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Friday, August 08, 2008

I Want to be Your Bartender

I want to be your bartender. I want to flash that wry smile as you wearily enter my fine bar, sopping up your sudsy wordless salutation as I calmly, methodically clean pint glasses. I want to talk about the weekend, talk politics, before slowly, inexorably shifting to drinks, to your drink, your beer, because that’s why you come here after all, best damn beer selection this side (whatever side) of the Mississippi. Make no goddamn mistake. I’d curse freely, cheerfully, because I’m a bar tender, understand, and you’d sheepishly smile, all blushing manners giving way to a refreshing smile that drinks it all in: bar, bartender, beer. Because you’re here for a beer, god damn it, and I’m just the man to give it to you; me being a bartender is incidental. What’ll it be, my eyes ask knowingly across the deep nutty mahogany of my countertop, well-oiled and dark, something sprawling and handmade, like something out of an Irish novel. You glance eagerly at the taps, the vast forest of small handles, and I begin to talk, gruffly, dryly, about the selection; what’s new since you were in here last, what I think you’d like, making my way all sales pitch and showmanship until I arrive at the tap I’d knew I’d be pouring the second you walked in the door. I begin pouring before I say a word, before you can ask what it is or even think about protesting, and it slides golden and amber and just-cold-enough into the glass. I let it cook a while, a nice foamy head forming as I peel off a slim smile at your lip-licking mug (mug, damn it, because I tend bar). The head settles, I pull the tap once more and dump a final splash of ale into the glass, and you lick your lips and smell the hops, and that’s all part of the job. I put it down in front of you carefully, the small quiet ceremony you’ve come to know, a glowing monolith to beer that you silently look down upon, awe-struck and eager, muttering a quiet prayer or short nod of thanks as you gingerly wrap your fingers around the glass, lift, and lay lip to my beer. My beer, damn it. Because I’m your bartender.

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