“This Dud’s For You…”

From the regrets department.

This was over a year ago but I’ll still stop and do a double-take, a quick 180 in stride, whenever I see who I think is this person in question. That’s how burned in my brain is this person’s appearance. About thirty eight years old. Five foot nine. Thin build. Thick horn-rimmed glasses. Crooked smile. Greasy, dark brown hair tussled in the current calculated chaos. A sorry, on-purpose, five o’clock shadow so sparse the damn thing froze at twenty to three. In short, a young Gen-Xer clad in Gap crap.

And though points should’ve been awarded this guy for his elaborateness and sheer cunning, not to mention an Obie or Tony for his fine performance, it sure doesn’t mean your friendly bartender wouldn”t want to add a shiner to this list of accolade. Or a fat lip. Or (if only I hadn’t sold those fringed tights, you know, the red ones with the gold piping) a slam to the mat with a full on triple-suplex!!! And here’s why…

I had just come on duty that night and the day man was giving me the usual change of shift run-down… matching the faces with the tabs that were still ongoing… and the very last person he got to was the aforementioned Moby Dick to my Captain Ahab.  Mr. Gen-Xer. “By the way,” said my partner, “say hello to Neil here, it’s his first time in the joint. Nice fellow. He’s got a burger coming and there’s his Amex card over by his tab.” So I shook the Neil’s hand. “Any questions before I leave?” added my partner.

“None that I can think of,” I said, “thanks, man, have yourself a good night.”

“You do the same,” he said, “I am outta’ here!” And off he went. I then went along the bar to see if anything else needed tending, and since it didn’t I returned for a chat with new guy Neil. To make him feel welcome.

“So, first time here,” I said, “how did you find us?”

“Simple,” he said. “I was just walking by and looked in the window. That’s all.  It looked like my kind of place so I walked right in. You know, the real deal kind of place.”

“Well, we’re definitely the real deal,” I said, “we’ve been here since the 1920’s as a speakeasy.”

“You’re kidding! Wow, how cool is that?”

“Very cool.”

He seemed to be genuinely impressed by that and I did have some time at that moment, so I decided to give him a brief history of our establishment. A quick crash course. Which is something I usually do by the way, again when I have the time, for it’s not only something I enjoy doing as the history really is amazing, but it happens to be an ideal way to welcome someone. The aim is to try to be nice at first if I have the time to engage, then how it goes after that is up to the customer. And I’m not just talking tips but the pain-in-the-ass factor. Then I can be just as un-nice as I can be nice! But this guy seemed okay so I gave him the spiel.

“Would you like another vodka, my friend?” I asked when his burger arrived and after my spiel.

“Oh definitely, man, definitely, I love this place. Hit me again.” So I mixed him another drink while young Moby got on his cell phone and called up a friend. Eating as he did so! “Yo, Jay, yeah,  it’s me, Neil. Hey, man, you should see this bar that I just found. It’s fucking awesome! It’s like this real cool, old time speakeasy with all kinds pictures of sports and stuff on the walls. Huh? Yeah. It’s in midtown and it’s called (our bar on such and such street). Hell yeah, I can wait. But finish up what you’re doing and get your ass over here. You’ll fuckin’ love it. Later, man!”

(As I said, and as you shall see, a Tony worthy performance!)

So I go about my business now taking care of the rest of the bar, while Moby anxiously awaits the arrival of his friend. And demolishes his burger. Then, after he’s finished with said burger and after I’ve bused the bar of it’s plate and loose fries, I figure I’ll do something nice for this first time patron. I’ll buy him a drink.

“How about we give you one on the house as a welcome drink there, Neil?”

“You’re kidding, Sir, really?’

“Why not?” And why not indeed. This will have been his fourth drink anyway plus he had a friend on the way to spend more… a friend who knew more friends and on it goes. It’s a good investment.

“Hey, man, if you’re buyin’, then pour away. Thanks a lot!” he said. And I did.

So now the place starts getting busy with everyone but Neil’s friend, as I kick into third gear to address the new crowd. With a group of five, a group of three, a solo and God knows what else coming down the stairs, before you know it I’m elbow deep in the ice. And then more walk in. But while I’m handling this steady flow which takes me quite a while, I notice that something is missing at the end of the bar. It’s Neil. And I realize I haven’t seen him since the crowd wandered in. Which is now twenty minutes.

Oh well, not to worry, I thought, I’m sure he didn’t do a walk out. And I have his credit card just in case. But after five more minutes I sense something’s wrong. So I quickly run outside to see if he’s out there having a smoke, hoping he’s having a smoke, or talking again to his friend away from the bar noise. But, just as I sensed and feared, our man wasn’t there. Fucking gonola! So now I run back in to check out his credit card.

Well, being certainly smarter than me, dear reader, I’m sure you’ve guessed the outcome… “DECLINED” the read-out screamed when I ran the card through. The card was a dud. And I’m surprised the machine didn’t add, “YOU FUCKING IDIOT!” Because  that’s how I felt. I mean talk about being sucked in, for God sakes, here was a vacuum cleaner and I was the dust. Between the phone call he made right in front of me, to obviously no one at all, to eating a burger while I gave him the grand old history tour, not to mention him staying in character in front of two bartenders, this was something right out of The Actor’s Studio. Like I said, Tony worthy. For usually shit like this happens after one or two drinks and a fake, “I’m going for a smoke.” Or a chug and run. But this prick pitched a tent and fucking camped out. For two hours!!! And he got a buy back from your most friendly bartender. How bad is that? That had to have broadened his smile just a tad as he raced up the street and down the stairs to the subway. High-fiving himself as he slid through the doors of the train. “I not only got a buy back I got a whole tab back!” Which pisses me off even now as I sit here and type this. Because it’s never about the money with this stuff, it’s always about the ego, the fact that you were made to look like a sap. And boy was I ever!

So in conclusion, dearest reader, anyone having any information leading to the capture and arrest of…

Aw, never mind, I’m off to find me a nice game of Three Card Monte! See ya’ next week-end.

18 Responses to ““This Dud’s For You…””

  1. 1 Comrade PhysioProf January 15, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    You shouldn’t feel *worse* because you bought the asshole a drink; you should feel *better*. Having assholes like that take advantage now and then is simply the price we pay as a society for having decent dudes like you behind the stick.

  2. 2 Pharm Sci Grad January 15, 2011 at 7:36 pm

    Gotta agree with CPP here… Better to be a good person and get screwed on occassion than not, right? Tho it does irk me too. 🙂

    “Dare to be naïve.” R. Buckminster Fuller

  3. 3 Pieter B January 15, 2011 at 8:49 pm

    The best revenge is knowing that this thieving asshole will never be able to enjoy your service and self, nor your fine establishment, ever again.

  4. 4 scribbler50 January 15, 2011 at 9:07 pm

    Comrade physioprof and Pharm Sci Grad: Of course you’re both right, but you can’t help how you feel when stuff like that happens. First you want to kick ass then you gotta’ stew! It’s like someone lifting your wallet while shaking hands!
    Thanks guys.

    Pieter B.: Though indeed you’re right that he’s barred, I hope he’s dumb enough to come back and give it a shot. Just once, eh?

  5. 5 jc January 15, 2011 at 11:24 pm

    I can only hope he walked outside and choked.

  6. 6 Pharm Sci Grad January 16, 2011 at 3:44 am

    Scribbs, I’m 100% behind the kicking ass/stewing… having spent the better part of the past few days uphappy/stewing myself! 😉 Do as I say and not as I do ya know… haha. 😛

  7. 7 Anonymoustache January 16, 2011 at 5:27 am

    My thoughts are pretty much on the same lines as the comments already made….you shouldn’t feel bad about being robbed…the guy was a freaking thief. You can’t stop being a good person because one in a hundred or one in a thousand times an asshole like that may come along….
    Hope you did report the guy, and whatever card it was, to Amex…was probably a stolen card but in any case…credit card companies are getting savvier by the day at catching crooks like these. And Gapcrapper really doesn’t want THOSE blood-sucking scumbag loansharks on his ass…
    BTW, every time I’ve run a tab on a card the bartender has swiped the card first (and made sure it’s legit? now that I think of it, is that possible without actually charging anything to it?)…

    Finally, kudos for some exquisite turn of phrase bro….”….five o’clock shadow so sparse the damn thing froze at twenty to three. In short, a young Gen-Xer clad in Gap crap”….is one for the hall of fame!

  8. 8 scribbler50 January 16, 2011 at 9:08 am

    jc: If he choked, it wasn’t from eating and drinking it was from laughter. But I like how you think.

    Pharm: Got it! And I hope you’re feeling better now. 🙂

    Anonymoustache: Naw, I didn’t bother reporting him, I’m sure it was a card he found or stole and his name wasn’t really Neil like it said on the Amex. And though there are ways to see if a card is legit… punch in a dollar then void it among others… you have to have a reason to do that. Unlike your bartender, I don’t have time to run a check on every card I’m handed, nor up until this event did I have a reason to. Usually when a card is DECLINED the customer is still there to give you another one. This was a walk-out, a special case.
    Thanks for the kudos.

  9. 9 Jennifer January 16, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    I second, third and fourth the thoughts above.

    I’m also thinking I remember the days when you just put your cash on the bar and the pile lessened throughout the evening.

  10. 10 scribbler50 January 16, 2011 at 7:20 pm

    Jennifer: I just hope when the pile went down you left enough to tip your friendly bartender! 🙂

  11. 11 Ken January 16, 2011 at 8:04 pm

    I’ll second the motion. If you are a decent or even half-way decent person, you will be scammed. It’s just inevitable.

    For what it’s worth, twenty years ago I was managing a campaign (successful) for governor. The opposition sent in a real cute blond, mid twenties, under the cover of doing an interview for her college paper. Because she managed to correctly name the school paper,and because she was, uh, a real babe, I gave “an interview.”

    All men are pigs of course, and I am no exception. (So my wife tells me) So I did not give away any real secrets. But the young lady’s well displayed boobs got her some “local color.” It took me two days to figure out I’d been, as they say today, “punked.”
    No one ever knew about it, and I kept it that way.

    All the girl really got in the end was that we had a fun free-wheeling operation.

  12. 12 scribbler50 January 17, 2011 at 12:04 am

    Ken: I’ll trade my experience (my punking) for yours any day.
    Thanks for that.

  13. 13 Irishirritant January 18, 2011 at 3:37 pm

    Errrrr, this may result in story about X’er stepping off curb looking back at friend laughing about the time he….WHAM…opps, justice prevails, not mortal but significant. Keep the faith.
    could be a great Super Bowl…Pack vs Steel, enjoy.
    All the Best, Thanks again.

  14. 14 d-a-p January 18, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    …someone once said,”life is like a hula hoop,what goes around,comes around”…..
    hopefully that may happen to this loser con man…..

  15. 15 tideliar January 18, 2011 at 6:20 pm

    Ouch Scribbler! I gotta concur with my learned friend, PhysioProf…in a way it’s because of assholes like that we can pat ourselves on the back when the right thing *does* happen.

    Looking forward to karmic blogpost in a few years about how you bumped into him….somewhere…in a dark alley…with some of your friends…


  16. 16 scribbler50 January 19, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Irishirritant: “…not mortal but significant” I hear ya’ but I don’t wish it… that Karma thing works both ways ya’ know. Can’t send out what I don’t want coming back.
    PS: Being a Steeler fan over here that match-up you named sounds just fine to me!

    d-a-p: As I mentioned to Irish above, I don’t want to wish any ill consequences but I’m sure his hula hoop will makes its way back around again.

    tideliar: Thanks for that, there is a way to tell yourself you done good. I’ll just have to remember to unclench my fists when I pat myself on the back. 🙂

  17. 17 sourkraut April 6, 2011 at 1:28 pm

    Love your stuff Scribler. Having been a bartender and a customer in many a bar, I have seen this kind of shit before. Sometimes being the good guy backfires, but still think being that good guy is the right way to be. Would love to have a drink at your place one day.

  18. 18 scribbler50 April 6, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    sourkraut: High road’s ALWAYS the best road, not that I always take it. Thanks, man.

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