“Bitch tried to take everythin’ I had. Kids, house, car. She even tried to take my dog! Man’s best friend! But I guess it makes sense…She’s a bitch right!” he started to laugh and slap his hand down on the bar surface. I saw the different colored drinks ripple and shake every time he smacked the bar.
“But it don’t matter” he says, pointin’ at the yellow drink. Somethin’ with lemon, I can’t remember. I slide it along to him and go to note it down. “The way I look at it, I traded her in. Got ma freedom back. I’m forty-eight and I’m a free single man! Single and ready to mingle. Do you think I look forty-eight?” he asked me. I remember thinkin’ no, he looked forty-nine. But I couldn’t say that. So I just said no.
“Yup, forty-eight.” He took a big greedy gulp and looked into the glass. “Twenty-four years I was with that cunt.” I never heard nobody refer to their wife with that word before. But I guess she wasn’t his wife no more. “But think about all the things I can do now! There any places where divorcees go in this town?” he asks me. I say I dunno. I ain’t been here long.
“Hmmmm,” he says. Well not says, but you know what I mean. He lets out this big burp and looks over at the empty glasses next to him. All the little bits of soggy fruit lyin’ at the bottom in a pool from the melted cubes. Couple of them glasses still had cubes in them.
“Lemme see that menu” he says, reachin’ out towards me. He don’t make eye contact. He just stares at the bar. His tie was draped across the bar top, gettin’ all wet from the booze he’d spilled. I looked down at the menu, hopin’ he wouldn’t ask for somethin’ weird I don’t know how to make.
“Menu” he says, snappin’ his fingers. I hate it when mother fuckers snap they fingers at me. Used to happen when I worked in Dennys. I spat underneath a guy’s eggs once. Couldn’t really spit in this guy’s drink though. But he was probably so drunk he wouldn’t notice. I didn’t want to do that with him. Didn’t seem right. I handed him the menu and smiled. Forced it a little to tell the truth.
“Let me see” he says, lickin’ his orange lips. That red’d gone a little orange since drinkin’ that yellow drink. “Gimme some Sex on the Beach! I could do with some of that!” he shouts, laughin’ to himself. I told him I’s never made one of those.
“You’ve got me nice and drunk so far boy. You just keep doin’ whatchu doin.” I shrugged and looked down at the menu. I started pourin’ the vodka into the little measure.
“How many of them you puttin’ in there?” he asks, closin’ one eye to focus on what I was doin’. One I tell him.
“Put in three” he says. I told him it would cost him more.
“I don’t give a shit! I’m spendin’ as much as I can spend before that cunt takes half of what I got!” he laughed again. There was that word again. I shrugged. I poured in some of the peach booze. Some cranberry and then some OJ. I’d never seen or tasted or smelt one of them Sex on the Beach’s before, but it seemed about right. For him anyway. Rex would’ve sure as shit told me it was too strong.
“Cheers!” he shouted to no one. Well, no one except me. But I wasn’t drinkin’. You couldn’t pay me enough to drink one of them things. Specially if I’d made it.
“You get yourself a cocktail boy. Stick it on my tab.” I told him I was all good. Said I had class in the mornin’. I didn’t really. Just didn’t feel like drinkin’. “Just make yourself a quick one. I won’t tell the manager.” He smiled and started to sway a little. He was puttin’ the glass to his lips slowly and wrappin’ those multi-colored things around the rim. He slurped at the cocktail and sat it back down.
“Mmmmm. Sex on the Beach! I ain’t had Sex on the Beach before” he says, lookin’ down at the glass, little smile on them lips. “I ain’t had sex in almost two years.” I see the air come outta him a bit after he said that. His shoulders slumped down and his nose got a little closer to the red stuff in the glass. I turned back towards the bottles. I wrote down ‘Sex on the Beach – $5’ on his big tab. He had seven big strong cocktails on there. I remember thinkin’ I probably wouldn’t sell him anymore if he asked. He’d had enough for one day.
I heard him sniff from behind me. I didn’t want to turn around. I couldn’t help look at him in the mirror. It felt like I was spyin’ or somethin’. And yup, he was cryin’ alright. I guess you would be too if you was as drunk as an injin at his mamma’s funeral and your wife’s just divorced you.
“I gotta go see my kids tomorrow” he muttered, sniffin’ some of they tears back down his boozed throat. Maybe they’ll help sober him up, I remember thinkin’. “Tomorrow is the only day I get to see them. One day a week. My fucking kids only get to see their daddy one day a week. That cold fucking bitch.” He wiped his face again. I looked at his sleeve. It had all different colors on it. It looked pretty damp. That was the only sad rainbow I ever seen.
“Maybe this’ll be your last one” I says sympathetically. Didn’t really want to tell him to not to do things. This probably wasn’t the day to tell him he couldn’t have somethin’ he wanted. But it didn’t sound like he wanted any more anyway. He looked up and smiled. His nose was a little more purple than when he’d come in. His eyes was red, matchin’ the rest of his face and half the drinks he’d dipped it in.
“I think you’re right. I’m gonna go pee. I’ll be back in a minute” he says. As he picked up his hat I noticed he was still wearin’ his wedding band. I wondered whether she was still wearin’ hers. I doubted it. He picked up his coat as well and took a little stumble.
“Thanks boy. You fix a fine cocktail.” I remember doubting that as well.
He staggered round the corner to where the bathroom was. I turned back to the register. Rex came out and asked me how I was doin’ with they cocktails. I told him, fine I guess. That old boy been seemed to be happy enough with them. Rex looked at the empty glasses on the bar and said the boy must be smashed. I said he was a bit of a mess. Rex told me to clean up and said I could go when I was done. One customer in the night ain’t what you could call a reason to stay open. When I tallied up the boy’s drinks I realized that he had pretty much paid my wages for the night. I reckoned he’d give me a fat tip as well for listenin’ to his ass ramble on and on. No, I don’t mean it like that really. It probably helped him to get it out of his mind and into the air. I didn’t mind really. It gave me somethin’ to do.
Five minutes passed and the old boy was nowhere to be seen. I remember thinkin’ the bar had got a little colder again. Sorta like when he came, but not as cold. I went out from behind the bar and into the bathroom, expectin’ to find him passed out on the john, with his pants at his ankles. But he wasn’t in there. I came back out and looked around the corner. The fire escape door was wide open. I walked towards the door and stepped outside. The light sensor kicked in and the parking lot lit up. The air was so cold There was snow falling down gently. Some of them big fat flakes. The snow was thick on the ground, bout two inches or so. I looked around. Lotta darkness after that light. But I couldn’t see the old boy. In front of me were all these footsteps leading to the start of some tire tracks. The tracks in the snow sorta curved and skidded outta the car park and onto the street. I remember thinkin’ that they poor kids probably wouldn’t be seein’ they daddy tomorrow.