Yep, here he comes. It’s 3:59 in the afternoon and the highballs are about to plummet from the astronomical and frankly bullish sum of $4.50, all the way down to the purse-saving, retirement-funding, packs-of-Marlboro-Menthol-buying, barrel-bottom low of $2.50.
He’s timed the walk perfectly. That old rascal.
He has the money, ya know? A boatload of it. And he has a boat, I’m told, by him.
It’s just the principle of the situation, you see.
Damn, is that a new Brew Thru T-shirt, sir? Wait, no, it’s the same one. Your Cal Ripken of T-shirts — never misses a shift. And it reminds me that you frequent the Outer Banks.
Oh, yessir, I’ll “take care of you on this first drink.”
I like it when you remind me to do that before every drink. Keeps me sharp. Gonna pour that bourbon right to the tiptop this time.
Honestly, I prefer to get you loosened up at breakneck speed. When happy hour ends at 8, why would I want you sober or speaking with your indoor voice? Your continued vociferous presence is a boon to the other customers, bartenders and me.
Three and half hours of delightfully repetitive anecdotes, assorted insults to my manhood, suave sexual come-ons to every woman in the place, spittle in my face from your incessant close talking, and of course, your colorful, over-the-top, bold-faced lies.
You ol’ devil, you’re the lifeblood of this bar.
Oh, so today you’re only driving a junker ’91 Saturn because your buddy needed to borrow your F-250? Wait, did you say F-250? As in 150 plus another 100? You talk about impressed. I mean seriously, talk about how impressed I should be.
A hemi?! I hope everyone heard that, which they did, because you started yelling about how it “shits and gets!”
Cussing loudly? Ha. That’s classic you. Screw that family trying to have dinner behind you. This is your world and we’re just living in it.
Oh, let me apologize. I see you waving down there and I will never, and I mean ever, let that glass get halfway empty again, sir. I deserved the verbal abuse and I understand that you didn’t go to Vietnam in order to have some “young shithead” treat you with such disrespect.
You see, the other customers mean very little to me. What with their fancy-schmancy “tipping well,” “politeness” and “hygiene” and all.
Don’t need ’em and don’t care for ’em.
Of course I can give you a second a drink on the house. Pour it heavy, kid? Duh. Thank you again for the reminder.
You’re going to take care of me at the end?
I would have it no other way, sir.
Uhh, well, no, it’s Jack. But you can call me “boy” or “hey you” to get my attention. I’m also a fan of when you violently grab my elbow while I’m pouring someone else’s drink.
Ah yes, happy hour has reached its conclusion. Your tab, pronto.
Well, yes, but you had 12 drinks sir, two of which I gave you on the house and it pains me even more than the surely egregious pain you feel to have to charge you a whopping $25.
No sir, I don’t expect or deserve a tip.
Yes I understand that this will be the last time you frequent this establishment and I will inform the manager of my blunder, which will certainly cause this restaurant to fail because of your absence.
A fine berating today sir. One of your better efforts.
To be fair, this type of bar regular is rare. Manners and respect between barmen and patrons are generally a rule rather than the exception. To my regulars, if you’re reading this I assure you that it’s not you of whom I speak ill. Thank you all for continuing to pay my rent and helping to keep me knee-deep in pizza rolls.
Richmond bartender Jack Lauterback contributes to Mixology magazine in Germany, tweets @jackgoesforth and blogs at jackgoesforth.blogspot.com. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.