A continuation of yesterday's story, which was a continuation of Monday's and Tuesday's. Catch up, won't you? I'll wait right here. Ooooh, maybe I should pick up some Danish...
The bar could be anywhere.
The bar could be anywhere.
Mary digs an elbow into my ribs. “Whaddaya think? Think we’re the prettiest gals here?”
We laugh. “By way of having all our teeth,” I say.
“And,” I say, quietly, “by being among a handful that don’t appear to have a meth problem.”
She nods. “All situations should be judged thusly,” she says. I give her a look.
“What?” she says. “You aren’t the only one who gets to say stuff like that!”
And we laugh again. Because we are funny.
It’s early evening. The bar is three quarters full, Wheel of Fortune is on the TV in the corner, and a song about somebody sic’ing something on a chicken is on the juke box.
But like stepping into the shower with your socks on, something seems wrong. What is it? What's that -- Hey! What’s that smell?
Ah. Cigarette smoke.
“Smoking in a bar,” Mary says. Suitably, she sounds almost breathless.
“That’s crazy.” I say. “Remember when that was allowed?”
“Pew,” she says, wrinkling her nose. “We’re gonna stink.”
“You’re gonna stink,” I say.
“No, you,” she counters.
And we laugh some more.
I turn around. A man best visualized as an aging Peter Frampton is standing there.
This is not lost on Mary, who starts to hum “Do You Feel Like We Do” under her breath.
He is thin, and, somehow grubby, although it’s hard to pinpoint why. Perhaps because he has spent far too much time in the sun. Perhaps he just needs a good moisturizer.
“Do you play pool?” he says.
I shake my head. “Haven’t played in years,” I say. “Anyway, I’m here with my friend.”
“Yeah,” he says, “but you could still play pool.”
“I could,” I say, “but I’m not.”
Mary starts to laugh, and Mr. Frampton finds this reassuring.
“But you could,” he says. “Please? Please play pool with me?”
And just like that – just like that! – I resolve that I will not play pool with him. “No,” I say. “Thank you anyway, but we’re on vacation and –“
He breaks in. “Somewhere north, am I right?”
Mary, a woman most accurately described as having a current skin tone closely resembling her original, fresh-out-of-the-box color – that is to say, alabaster – laughs. “We got ourselves a live one!” she hollers. The guys at the bar turn around, give us the once-over, and return to the Wheel of Fortune.
“Come on. Please,” he says. “Just play pool with me.”
“Why?” I say. “Ask someone else.”
“You’re the prettiest gal in here.”
I turn to Mary, our eyes lock, and our jaws drop in mock indignation. “I’ll have you know, sir,” Mary says, puffing her chest, “that I’ve won a number –“
“—a number!” I shout.
“—of competitions based solely on my looks!”
“And your ability to hold your liquor,” I add.
“And your liquor,” she concedes.
But Peter Frampton is not dissuaded. “Please,” he says. “It’ll be an easy game. No showboating, no pressure. A friendly game. I just want to play pool with you.”
I look at Mary, who shrugs. “Go ahead,” she says. “I’ll just sit at the bar and talk to—“ she leans over, taps the shoulder of a Korean War vet, from the looks of his jacket, “—what’s your name?”
“Ken,” he says.
“I’m gonna talk to Ken here,” she says. She sits down on the stool next to Ken. “Go on. Have fun, kids.”
Is there more? Honey, we’re almost up to 600 words already, and you know there’s more!