TITLE: Bitter Bar Girl
GENRE: Commercial Fiction
Another Friday night behind the bar. The crowd edges in to order. I take a deep breath to buy myself time, then head for nerdy guy in the tan sports coat.
“What’s on tap?” he asks, unenlightened by the clearly marked spigots grazing his prominent nose.
“Two blonds and a bad-a** redhead,” I say.
“I hate to tell you,” he says with disdain, “but not all foaming beverages qualify as beer.”
“Thanks for the heads up.”
I picture a shot glass bouncing off his forehead.
He takes time to assess the hand-printed menu board listing all the bottled brews. Meanwhile, the murmur of the unserved rises to a near-deafening crescendo.
“Don’t you have cream stout? Irish oatmeal? Imperial?” he asks. The dingy carpet, the sloppy black paint job on the walls, the year round Christmas tree lights—none of these gave him the hint.
“No, no and no,” I say, assessing the crowd of three-deep patrons now forming en masse to stampede.
“Fine,” he whines, “just give me something Belgian.”
I feel a pulse beat rise in my temple as scathing looks ping at me from every direction. I go from zero to Bitter Bar Girl in 2.1 seconds.
“Should I talk more slowly or find someone who speaks dick head?” she inquires.
“Uh…” he sputters.
“There’s no secret beer for special people. You are in my bar. This is my world. So either cowboy up, or get the hell out.”
“Harp,” he bleats. I oblige and leave him to stew in his barley.