hinged bar top.
Thursday climbed up on the counter for a moderately priced bottle of Scotch and Creme de Cassis. Casually, Brent brushed his hand against her ass, acting as though he were spotting her. “Wow, you are really fit,” he said.
“Well, I do try to workout,” said Thursday. “I’m no spring-chicken anymore.”
“You’re a dangerous creature to have around,” said Chris, adding a bit of lemon juice to his margarita, no doubt to complete the palate of flavors. “Those hips, those lips, those eyes…”
Eyes don’t lie and neither Brent nor Chris saw Thursday roll hers to the back of her sockets. I could tell Thursday had wished they would refer to her personality rather than her assets. Such was life in the bar business.
During their first meeting, Chris and Brent would remember Thursday as cheerful and exotic. Their eyes were on her all through resetting the alarm, re-locking the doors, and as they all waved and went their separate ways. They would not remember her as bored out of her skull. In about the same amount of time it takes for a particle of dust to blow upwards and then settle, Thursday had already decided that both men were impossibly boring. She had a particular deficit, which had not cost her any friends as of yet, but only because she manicured her attentions with booze, that made it nearly impossible for her to be around people for long periods of time. Her attention would wander, thinking about castles, sleeping under the northern lights, or wondering why a certain leaf looked like a penis when his brothers all looked like starfish. Funny that it only happened when she was around people.