Toby Cecchini

Early on while it’s still quiet a couple sweeps in whooping and laughing. I eye them peripherally as they loudly storm two seats at the far end of the bar. The guy isn’t actually being raucous, I realize, he’s just along for the ride, with bright-red dyed hair and the requisite tattoos and piercings.

It’s the chick who’s hell bent and wanting the whole bar to know about it. She’s a lot of girl, stuffed precariously into a pair of red leather pants and some godawful black lycra top, with large oval cutouts both above and below her breasts, which are clearly otherwise untethered. She’s also got a black cowboy hat on, always a discouraging sign on this side of the Mississippi. I know the type entirely too well; she’s a party gal, a man-eating tigress, five miles of bad road. Or so she desperately wants you to think.

Immediately they are asking my name and trying to buy me a shot, with an aggressive friendliness that sets off my alarms like a hot doorknob. I coolly tell them my name is Ezra and inform them I don’t drink while behind the bar, which is nearly true. Finding the fishing poor with me, they decide to chat up three amped-up French boys who have been trolling for girls for three-quarters of an hour. Shots are ordered all around, and almost instantaneously Miss Outrageous is shaking her ample groove thing in a painfully ostentatious bump-and-grind, poorly disguised as a private lap dance for her dolt of a boyfriend, whose head is bobbing up and down like one of those backseat Goofys in a car. The French kids are mesmerized as well. I occupy myself cutting limes at the other end of the bar until I hear roars and look up to find Miss O exaggeratedly miming a “Whoops-a-daisy!” as she tucks a naughtily AWOL udder back into place. “Ye gods!” I mutter, turning back to my limes.

When next I turn around, a few minutes later, the boyfriend is gone, perhaps to buy cigarettes, which I don’t sell at the bar in an effort to, well, piss off smokers, mainly. Miss O has moved to a table with the French boys and is getting into some kind of contest over who has more piercings or maybe just who’s a bigger moron. One of the Gauls is hiking up his shirt to show he has rings in both of his nipples, while another of them has his hand in Miss O’s chemise and is rooting around in there for lucre. I’m trying to decide if it’s time I step in here and enforce some decorum when I notice Boyfriend stopped dead in his tracks on the other side of the glass door leading to the entrance hallway, taking in the spectacle before us both with great wonder leaking from his face and a pack of smokes being strangled in his paw. It isn’t until he pushes through the door and has been standing agape in the bar proper for 30 more seconds that Miss O finally rouses herself from the languor of her gropings and leaps up with the fervor reserved for those pinched in flagrant délit. In a hop she’s all over Boyfriend, who stands stonily receiving her frantic cooings and caresses. He turns, opens the door, and shuffles out like a mummy, with her wrapped around him pleading. Her coat is still lying on the bar stool.

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