Wednesday, July 15, 2009

26 Secret Agent

TITLE: Bitter Bar Girl
GENRE: Adult Fiction

Friday evening. A Micro-Brew Aficionado lurks half way down the bar. He laments our lack of international beers, namely those from the far East.

“Don’t you have jibiiru? Otaru? Any kind of happoshu at all?” he asks running his fingers through his tell-tale center-part with no regard for the fact that I’m solo in front of fifty other guys who all want to order. He just goes on and on.

“Sorry,” I say with a modicum of regret. “What can I get you have instead?”

“No Hong Kong SAR? Don’t you people know anything at all about good beer?” His squint at the menu board gives me a shot straight up his flared nostrils and into his pea-sized brain. “I don’t see any Yona Yona Ale on the list either,” he says with distaste. “Haven’t you heard of Tui East India Pale?”

For about five seconds 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 almost forms en masse to stampede. I try to resist but something inside me gives way. A fissure opens and Bitter Bar Girl gushes forth.

“Look, you snot-nose,” she spews, “if you can’t find something here then you need to go home like a good little know-it-all and hope the mailman brings your Beer of the Month installment. Next!” I leave him and his unhinged jaw to flap on the bar.
Since Kevin, the owner, has been in Maui, Bitter Bar Girl has ripened into a connoisseur of the cutting remark, savoring her litany of rude responses like a wine snob covets a supple full-bodied Merlot.


  1. This is really funny - love the infuriating customer with his pretentious demands, love the Bitter Bar Girl concept. I think maybe her rude response could be ruder - it has something of the primary school teacher about it, which might not have the desired effect. Also slightly uncomfortable about the shift between first person and third person. I assume you're trying to make Bitter Bar Girl into an alter ego but I think shifting in one paragraph undermines that. I definitely want to know more though.

  2. I feel like it didn't catch me until the end-then I really tuned in and felt like I knew what was going on-before that all the dialogue about beers didn't interest me.

  3. This caught me, but I agree that the rude response should be much ruder. "Snot-nose" seems like a pretty mild insult. Also agree that the shift from first to third was a little awkward.

    I do love the original interactions between the bartender and the micro-brew aficionado. Very funny.

  4. Humored and fascinated.... is that just her, or dual personalities? :)

    I like the humor here and I think I'd read on a bit.

  5. I don't think I would read on... the first sentence put me off...

  6. I'm not hooked. I was jarred with the first person to third person shift. Mr. Aficionado goes on a bit too long with his list of beers they don't carry, and Bitter Bar Girl needs a much snappier reply (especially since the boss is out of town and you call her a connoisseur of the cutting remark). It needs to really cut to grab that title. With a little work, I might get hooked.

  7. I agree with the other comments - Bitter Bar Girl's response isn't bitter or half as rude as it could be. Still, I'm interested and would keep reading. I can really see this going places.
    My general observations are:

    - I'd like to know the the narrator is the bartender in the first or second paragraph, so I empathize with her sooner.

    - Maybe mention a few less beer names, I didn't get they were beers until p4. (While international beers was mentioned before, I didn't connect it to the names.)

    - The narration shift threw me too.

    Overall, I'm intrigued and want to know more.

  8. Overall, I like this. It's a solid little scene with a problem, tension, and a climax. The writing has verve, too.

    It needs an edit, though. For example, "Micro-Brew Aficionado" shouldn't be capitalized, but the names of beers, even fictionalized ones, should be.

    I'd also spend a little more time on the transition from well-behaved bartender to Bitter Bar Girl, to make it clearer what's happening, because you're going from I (first-person) to BBG (referring to herself in third person).

  9. The pov changes need to be fixed, but the overall scene is intriguing and worthy of reading. I'd like to see less cliche'd names when she blows up at him.

  10. This is one of those I'd really need to see the book jacket. I wonder, at this point how to write an entire novel about a snappy bartender and the 1st 250 words doesn't clue me in at all.
    But if there is more to it than a spit-personality bartender, and if there's conflict, I'd read on because I like the humor.

  11. Your writing it catchy and engaging. You have a typo at the end of sentence starting w/ "Sorry."
    Agree about cutting down on the myrid of beer names and get to the snappy retort - which needs to be a lot snappier.
    Would have the lead-in line about contemplating fate. Just get to what she hears and feels.
    Good luck!

  12. I love the humor in this. I had to go back a couple times to re-read the part listing the beer names, but otherwise I'd definitely read on! Good work.

  13. "What can I get you have instead?"

    Is it supposed to be written like this or is there a "to" missing in-between "you have"?

    Either way, it was all right, but not hooked.

  14. I'm not hooked. I think you need another round of revisions. You've got some good lines going for you and I am curious as to why this bar girl has turned snarky and what makes her tick.

    Keep working on it and good luck.

  15. No hooked. I like the idea of "Bitter Bar Girl" but her dialogue sounds flat to me-- if she is going to yell at the customer, I suspect she would probably be more likely to call him a dickhead that a "snot-nose."

    I do think you have an interesting character here-- if the dialogue was a bit stronger I'd probably keep reading.

  16. Not hooked. Your character is interesting, but there's no story (yet. Perhaps you get to that in a while.) But based on these 250 words, I have a bartender who is sometimes rude. Do I want to read a whole story about that?

    Maybe try to get in some hints of where you're going, what the main problem is.