Short Stories

The Bartender’s Bitch

She walked her over to the bar with a bitchy look on her face. The kind of look that says “You are beneath me.” She veered away from my gaze, placing her order with the other bartender. She’s all smiles, but years of people watching have left me with the difficult truth that most people are full of shit. She was filled with hatred and malice, the kind that could surface at any moment in a rage-filled psychotic break. I’d put her in her place with a fake smile of my own. The kind of smile that reciprocates : “you’re a bitch and you don’t want to acknowledge me, but now you want something from me, so please don’t be such a bitch.”

I’m actually pretty pleasant, but the subtle layers of my sarcasm are clearly visible to the trained eye. One slight eyebrow raised. The small, but noticeable delay in my pour. The way I gaze towards the tip jar when you demand something.

Most people – 99% of people have a lot of respect for the guy – or girl behind the bar. They understand something that’s generally left unspoken. That thing – is the fact that when you’re intoxicated, you’re paying me to keep my mouth shut. Professional bartenders will confirm this unspoken agreement. You can be a jackass if you tip. You can say stupid shit – up to a point. But that point gets further and further away the more money you put into the jar.

One time a well known gangster dropped 100$ bill in the jar. He was already drunk but he wanted one more. He could barely walk. I was supposed to cut him off at this point, not let him drink. Without saying a word, the 100$ bill made a profound argument.

One time, a guy dropped a tenner into the jar, but later got himself kicked out for being too drunk. He wanted his money back. Not a chance, bud.

Back to the bitch. She knew me, but only from the middle of a conversation she stepped into one day. That day I wasn’t very neutral, and it’s important to be neutral if you want to make tips. I was opinionated and brutally honest about my thought and feelings on the government. She was the kind of nazi bitch that wanted to give more power to the state. A flag waiving, card carrying member of the party. She would make her opinion well known to me, the lowly, uneducated bartender. That’s where she crossed the line, asking me which university I went to. I replied “I’m an auto-didact”. Her eyes widened as she processed the new word, pretending she knew what it meant. She inferred from the context that I only had my high school diploma. After all, she was an intelligent individual. “What the fuck do you know?”, she launched, as she motioned to her empty glass, ordering a refill.

The best revenge is served cold with ice cubes.

I made her a drink alright. This time there was one major difference. There was no alcohol in it. I poured surreptitiously under the counter, raising the bottle high above the visual threshold so she could see me handling the bottle. I created the illusion of a cocktail – a ghost cocktail. I floated it across the bar with a grin on my face. The irony was that she thought she was in charge. In case you didn’t know, you can’t order the bartenders around. They’re not retail employees. If you’re consuming alcohol, you are under the care of the bartender or waiter. They decide if you can drink more or if you’ve had enough. That’s the deal.

The satisfaction of watching her consume a non alcoholic beverage was beyond description. She had no idea it was a ghost cocktail. Granted, I can’t do this with beer or shots. The ghost cocktail is especially useful for people who aren’t regular drinkers. It’s more difficult to pull off with seasoned drinkers. For this, you have to increase the deception. A touch of alcohol on the rim of the glass is all it takes to fool most drunks, but this is not something you should to do unless it’s an emergency. It should be reserved for the situations where the individual refuses to leave and your back is against the wall. To appease the drunk with “one last drink” before you call them a cab and ask them to leave.

It is rare that I’ve had to resort to these techniques, and if you’ve ever drank in my bar, you know that I love 99% of you guys 🙂 Cheers!

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