THE MAN AT THE BAR

Man in suit sit at bar counter

 

 

He sits at the bar counter in silence. Head lowered, eyes staring straight at the cold hard bad floor, right hand holding a bottle of beer and the left holding onto an empty glass. He’s dressed in a suave fitting black suit, a tie with cute polka dots, and those multi-colored socks Larry Madowo wears. He looks deep in thought – or loss – like the burdens on his shoulder have finally outweighed him and he wants nothing to do with the world anymore. Like he has given up and surrendered his whole-being to his inner demons and they’re having a field day with it.He takes out an iPhone from his breast pocket, fiddles with it for a couple of seconds and shoves it back with a disappointed look on his face. Perhaps he was to meet up with someone and just realized he got stood up. Maybe he just got a work mail reminding him of that report the Boss needs on his/her desk by 8 a.m. the following day. Maybe, the wife had finally had enough of his broodiness and texted, “I can’t take it anymore. I’ll be at my sister’s place if you need me. I took the kids too.” Or, maybe, the mpango wa kando had gone through Huddah’s Instagram account and was now demanding her own line of lipstick as well. I don’t know, I’m just spit-balling here.

 

 

He lifts the bottle to his face, stares at it for a while, mumbles a quiet “Fuck It” (I assume) and in just one long swig, downs the whole goddamn beer. He then lets out a loud careless belch, summons the waiter and says, “Another one.” (Like he’s DJ Khaled or some shit) And as the waiter walks away to fetch his order, he summons him back and says, “You know what, bring me two more.”

 

 

It was a frosty Monday night, I was at The Alchemist Bar in Westlands (great place, their food is shitty, but great place). I was at the bar because, despite already being jobless and broke and single, I had just lost a gig that would have well set me up for at least five months’ rent and I needed something, something stiff, to get my mind off it. I was meeting a friend here but he left after the second double because he had to go in early for work the following morning. I joked that the missus had put a curfew on his ass and he said he was just tired. So he ordered me another double, called an Uber, and disappeared into the fickle night. Now I was alone; Angry, depressed, slightly drunk, and starting to wonder when Adelle was releasing her next album.

 

 

Usually, when I’m troubled, I always just get shit-faced drunk and then go sleep it off. But not that Monday. That felt different, I felt different. For the first time, I actually wanted to talk to someone about my shit. And, maybe, that was in some way connected to the two doubles working their way up my system but, I needed to talk to someone who was nearly as messed up as I was that night.  Or much more. And I wasn’t going to call the boys because they would think I’m just a sissy who needs to suckle his mother’s tits and calm down. My Counselor was out of the question because she once told me I wasn’t as tough as I pretended to be and that deep down my heart was just as soft as everyone else’s and I’d hate to make her feel like she was right. But, Mister-Polka-Dots over there at the counter seemed like just the right fit. So I grabbed my glass, walked over to the counter, sat a chair away from him, sighed and said, “One of those days, huh?”

 

 

He took a quick look around as if to ascertain he was the one being addressed and when he saw no one else within earshot, he hissed and said, “Yeah. Tell me about it.” I moved from my seat to the one next to him and chimed, “You look like you could use something stronger than a beer, brother. Name’s Ian.”

 

 

“Sam. The beer is just because I still have to drive home.The last time I drank whiskey and drove, I ran over my wife’s dog. You a fan?”

 

“Of what, whiskey? We’re practically in a relationship.” He lets out a quiet struggled laugh, sips his beer then shouts to the waiter, “Double of whatever my new friend here is having on my tab, please.” The waiter turns to me and I say, “Singleton, neat.” And that, ladies and gentlemen, is called breaking the ice.

 

 

“So, was she mad?” I ask. “Your wife, I mean, when you ran over her dog.”

 

“Mad is an understatement. She went bonkers. You know, sometimes I think she loved that thing more than she does me. Can you believe she bought the damned thing a casket, buried it at our backyard and had me read the bloody sermon?”

 

“Damn, that’s cold.”

 

“Yeah. She got over it eventually, though. At least that’s what she said. Methinks every time I do something wrong her mind still races back to that day, and then she gives me one of those looks…you know.”

 

“Women, huh? Can’t live with them, can’t live without them.”

 

“Don’t I know it. So, what about you, son. Why are you here on a Monday? Girlfriend troubles?”

 

“Little bit of that, but mainly work problems. I lost a major deal today, can’t think straight.”

 

“Don’t sweat it, you’ll get another one. Believe that.”

 

“Amen.”

 

“What exactly is it you do?”

 

“Oh, I write. Anything. Everything.”

 

“Hmm. Good for you mate. Me I’m in Real Estate. And, between you and me, I hate every second of it.”[Sips beer.]

 

“Why? Real Estate seems fun.”

 

“Yeah…from the outside.”

 

“Well, what do you want to do then?”

 

“I have absolutely no idea, that’s why I’m drinking. All I know is I hate that shit, but I can’t really quit because I have baby shoes to buy, salon and reckless shopping expenses as well as rent to pay. Whatever settles the bills, son; A man’s gotta do what a man’s gotta do.”

 

“You plan on talking to your wife about this?”

 

“Been there, done that. Says if I quit I’ll find divorce papers on the table when I get home. The nerve. And the sex is not even eti that good anymore.”

 

“Hahahah. What do you mean?”

 

“She gives pathetic head and won’t let me bang her doggy style bana. Says she wants to make love, not just fuck. The hell does that shit even mean?”

 

[Still laughing.] “So it’s just missionary, huh? Yeah, that doesn’t sound any good.”

 

“It’s shitty, I tell you. I mean, I don’t want to look at the pimples on your face when I’m climaxing bana. Psht. Anyway, enough about me, what about your girlfriend troubles?”

 

“Oh, yeah, that. Well, it’s not really girlfriend troubles per se, but…I think I screwed it up with this girl, man. She was there for me, I wasn’t there for her, one thing led to another and now we’re complete strangers. And you know what pisses me off in all this? Chic could make kick ass Chapos, man.”

 

[Laughs.] “Ouch! You don’t leave a chic that can make kick ass Chapos, my friend. Those are rare these days. Lord knows my wife has a stick far up her ass but the one thing I can always look up to are her Sunday evening Chapos. Makes everything better. You gotta get that chic back, son.”

 

“Yeah, I’m not so sure I wanna do that.”

 

“Why not? You’re here drinking over her, aren’t you?”

 

“It’s complicated.”

 

“Two words said by every loser I know.”

 

 

Sam checks his watch and says, “It’s running towards midnight now, gotta get home.” He then beckons to the waiter, settles his bill, pats me on the shoulder and says, “You’re still way too young to be having lady troubles, son, so I have no advice for you on that end. But as far as work goes, if you love what you do then keep holding on tight; something will always come along eventually. And when it’s time for marriage, don’t marry a woman with a stick up her ass; otherwise you’ll be served your food cold when you get home past midnight. Warm night, son.”

 

 

As he walked out, I remember thinking to myself, “Lord, if the woman I marry ever chooses to bring a dog home, in as much as I will want to, please prevent me from running over it.”

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