The Exchange, Part I: The Idea!

Author’s note: Listen up, Internet: this idea is MINE.  I’m throwing an intellectual property claim on it right now.  If I find someone has started this bar and isn’t paying me any royalties, I will be furious.

There comes a time in every man’s life when he is confronted by a deep-seated and primal urge.  This desire usually sets in at some age between the late twenties and early forties; the timing is variable, but the strength of the desire is always overwhelmingly strong.

For me, that time came earlier than for most.  I was only just entering my twenty-sixth year of age when I pulled out my phone, dialed my best friend’s number, and spoke those fateful words:

“Dude, we should buy a bar.”

At first, the other end of the line was silent.  Then came: “Are you drunk right now?  Isn’t this a joke from that one show?”

I shook my head, forgetting that he couldn’t see me.  “No, I’m sober!  And serious!  Wouldn’t it be great to have a bar?”

“We don’t know anything about running a bar, though!  And we don’t have a liquor license.  Screw that, we don’t even have a building!”

“Yeah, but I’ve got the best concept for it!” I insisted.  “Listen to this.  We’re going to get one of those big LED stock tickers and run it all the way around the bar, up on the top, okay?”

“Okay . . .”

“The stock ticker will scroll around, showing the prices of drinks.  But we’ll change the prices of drinks up or down every half hour, and the ticker will adjust to show the new prices, and will show them in green or red, with arrows to show whether the price is going down or up.”

There was silence on the phone for a moment.  “Okay, I have to admit that it’s a pretty cool idea,” my friend said.  “But it’s just a gimmick, and it will make things confusing for the staff.”

“Not at all!” I protested.  “First off, we’ll pick the changes for the drink prices ahead of time, and we’ll program them all into the computer at the bar so that it automatically adjusts and always charges the correct price.  And we’ll have the whole thing be themed like the stock market!  Half the TVs will be showing finance channels, we’ll cater to the upscale MBA crowd, and maybe have a competition where people guess at which stocks will show the highest gains the next day, and if they’re right, they get a free drink!”

“You’ve put some thought into this, haven’t you?” my friend asked wryly.

I grinned.  I knew that I had him hooked.  Now to reel him in.  “You haven’t heard the name of the bar yet.”

“Ugh, I’m going to hate myself for asking.  What’s the name of the bar?”

I waited a moment, savoring the words in my mouth.  “The Exchange.”

My friend didn’t say a word.  I knew better than to keep talking, and simply smiled and held my tongue.  “Damn, that’s cool,” he said finally.  “All right, I’m in.  What next?”

Part II coming soon; stay tuned!

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