i’ve been reading a lot of hemmingway recently, which might explain the fact that half of the things i write at the moment are set in bars, and the main characters all drink whiskey. also, i can’t actually talk to girls in bars in real life, so that’s why the dialogue sounds like it’s from a bad film.
“i bet you i can do something good tonight. just you see”
rio’s was a medium level of busy that night. the kind of busy where there is the hum of conversation, but it’s not so loud you need to shout. pleasant. you could tell each other secrets, and no-one would be able to overhear. it was comforting to know you had that vague level of privacy in a crowded room. service was quick at the bar. i order a whiskey on the rocks, letting it warm my stomach. outside was cool spring. i make eyes at the woman next to me. she’s cute; a bit older with auburn hair, sipping a fancy cocktail, i don’t know what. i know the metal band she’s playing with is a wedding ring.
“bit fancy for rio’s, isn’t it?” i venture.
“what?” i indicate towards her drink, then towards mine, “oh, i see. this isn’t my regular kind of bar” she takes a sip
“regular glits and glams girl then? real day diamond in the rough” i say, looking around the room and seeing the regular bar flies, losers and nine-til-five guys that live in rio’s. by this point i have her attention, her shoulders turned to face me. body language. knew it was worth looking into that.
“you could say that” looking intently at me and taking another sip.
the guy on her other shoulder does not look happy. red in the face. clearly a city boy who is down on his luck. bags under his eyes tell me that the guy is stressed and is not sleeping so well.
“say…” i lean in close and whisper something into her ear. before leaning back a little. cheek to cheek, our lips close. there is definite tension. i wink at the gentleman over her shoulder. i lean into to kiss her. she pulls away.
the crack of the gentleman’s fist on my jaw hurt slightly more than i wished it had. i hit the floor and for a second, i am convinced it was broken. it did not come as a suprise; i knew something like this was going to happen.
“gud riddance. fuckin’ dicks can take it outside, ye hear?” the bartender shouted after us. he might be the famous rio of rio’s but i never bothered to ask. he has the look about him that says he’d rather take a baseball bat to us than call the police. oh happy days. i never try and hit the guy, never return the blows. i just take them, though after three or four hits to various parts of my body, he stops.
“you pervert. how dare you proposition her. that’s my goddamn wife!”
“my bad, my bad. she just looked so damn cute sipping that cocktail. oh the things i’d do…” i wink at him again, sticking out my tongue and laughing.
“son, you’re gonna grow up so lonely if that’s how you treat women. learn something from me; i love her more than you could know, and i’m not going to stand there while some pervert tries to get his end away, RIGHT in front of me”
she comes up behind him, and kisses him on the cheek, leading him away. he looks back at me, my face sore and slightly bruised, lying on the curb outside rio’s.
i return to the bar. the bartender gives me a filthy look as i order another double whiskey and an ice towel.
james is still at the booth, the remenants of dinner on the table in front of him. i sit down, take a sip of my whiskey, which numbs the pain before i select a curly fry and eat it.
“and that, my friend, is how you save a marriage”
he looks at me like i’m insane.