An assignment that I wrote for the Imaginative Writing class I took last semester. When a cocky boy thinks he's going to pick up a woman at a bar, he gets a lot more than he bargained for.
I had seven gin and tonics that night—mostly gin. Three parts gin. I knew what that shit would do to me. Sloppy, leaning on the counter. Drownin’ my sorrows. S’all the same to me. Pitiful. Useless.
“Hey.” Some guy sat next to me.
“I said hello.”
“Hm.” I couldn’t think of a reason why he was speakin’ to me.
Guy looked at the barkeep. “Don’t you think it’ss rude to give a woman that much liquor?”
Some light caught a few of the empty glasses on the counter—hurt my eyes. I closed them, and sighed. “I asked for them,” I said, stating the obvious. He just didn’t get it. I could see his ‘Knight Shining Armor’ act right away. Well, I wasn’t on the Market and it wasn’t going to work.
“You’re clearly drunk,” Guy said.
“Yvonne,” I said, smirking as I introduced myself. “I own this joint. His job’s on the line if I don’t get what I want.” My words came out a little slurred, but that was it. I suddenly noticed that it was very warm. I was hot. Of course it was the gin. I thought about holding my hand out to shake, but he didn’t deserve it. I was better than him.
Guy blushed, saying as Barkeep nodded, “Oh, I see…so how are you getting’ home?” Guy had an easy smile. I could tell he was trying to coerce me into bed just by the look that he was giving me. The bar was pretty much empty, the last few stragglers getting what they could in before we closed.
“Not with you,” I retorted, and then I ordered another gin and tonic just to spite him. I probably wouldn’t even drink it. As he turned around to mix it, Barkeep and I said together, “I live upstairs.” Except he said, ‘she’, you know. It wouldn’t make sense for him to say ‘I’.
“Now what could a pretty woman like you be doing drinking all this?” Guy asked me. “I wouldn’t think running a bar would give you that many troubles. This place is rather popular…”
My eyes narrowed without a second thought. “You don’t know anything about me. I’m not going to sleep with you so pretending you’re fucking sensitive and shit isn’t going to get you nowhere.”
But he didn’t jump back, didn’t recoil. He was cool as a kitty, raising his left eyebrow at me. Or was it his right? Can’t remember. “I’m not doing anything wrong, lady. Don’t be a bitch.” He called to Barkeep. “A Corona, please.”
My drink came up first, though that could very well be because I did pay the man making beverages. My smile slid up further on my lips. He had called me a bitch. Wonderful. “Well, you figured one thing out about me. I am a bitch. Thank you.”
Barkeep grabbed a small glass and a bottle, popped the cap off and placed it in front of Guy. “Yves…” he said, trailing off and looking at Guy. It was a warning, I think.
“I don’t like warnings,” I said. “Don’t fucking say anything!” Guy looked at me like I was crazy. But I wasn’t crazy; just drunk off my ass. Barkeep shut the fuck up like I asked him to, and I turned to look at Guy, leaning my elbows on the counter, my fingers intertwining in a pyramid. “So, tryin’ to talk to me, eh?”
“No, I wasn’t,” he said hastily, taking a sip.
“Lies. All lies. Just like every other man…”
Guy started to get angry. Just the reaction I wanted. “What the hell is wrong with you?” his voice wasn’t loud or anything. Almost like he was curious.
I took a sip from my last gin and tonic. It coaxed my tongue into speaking a bit more. Honestly? There were a lot of things wrong with me. And that’s what I told him. Then I said, “My problem is that everyone comes in here, cryin’ about their lives, their women, their wives—but not a single person in here knows two shits about suffering. If you were really suffering you wouldn’t have your dumbasses in her gettin’ any beer. You wanna know what suffering is? Having the people you love taken from you.” I snapped my fingers--a bit slowly because I had to recall the mechanics of it—“Just like that. Like a blink. A breath. It’s something deep, you know. Not something that can be forgotten with a fucking drink.
There aren’t enough fucking drinks to cure me of my suffering. And then I see you people here, complaining about nothing when you have more than you need, and it depresses me. And that’s why I drink.” What I didn’t say was that it was also the reason why I brewed. Made my own concoctions. I wanted to help others drown their troubles, whether or not they were real. At least, that’s what I told myself.
Guy took a long draught from his glass, and dipped his head like they all did after I finished speaking. “…I’m sorry.” But there was a glint in his eye as looked at me. He was back on the prowl. I was poor, defenseless, vulnerable, because I was drunk and I sounded sad, right? Made me an easy catch. He looked me up and down. “…did you lose your husband?”
My eyes narrowed again and I snarled. Like a bitch. I hated this man. “How would you know that?” I grunted.
“The—the ring…on your finger…” He pointed.
“Oh.” I had forgotten that I was wearing it. But I didn’t take back my feelings. “…I suppose. I’m not talking about it.”
Barkeep was suddenly at the other side of the bar, ringing the cowbell hung on the wall there for closing. “Get moving! Security Sweeps in a half hour.”
Guy put the money for his drink on the counter. I pulled out mine. Barkeep came back as I was stumbling over the bills, and he removed them from my hand, counted the correct amount, and put it in the register with the rest. I stuck what he gave me back in one of my pockets. “You pay for you own drinks?”
“I’m a customer like everyone else.” Guy got up from the counter, stretching as though he had spent a lifetime there. I watched him turn to leave, and I downed the rest of my gin and tonic. “Hey, you!” I said a bit too loudly. But I didn’t care. I was too drunk to care. That last one had done it.
Guy turned around. “What?” Clearly, he was frustrated. He wanted ‘em easy, and I wasn’t easy at all. Lecture from a drunk chick. What a night for him.
I got out of my chair, stumbling a bit but I wasn’t wearing heels so I kept my balance well enough. “…come upstairs to my room and I’ll tell you.”