My shift ends in fifteen minutes and I have one thing and one thing only on my mind. There’s a can of coconut milk and a container of pineapple juice in my fridge and a bag of ice in my freezer. There’s a bottle of rum on the top shelf of my cabinet and the blender is already sitting out on my counter ready to go. It’s 84 degrees outside and the sun won’t set for three more hours and I’ve got a chair out on my patio perfectly positioned to catch the last few rays of sunlight. Pina coladas. A little tropical vacation to wash away the day. I may even put on my bikini and work on my uneven tan lines. So if you think that I am even remotely concerned about the fact that your Bourbon on the rocks tastes a little watered down you have another thing coming. How about you order your Bourbon straight next time and it won’t taste so weak? Because it’s hot as hell outside and if you have any recollections of your early education science courses you’ll know that ice melts. And maybe if you hadn’t been nursing your drink for the last half hour I’d have more sympathy for you. But I’ve been watching you stir the little plastic straw back and forth in mesmerizing circles for the past thirty minutes. I didn’t add water to your Bourbon. You ordered it with no water which means that no water went into that drink. I’m not some wicked bartender who gets off on watering down well liquor although that would be quite the screenplay. So much justice served in every glass.
No. I’m just trying to wrap up my sidework so that I can get home and away from you and your ridiculous requests as quickly as possible. I’m already planning an apology in my mind for the girl who comes in at four. It will take her a few days to forgive me for dumping you on her but she’ll come around eventually. We always do. You win some and you lose some and right now I’m coming dangerously close to losing my mind and I’d much rather be losing my sobriety.
Perhaps this conversation could have gone differently. But you came into the room, slammed your purse down on the bar, and told, not asked, me to pour you a Bourbon. On the rocks. Easy ice, you said. Very easy. You don’t like a lot of ice, you said. And with every word you spoke the diameter of my smile decreased by small degrees that you don’t notice but I do. I feel the tension of that smile leaving my face every time you dramatically emphasize the word easy. Eeeaaaaasyyyy. You lean across the table and your unkempt hair is dragging itself all over my clean bartop but that’s okay because your generous cleavage is right behind it wiping up the mess. Easy means not a lot, you say. And I am so very grateful for the English lesson you have imparted on me today. There are tiny pineapples dancing in the lining of my vision. Little palm trees casting shadows over my eyes. I can smell the coconut being carried on the warm breeze.
Oh, no, that’s one too many ice cubes. I am seconds away from dipping my fingers into your glass and scooping out the ice by hand but I’ll be civil and use a spoon but only because I don’t want to waste a paper towel drying my hands at your expense trees are a precious resource. Precious. That means valuable. Like my time. There’s a little English lesson for you.
I’m going to have to do a lot of apologizing later. I don’t think the two dollar tip you’re going to leave is going to cover it. Hallmark should make cards for this.
“I’m sorry for transferring this terrible customer to you but I just had to get out of this bar before my head exploded.”
You could even make a rhyme out of it.
“I’m sorry for this travesty,
It can’t be helped, I’m sure you see.
My condolences for what’s to come,
But my body’s craving coconut rum.”
I really am going to explode. Like a volcano. Let’s play a word association game. Volcanoes. Hawaii. Beaches. Tropical. Paradise. Pina colada. Speaking of which, it’s 4:02, which means I am running late for my appointment with the therapist. A beautiful, curvy therapist in a white dress her name is Malibu and she is quite exotic. And you know those exotic types, they hate to be left waiting. So get behind me, Nurse Ratched, and let me get on with my day. You don’t have the cure for what ails me. You are what ails me. And I’m just about ready to fly over this cuckoo’s nest.