Nada, my boss, a woman in her 40s is a pro at what she does, she knows how to sell her liquor. She sits cross legged sexy on a high stool within inches from her costumers, she eyes them, she taps them on their hands or face and flatters them putting each one in the spotlight and at the center of her attention. It's a two way street, where more lanes go Nada's way, for she feasts on the attention of all younger men and she also pockets their money without a shred of shame or remorse. I admire and despise this woman. The admiration for her uninhibited, nonchalant demeanor, and the latter for the enjoyment she gets when counting her dirty money.
As soon as I step in for my shift I can tell Nada's already made some good sales by the loud enthusiasm everyone greets me with. A what I call “bar sense” (I developed almost overnight in this job) tells me that it's going to be a long and agitated night. I only know one man in the crowd, John, my new but meager flame, and him being here gives me a reason to be agitated. The patrons don’t seem to know each other either. Drinks are bought and gulped rather fast and money flashed competitively who is who and what they have is the theme of this gathering. I squeeze past sweaty, alcohol and homme cologne reeking men and make my way behind the bar. Nada moves her bar stool closer to the cash register that way pinning me in a tight spot between the bar counter and the bathroom door. I'm the gate keeper!
Minutes later it’s raining questions and luscious looks flood my way. I am asked the most private and personal kind of questions, like what size bra I wear and when was the last time I had sex… I do my best to answer some and play the others away by throwing in my own silly questions when a group of bar hopping guys pops in to fan away the question mist. The groups now seize each other and Nada shifts her attention on the new comers. I go about my work restocking the fridge and putting away the empties, when I feel a set of hands softly and timidly patting my lower back, I struggle to turn in the narrow space and I find myself face to face with the youngest client of the night, a blind 17 year old gypsy boy. He’s been sitting quietly at a table behind his older brother drinking Coke for hours, and now he’s groping his way to the bathroom.
I laugh his hands off my buttocks and point him to the bathroom door. When he fumbles to open it I take his sweaty small hand and place it on the handle, he opens the door and before stepping in his body gives me an unexpected shove and we both land in the middle of the toilette with him about to lock the door behind us. I react instantly and planting my hands on his chest i push him hard out of my way, he lands on top of the bathroom waste basket, a basket case, and I leap out to find the small crowd at a standstill and every set of eyes partaking in this sexual coming of age of a blind boy. I now solved the brothers' puzzle; big brother took small one out for some action, he coached him then sat back on his bar stool to watch the boy become a man. Not with me, he won't!
John gives the blind boy and his sibling a mean look and I smell his anger slowly cooking in the crock pot of his mind. We have been dating for a few months and we managed to keep it a secret until now. It has been laughs and adult fun but lately worries have been sprouting wildly. I am not ready to commit to no man's kitchen! Yet John shows signs of entitlement, and acts as if I belong to him, I am his woman...he hangs out where I work keeping a jealous eye on me while I make my living. Blind sided in his needs he cannot see that bar work is flirt work! And flirting is a good bar tending skill!
From behind the bar a smile can green your night regardless of how many times you've opened the cash register,or how many drinks you sold. A wink and a nice word can avert and defuse a drunken violent rage keeping everyone out of harm's way. A friendly conversation can soften a hard day on both sides of the bar counter. A listening ear or a steady shoulder can grow long lasting, priceless friendships. These are just a few valuable tools in a bar tender's bag, tools that are now nailing the coffin of John and I Relationship. RIP Relationship.
Blind boy has been locked in the toilette for a longs time when a client makes his way to the door and rattles the handle, boy's brother calls out:
- David, hurry out, someone wants to use the bathroom!
No sound comes from behind the narrow door, no toilette flush, no drier roar, and once again all eyes are fixed on the bathroom area, seconds later David staggers out wet face and hair, all red, his shirt hanging over his pants and a shy smile stretching wide over his lackluster eyes. Palpating his way back he rests his right hand under the brightest light on the counter just inches away from me, it takes me a few long seconds to process what I see... I see David’s back of the hand all covered with a white, shaky, cluster of semen. I’m still processing this image when big brother bursts out loud:
- David, man, she got you hot and horny, eh? Go back in and wash your hands, bro.
The entire bar hollers in laughter as the a redder than a cooked Baltimore crab blind and embarrassed boy heads back to the bathroom. From her corner Nada, the boss, smiles and studies the dense cloud plastered on John's face while a dark premonition wraps my mind.
to be continued...