A suspicious barkeep tries to keep suspicious looking people from buying suspicious beers.
The bar was noisier than usual and full of strange people. This was disconcerting to Bartender Jim.
Bartender Jim could also have been called Bar Owner Jim but bar owner was two words and the kind of clientele he worked with had a hard enough trouble even just saying Jim.
“The bar is noisier and filled with strange looking and sounding people than it’s been in days,” Bartender Jim said to one of his regulars, or patrons as he called them in his head, or drunks as he called them to their face.
“They’re so weird,” said Drunk Tom, who didn’t even need to look up from his drink to come to that conclusion. Like all men named Drunk Tom, for this one was merely one of tens of others scattered in bars and pubs and dingy basements all over the world, Tom was fat and had chest hair spill out the top of his three sizes too small golf shirt.
Drunk Tom didn’t worry about how big or small his shirt was or how much or little chest hair he was spilling. He worried only about slamming his empty glass down on the bar when he had finished a beer.
“Would you like another beer Drunk Tom,” the bartender asked, mystifyingly picking up on the slamming of the glass hint. Bartender Jim was a smart bartender who understood his clientele.
“Could I have three beers please,” one of the strange people interrupted as Jim handed over the beer to Drunk Tom. As a bartender, Jim did not want to fulfill what he thought was an odd request but as a bar owner, he didn’t want any trouble, so he poured the beer.
“Did you hear what that strange man with the buttoned up shirt asked for?” Bartender Jim asked Drunk Tom when he felt the strange person was out of range.
“Whatever could he need three beers for. I’m afraid I may have to call the police tonight Drunk Tom.”
It was commonly known amongst the owner/bartender combination type that asking for three beers was akin to asking for a cobra. And that in a bar fight, a cobra was incredibly dangerous.
“I could use three beers right now,” Drunk Tom muttered, slamming his empty glass down three times.
“Yes but you’ve already had seven or eight, so that’s to be expected. I have a sneaking suspicion those are the first three he’s ordered tonight.”
Any bar owner would recognize the signs of alcohol abuse and Bartender Jim, although he didn’t carry it in his name, was an owner.
“Excuse me sir, but you and your young, suspiciously well-dressed friends will have to leave my bar,” he said to the man who had ordered the drinks and fueling suspicion, had passed all three of them off to friends.
“I’m sorry barkeep, have my friends and I done something to offend you?” asked the man, who Jim now noticed was wearing a vest and a pocket square and who he thought might be a bank robber.
Bartender Jim looked him directly in the eye and raised one eyebrow as high as he could, unconcerned that the straining was causing one eye to water.
“Well, we can’t have people getting drunk in here, just leave the establishment.”
“Are you not a seller of beer?” the man dared to ask, confusing a tender of bar with a common seller of beer.
“In all my life I’ve never been accused of selling beer. I tend bar or bar own!” Jim yelled, raising his eyebrow higher than ever he had. “I do now suggest you leave!”
Whether it was the wonderfully high raised eyebrow or that he was a model citizen, the man accepted the request and with Bartender Jim pressing at his elbow, ushered his friends out as well.
Bartender Jim smiled proudly to nobody. He had rid himself of riff raff before they had spent too much money.
“This is not a barn,” he yelled at the group of men and women for good measure, after, of course, looking behind himself to verify that he was not in front of a barn.
When he turned to re-enter his bar, he found doing so would have been a hazard as it was well on its way to being burned to the ground. Drunk Tom was there to explain the fire.
“I was afraid they were going to come back and take more beer,” he explained from his tower of cases and kegs of beer he had rescued.
As a bar owner, Jim was satisfied with this answer and he hugged his favourite customer.
(The group of strange young people continued on to a bar down the street where they proceeded to spend hundreds of dollars. When Jim heard about this later, he called Drunk Tom and talked for hours about how had the owners of these other bars paid more attention and spent more time at their bars, such a thing would never have happened. He also talked to his accountant who told him he no longer owned a bar.)