I wouldn’t have seen this coming in a million years…
She was attractive enough all right, as some might say a real “head turner”, but more in the vein of what you might see on a “Real Housewives” show. Perfectly coiffed and expensively clad, awash in a sea of self-centeredness, she was a perfect candidate to head up one of those “me-fests”. Even the way she ordered her drink fit the profile…
“And what can I get you, miss?” I asked, after the three who were with her had already been served.
“Hmmm, I don’t know,” she purred, putting her index finger in her mouth while scanning the bottles behind me like a Tiffany’s display case. “But I want something g-o-o-o-o-d, I do know that. Something r-e-e-e-e-l-y good! So what can you suggest for me that’s good?” (My least favorite question!)
“Well what kinds of drinks do you like?” I asked. “That’s a hard question to answer. Do you like sweet drinks, a nice cognac, or how about something mixed like a Cosmopolitan? (She definitely looked like Cosmo material to me.) Give me a hint so maybe we can narrow this down.”
She smiled sourly at my question, her eyes taking on that Miss America glaze when the contestant is asked, “How would you change the world?” Two blank pellets. But the Miss America sweetness did not accompany.
“Well I’ll give you a minute to decide,” I said, “first let me go to the other end so I can…”
“Don’t go,” she interrupted. “I haven’t given you my order, tell me what you have!” (She didn’t stomp her foot but she might as well have.)
“What do I have?” I replied. “You’re lookin’ at it, miss… about a hundred and fifty bottles for your drinking pleasure. So please, just tell me the kinds of drinks you like and let’s try to figure this out.” She was obviously used to being pampered, I could tell when she walked in the door, and I for one was not about to stroke her fur. Patience, as many will tell you, is not of my strong suits. And especially with someone I know is playing the princess.
“What are those bottles behind you?” she asked, pointing to what I was blocking.
“Those are scotches,” I said, hopefully rounding third base. “So how about I pour you a Johnny Walker Black, that’s good.”
“Do you have Double Black?’
“No, sorry, we don’t.”
“Oh, too bad,” she said, “see that I would like.” (I’m sure you would, lady, “double” anything would suit your expensive tastes!)
Then I stood there, and she stood there, for at least a full three minutes, each of us shifting from foot to foot as if in some strange kind of dance, with her still leading that dance and doing it badly.
“Then how about something like this?” I offered, cutting into our dance, pointing to another line-up further down the bar. “How about I pour you a nice single malt scotch?”
“Do you have double malt?” she said, almost before I finished. (What the hell is with you and all this “double” stuff? And do they even make double malt? Double your pleasure, double your fun… please, dear lord, gimme’ a double barreled shotgun… to use on my-self!)
Now it should be pointed out here that the bar was busy as hell, I could see peripherally a few raised hands from people not ordering “double Cabernet’s” and “double Heineken’s”, so I decided to bring this song and dance to a halt. I went over and grabbed the most expensive we have, a bottle of Macallan 18, I poured it into a snifter and set it in front of her. I figured “expensive” is what she wanted more than what was “good”. And thank God I was right. For after asking for the obligatory glass of water, she sipped the scotch, smiled and said, “Mmmm, I like this.”
“Good,” I said, “’cause you’re drinking the best we got.” And that was that. Then a few minutes later (and only a few minutes later), after catching up with my regulars who’d been dying of thirst, I looked down the bar and Double-Your-Pleasure was gone. Just like that! Which means she’d spent more time ordering her drink than drinking it. Which was fine as hell with me because I had a life to lead.
Now cut to two hours later to another bar…
I stopped by this place for a wind-down drink, something I do every Friday, the bartender there is a friend and one of the best… he can talk about anything. And he’s also always in a sunny disposition which makes you feel like your welcome the moment you walk in. Even someone like the woman I had just encountered. And how do I know this? Because damned if she wasn’t sitting at the end of the bar. This time by herself. And if this is where she had been all this time since she left my place in a flash, the first thought that came to my mind when I saw her was instead of a tip should I offer my friend a cyanide pill? Or a tall glass of hemlock!
“You’ve got to be fucking kidding me,” I said, to my friend whom I’ll call Marty, “I had her in my place earlier tonight and I wanted to make a goddam citizen’s arrest. The woman drove me nuts.”
“I know,” he said, “I heard.” (Word travels fast in Barland!)
“And I only had her for fifteen minutes, you mean to tell me you’ve had her here all this time?”
Marty just smiled, nodded his head, ever the professional. “And what can I get you?” he asked, not breaking his grin.
“Ketel and soda,” I said, “and get yourself a Purple Heart while you’re at it.”
Then he poured my drink and walked back down to Miss Double-Your-Pleasure. They chatted for a few more minutes, Marty served up his advice and his patience, then walked back over to the register and wrote up her bill.
Now remember that grin I said Marty gave me at the beginning? That one when I asked if he’d had her here all this time? Well widen that grin times three and add a big chortle. Why? Because Double-Your-Pleasure had just quadrupled her bill. That’s right. Her tab totaled fifty three dollars, she rounded it off to two hundred, which means she left him a tip of one forty seven. Not bad, eh? But the way I figure it Marty earned every damn penny of it. And as far as her being generous, I never saw it coming.
“So, Marty,” I said to my friend before the woman left. “When you get a chance… would you mind introducing me to that lovely lady sitting at the end of the bar? She seems very nice.”
See you next week-end, dear reader, and remember… patience is not just a virtue it might be an investment!