Ol’ Blue Eyes Knows Best
“It’s like a sword slicing through you,” Patron said, and stared into his drink.
“Hmm,” Bartender wiped the counter.
It was just another day, another dollar for him. He poured people’s drinks, and they poured their souls onto the counter. Day and day out, Bartender wiped the troubles and sorrows that trickled onto the wooden countertop as the ice in the drinks melted.
Bartender’s job was to serve and wipe the troubles away.
“You ever felt like that?” Patron asked.
“Sure,” Bartender murmured.
Listening was not in his job description. Yet he had learned long ago that if someone shuffled in alone at midday, slouched at the bar and ordered whiskey straight, he had better listen.
“Money?” Bartender asked.
“Is it money troubles?” Bartender repeated the question.
“Nah, I wish,” Patron replied, “money troubles are easy to fix.”
Bartender lifted an eyebrow; most people thought money problems were the end of the world.
“Love?” he continued.
“What is love?” Patron mused.
Bartender suppressed a grin; he had hit the nail on the head.
“So love feels like someone thrust a sword through you?” Bartender leaned forward with an intrigued sparkle in his eyes and placed his elbows on the shiny countertop.
Patron glanced up from his drink and met Bartender’s gaze.
“Yeah,” he said, “you’re on top of the world, until a chiseled Ken doll flies out of the mist and rams a broadsword through you.”
Bartender nodded. He sympathized. He too was versed in love and war, and knew the superpower ‘chiseled Ken dolls’ had.
“And there you are,” Patron continued, “numb and whimpering like a dog. All your defenses, your armor scattered about, useless. Every experience, every triumph, and every defeat laid bare for all to see. Your life gutted, like your innards.”
Frank Sinatra boomed on the stereo. Bartender pointed to the speaker perched above the corner of the bar, then pointed to his ear.
“Listen to him, Ol’ Blue Eyes knows what he’s talking about.”
He nodded as the song ended.
“He’s right, that’s life.” Patron managed a sad grin.
“The trick, buddy, is to get up again and…” he raised his arms and belted out off-key, “jump back in the race!”
Patron chuckled, reached into his pocket and pulled out his wallet. He paid his tab and left a hefty tip.
“Thanks, buddy,” Bartender beamed for the first time all day, “you gonna be all right?”
“Sure,” Patron replied as a smile crawled across his lips, “just gotta repair my armor, piece by piece.”