Check Please

La-Trice Thompson

© Copyright 2004 by La-Trice Thompson

Photo of a bartender's low cut dress.

The air was thick with smoke, creating a cloud of intimacy for the patrons of this hole-in-the wall.  Some famous but nameless tune played dimly in the background.  Couples with their heads closely together – was it the smoke or for hiding guilty liaisons? – were almost one in their two-headedness.  A pole dancer languidly followed round and round a silver shaft, caressing it like a favored lover.  A gentleman gazed silently at the dancer, his eyes burrowing hot coals into the secret places she made sure he got a gander at.  Crumpled bills lay around the edge of the stage, under the eagle eye of a nearby bouncer.

A buxom bartender polished martini glasses, her eyes watching the silent screen above.  The Braves were down 2 – 1, bottom of the eighth inning.  A barfly hungrily eyed the newcomer, certain she’d never seen his face before.  He would not know her history, although the slack lips, full ashtray and empty shot glasses nearby told it all.  He kept his eyes averted, showing her only his profile.

Sliding into an empty seat at the bar, the statuesque bartender appeared immediately.

“Hey, what can I get ya this evening?” she drawled.  Her large breasts deserved another glance.  He cleared his throat.

“Uh, hey, let me get a double shot of Remy, on the rocks and uh, a Sam’s chaser.”

“You got it.”  She sashayed away, displaying a curvaceous rear portion to go with the rest of her.

The man now had the barfly’s full attention.  She was practically salivating at the mention of a drink.

“Hey, handsome, hiya doing?” she asked in her sexiest, cough-rattled voice. He stared at her, saying nothing.

“Well don’t just sit there and stare, good-looking, slide on down and get to know a girl better, buy her a drink or something.”  She laughed, trying for flippancy, but the desperation was a double-edged sword to her voice.

“Thanks, but I’m waiting on someone.”  She obviously hadn’t gotten the hint.

“Well, no need to sit alone while you wait.  The more the merrier!” said the barfly, ignoring his “GET AWAY” body signals, fairly frantic in search of her next free drink.

“Think you’ve had enough for the night, sweetie”, the bartender intercepted quietly, leaning across the silver bar rail on her side.

He had a full view of those sweet mounds.  She had a rose tattoo with a long, winding vine that disappeared from view.  He glanced up to see her watching him, knowingly, accomplishing her mission of capturing his attention.

He returned the look with a weak smile as if to say, “guilty as charged.”  She laughed silently before returning her attention to the resident barfly, who was completely unaware of the chemistry passing between the two people around her, so rapt was her attention to the dark amber liquid before her.

He sighed and said to the temptress behind the bar, “Whatever she had in that shot glass, take this,” he threw some bills on the counter, “and make it her last.”  With one swallow he downed the shot, bringing the frosty-cold beer to his lips shortly after.  It made a cool trail behind the line of fire burning in his belly.

He decided to choose a more secluded spot, anywhere away from the bar, where he could watch the entrance to the joint.  The only other couple in the area he chose glanced at him, gauging if he was staying, displeased with a spectator to their obliquitous liaison.  He pretended not to notice.

He let his glance drag slowly from one corner of the room to the other, taking the time to let his eyes adjust to each blackened corner.

Uncomfortable with a spectator to their clandestine intimacy, the couple moved away.  He smirked, amused.  He remembered those days well.

The music on the jukebox had changed to something a little bit more upbeat.  The barfly was up on her feet, swaying in a drunken imitation of dancing.

 It never failed to sicken him to see a man, much worse a woman, get that pissy drunk.  What was the point of trying to forget your problems if drinking created even more?  He watched the woman from the safety of the darkened cove, knowing she could not see through the dark or the liquor fog in her brain.  He settled in, satisfied with the spot he had chosen.

The waitress must have had the eyes of a cat, or smelled his heat.  He liked the latter thought better.  She smiled at him sexily and he appreciated the attention.  He shifted his legs to accommodate the shift of his manhood.

“Need a freshening on that drink, suga?” she asked again, with the sexy drawl.  Her hands were placed round about her hips, her back ramrod straight putting her twin beauties on display.  His tongue slithered out, moistening his lips.

”What do you recommend?” he asked slowly.  He was baiting her, testing her willingness to play the game.

”Depends on what you’re in the mood for”, she replied, angling her torso lower to be heard and to be seen.

He enjoyed the show now, knowing the attention he was giving was a turn-on for her, something she had to have because she’d always had it.  He eyed her breasts, lingeringly, appreciating that they were real, making this an even bigger thrill for him.

She licked her lips in anticipation of his response to her words and her body.

“He’ll have a Remy on the rocks, make it a double.  Oh, and I think your left tit just fell out.  You might want to fix it.”

He smiled, not even surprised.  The momentary chemistry was gone.  These flirtatious games he played were as long and meaningful as a game of Blackjack.  He enjoyed letting the chips fall where they may.  This time, however, the hands they had both played were bust, cut short by Lexi’s arrival.

The bartender took her time adjusting herself away from the table, settling her rose – tattooed breasts back at attention.  He admired her gall.  His entertainment became the exchange between the two women that was sure to follow, if he knew Lexi.

“And now what can I get for you, darling?” drawled the Queen of the Rack.  She said it as an afterthought, customer service out the window.

“Your fake tits and bottle job outta here!” Lexi demanded savagely.  Her fingers were straight blades at her side, itching to become fists.

He decided that the show was over, and said smoothly, “That’ll be a cosmopolitan for the lady”, he emphasized pointedly, looking at Lexi.  She sat down in a flop, petulant and glaring.  She knew she would not have the final say and was not happy about it.  He ignored her for the time being, waiting out her sulking.  He absently tapped his fingers against the ashtray, rearranging it squarely in the center of the table.

The bartender reappeared, minus the drink.  He looked at her questioningly.

“I need to see some I.D.”, she informed Lexi.  “We don’t serve minors here.”

This last shot was the catalyst that sprung Lexi into action. In an instant she and the bartender were face to face, claws bared.

“How bout I stamp it on ya freaking - ’” she yelled, her words cut short by the arm he wrapped around her waist.

“Easy baby”, he murmured.  His mouth brushed Lexi’s ear, his eyes on the server.

A security guard had caught sight of the action and was barreling their way.

“Is there a problem?” he demanded gruffly, puffing irregularly.  His burliness obviously had nothing to do with a workout.

“No problem, man, none at all”, he replied smoothly.  He never flinched in his eye or body contact with either woman.

“I asked to see her I.D. Ty, and she got all flustered.  I ain’t getting busted for serving some little underage, cheap-“

“Bitch!” Lexi screamed, launching herself towards the woman.  They fell to the floor, rolling, shouting, each woman trying to gain the upper hand.  He mused how differently this would play out in a tub of mud.  He sighed for the second time that night.  Women:  who could understand them?

He reached down and extricated Lexi from the fracas.  He held up his other hand in a gesture of surrender towards the security guard.

“Obviously my lady friend’s had too much to drink elsewhere.  Let me pay for this and we’ll be on our way.”  He dropped a bill large enough for the purchase and a generous tip.

He was sure to pass on the opposite side of the security guard with Lexi securely in his grasp.  Even the barfly had stopped to watch the show.  She lifted her glass tipsily as he passed, cackling with laughter that ended in a mucus rumble.  The two-headed couples in the dimly lit dive grew apart, then closed in again, as he and Lexi made their exit.

  La-Trice Thompson is a special educator from Inglewood, CA.  She now resides in Stone Mountain, GA, with her 7-year old son, Brandon, and a pet rabbit named Mario.  La-Trice writes in many styles, including poetry, song lyrics and both short story fiction and creative non-fiction.  She hopes to publish an anthology displaying her various works.

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