Times like these bring out the bitter in all of us—at least that's the story Nora McLorn is telling herself. Being a bartender in a Hollywood hot spot has morphed her into the queen of snark.
But who wouldn't be a tad bit resentful about serving suds to a bunch of badly behaving B-list actors, wanna-be Jonas Brothers, unwashed tribal tattoo chicks, meaty-faced bartards who try to climb over the bar, and people who over pronounce while ordering Pina Coladas—the same ones, mind you, who say Grande Carmel Macchiato with an accent?
What is a girl to do besides turn territorial and sharpen her tongue?
The trouble isn't that Nora has an alter-ego whom she christens Bitter Bar Girl; or that her New Age-addicted boss wants to lay her off until she reads a bizarre self-help guide; or the fact that she's conjured the book's quirky author; or even that Bitter Bar Girl's scope extends beyond the bar to affect not just her relationships with her family, friends and those with potential boyfriend possibility. Okay, perhaps these are the real problems.
Honed in the UCLA Writer's Program, BITTER BAR GIRL is a 67,000 word novel inspired by my years as an LA bartender where I gleaned a razor sharp insight, a dull headache, and an enviable list of hangover cures. I would love to send you a quick shot or are you in the mood for a bender?
I should just ignore the guy waving his twenty, but he leans so far over the bar I’m afraid he’ll fall into the ice bin.
“Weiss Bock,” he orders by way of a greeting.
“Sorry,” I say, “all we have is what’s on the list.”
He squints at the carefully hand-printed menu board. “You don’t have Moretti,” he says.
“It must be Bug the Busy Bartender Day,” I counter.
He doesn’t take the hint. Instead he runs his fingers through his tell-tale center part.
“What about cream stout? Irish oatmeal? Imperial?”
“No, not and none.”
“Fine,” he whines. “Just give me something Belgian.”
My temples begin to pulsate as I contemplate my fate. I can hear the murmur of the unserved; feel their scathing looks pinging off my skull as the swarming crowd five deep forms en masse to stampede. Something inside me gives way. A fissure opens and Bitter Bar Girl, my alter ego gushes forth.
“Are your parents siblings or are you just a dickhead?” she asks.
“Uh, I…” he sputters.
“All we have is what you see listed. So either cowboy up or get the hell out.”
“Heineken,” he bleats. I oblige and then leave to let him stew in his barley.
Good thing the owner is out of town because lately Bitter Bar Girl has ripened into a connoisseur of the cutting remark and once she unleashes, it’s hard to rein her in.