She plonks a glass down on the bar as I'm getting my stuff together to go home for the night.

"What's this?"



- - -

It's a ritual, a lazy saturday night baptism. It's probably against one of those laws of physics that god threw in at the very end as a joke, buried beneath the subclauses for people way smarter (or drunker) than me to find, but it is impossible for me to be around this girl for more than an hour without tequila coming into the picture. She arches an eyebrow and waits for me to pick up my glass. I can't help but notice that, if this is a shot glass, it's for very, very large people. I could go fishing in this glass. I could raise a barn, buy a floppy hat and grow agave in this glass. I could...

I don't drink tequila. I'm not used to it, not accustomed to having a rampaging horde of Mexican gangsters traipsing around my stomach and making fun of the decor, and I'm certainly not used to the arrogant way they have of reminding all the other intoxicants floating around my system that they've got work to do and that they'd best start getting me good and plastered before they start taking names. Jaegermeister's like that too, but it tries to invade Poland while it's at it.

I don't drink tequila but the girl is gorgeous, the bar is suddenly hopping (faces pressed to the window glass, rubbernecking the Tequila Flameout) and, hell, it's only 3am. We clink glasses. In my head we're doing the fifties diner thing (one milkshake, two straws, no waiting) but with hard liquor and strobe lights.

We drink and sputter and suck on our limes like they were attached to oxygen tanks. Her eyes, I can't help but notice, don't leave mine for a second.

And then the moment's over. She goes back to work and I go back to the crossword puzzle. She mashes mint in the bottom of a glass; I think up as many classical composers with five letters in their names as I can. I know she'll be back, later tonight or the next time around, with potency in one hand and salvation in another.

- - -

As the Mexicans pull out their shotguns and decide to go for a joyride and I debate between Elgar and Liszt (the names of which are starting to look blearily alike) and as I'm wondering how I managed to stumble into such amiable company, I look up to see her wandering my way across the bar.


Reinforcements for the raiding party arrive with a flourish of horns, and things spin rapidly out of control.

The girl is real. The story, less so.
Oh, and it was Elgar.

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