The first part of this story: The Aftermath
I couldn’t believe how well my luck was going.
When I had first suggested the idea of opening up a bar, I hadn’t bothered putting in much thought about the process. Both liquor and pretty girls were intimately involved in my life, and a bar seemed like the perfect place to bring those two items together. And trust me, I’ve been to a lot of bars. I’ve met the employees, and they don’t seem to have any more clue than I do. How hard could it be?
Of course, I had a couple buddies who were all too willing to help out. Manny, a regular at most of my favorite hangouts, is built like an ogre, and was more than happy to hang around the bar and lean on anyone who gave us trouble. He also knew a guy who was just itching to make use of his bartending certification. That was especially nice, because I wouldn’t drink anything Corkscrew hands me.
Speaking of the crazy roommate, Corkscrew managed to be useful for one time in his off-kilter life! I don’t know how he knew about that empty building, furnished and everything, just waiting for us to make use of it. He probably overheard about it from another person in the psych ward. Regardless, it all was coming together! Even more than usual, I couldn’t wait for the weekend.
Once we divvied up positions, I knew that I had to be the front man. And despite what you think, it wasn’t just about the girls. The first employee that the patrons meet needs to charm them, needs to keep the party atmosphere rolling (and the juices flowing). Jack would bore our customers to sleep, and Corkscrew would burn the bar down before midnight. The girls were really just a side perk.
As the bar opened, I was excelling at my role. Bobbing from group to group, learning all the names I could, and being charming and welcoming to everyone. Of course, the easiest way to be charming is to arrive with free drinks. When we had gone shopping earlier that day, we had picked up a lot of vodka, so I made sure to greet new groups with martinis in hand. As an added bonus, the martinis went over very well with the groups of girls coming in!
I walk up to each group of girls, drinks in hand, and announce that they’re fortunate enough to have arrived on martini night! Seriously, I’m a marketing genius.
About halfway through the night, as I’m walking towards the back of the bar to check on the other groups of patrons, and I run into Corkscrew. Literally. Fortunately, the vodka bottle he’s holding doesn’t break or spill on my nice clothes.
“Hey, you might not want to go in the back room,” Corkscrew told me. “Jack’s feeling a little hot under the collar.” He giggled. “And above the collar, too.”
What? I have no idea what he’s talking about. My face must have showed this confusion.
“There’s a thief in the bar,” Corkscrew elaborates. “We don’t know who, but I’ve got a plan to handle it!” He went running off towards the bar.
A thief wasn’t really for me to deal with, but the night was going amazingly and I didn’t want any big disruptions. I made my way back to the front of the bar, and tapped Manny on the shoulder. “Yo, Manny, I’ve heard that there’s a thief in here somewhere,” I said discreetly into his ear. “Keep an eye out for anything suspicious, okay?” He nodded back at me.
I turned away, but then a sudden thought popped into my mind. “Hey, take this,” I told Manny, pulling a small tube from my pocket and passing it over to him. I didn’t know why Corkscrew was carrying a can of pepper spray in his jacket, but I was glad I had liberated it from his pocket.
Now, back to the fun part! Indeed, a group of ridiculously hot girls was just entering, looking around expectantly. I hurried over to the bar, catching the eye of Manny’s bartender friend. I held up 3 fingers, and he nodded, grabbing for martini glasses. Drinks in hand, I spread a wide smile across my face and approached the girls.
“Hello, ladies!” I said jovially. “Welcome to martini night! Your first drink is on the house!” I passed over the glasses.
Two of the girls returned my winning smile, but the third immediately took a drink and started coughing and choking. The other girls’ smiles disappeared as they turned to their companion.
“Oh my god!” one of the girls exclaimed. “Are these roofies? Are you trying to roofie us?”
“Of course not! I’m not sure what happened to your friend, but we just want to make sure you have a wonderful time at our bar tonight!” I said. Or at least, that’s what I was intending to say. I was interrupted at the third word by the choking girl hurling her drink into my face.
This time, I was the one choking out, “Oh my god!” I don’t know what was in that drink, but my entire face was on fire. I could barely see and I felt like someone had just seared me with a flamethrower. Abandoning the girls, I stumbled to the back room, where I vaguely remembered seeing a sink.
I made it to the back room, only knocking a couple people out of the way, and forced as much of my face under the faucet as possible. After a minute or two, the pain had subsided slightly, and I stepped out into the back room. As I moaned, I saw something move out of the corner of my tear-stained eyes. Someone was laying on the couch.
Through a veil of tears, I could make out Jack, also clutching his eyes. “What happened to you?” I asked.
“Corkscrew,” he replied simply. “And you?”
“Not sure,” I said, but I had a sneaking suspicion that Corkscrew was also to blame. Somehow.
Dropping into a chair, I sat with my roommate in shared companionable pain. As we waited for the burning to decrease, however, we could hear the sound level from the front room rising. And the voices didn’t sound happy…
What’s going on? Maybe Corkscrew’s perspective will illuminate the situation…