Deus, who’s actual name is Tom, pats me on the back as he tells me congratulations. As I walked in the door, he just decided to promote me to bar-manager/bartender. He’ll pay me a couple more dollars an hour and he feels comfortable enough to leave me alone to handle the Dive, the name of the bar, on my own. What is it with everyone abandoning me today? At least here I’ll be surrounded by drunks.
Deus, if you couldn’t notice by the name, is cock-headed. He thinks highly of himself and as the most dedicated atheist I know, he lives not only to discredit religion but to mock God as if he’s almost real. What Deus thrives on more is pissing people off. If a court would allow him, he’d change his name to God or Deus, but no judge is that immoral. Out of respect for peoples’ religion, I call him Tom, and he’s okay with it. Aside from his son, I’m the only who can call him by his birth name.
Well into his sixties, he sports a long white beard, and shoulder-length predominantly white hair. And usually always wears all-white. White slacks, a white short-sleeve button shirt, and white flip flops. I think he takes the mockery of God too far, but I think what once was a gimmick to him became his notoriety. I once went to a hardware store with him, because he had to make a few repairs at the Dive, and workers and customers at that place knew who he was. People will do anything not to be forgotten.
“The place is all yours Demi-Deus Dos,” Tom chuckles handing me a set of keys, “Tonight should be slow and clean up should be quick. Lock up will be a breeze.”
I watch him leave the Dive a little stunned. I haven’t worked here a full three months and I’ve been promoted. I didn’t think I’d actually get the bartender job. I applied for the heck of it. I wasn’t even sure I was legally old enough. Some people say you have to be 21 in AZ, others say 19 is okay. If Tom was a normal human being and not the freak he was I would rest easy that bartending age is 19, but Tom doesn’t exactly follow the law on a daily basis. The only statute he follows to a T is the status of the Dive’s liquor license.
“Can I commit commandment 6?” April, a loyal drunk, asks from her usual seat at the bar behind me.
Yes, Tom is that sick. He’s dedicated a drink to each ten commandment. Thou shalt not kill is an easy one to figure out: Bloody Mary.
April, who’s old enough to have given birth to me, flirts with me as I make her precious drink. Telling me about how she goes wild for Irishmen and the thing or two she could show me if I give her the chance. I guess it’s really not flirting… She’s blatantly open and honest about things she wants to do to and do with me.
The woman’s a heavy smoker and reeks of cigarettes, her dark, black hair is frazzled and thin, and she’s covered in faded tattoos. I’m not really into girls with tattoos. They’re gross. I’m definitely not in to women who smoke, double gross! I loved my mother, I still do, but I never had the desire to screw her, therefore I will never screw that woman. But I do let her think she may get somewhere someday… Did I mention she’s a mighty generous tipper?
As I tune April out, talking about her days as a stripper, I look around the bar and there are only two other people around. Both regulars: Harold and Shannon. Harold’s a navy vet from Vietnam, so he didn’t see much action, but he sure acts like it. Shannon is a dude, and if I had a girl’s name I’d drink a lot too. He wears black attire; he never takes off his shades, and drinks nothing but Jack Daniels. I think he’s trying to be the incarnate of Johnny Cash. Instead of singing a song about A Boy Named Sue, it can be a song about The Man Named Shannon.
Only a few more customers stroll in out before close. The loyal drunks, by no surprise, are too wasted to drive home. I had to confiscate their keys and call all three a cab. Cab drivers will drive drunks home for free and then the next day, drive them back to their car for free too. I always feel bad the cab drivers have to do all that work without pay, so I just give them fifty bucks from the tip jar. Tonight, since business was slow. I’m only giving out twenty to each driver.
Clean up was easy. Quick restock of the bar. Quick wipe down of a few tables. And lastly a quick mop. Lights out, lock all the doors, and I was home a little before two in the morning.
My alarm goes off at six, as it always does Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning, but I don’t get out of bed until 6:45 am. I don’t bother to shower. I might even skip food, but when I step into the hallway I smell the makings of cooking pancakes and frying sausage, which means Peg is here. Entering the kitchen, the strong aroma of French Vanilla Roast coffee engulfs my nose. A mug filled with fresh brew is offered to me by Peg, who I might add looks beautiful this morning. Her sun-kissed blonde hair braided into a fishtail. Her face made up with light blue eye shadow and a glossy, glittery rose pink lip balm gives her thin lips some volume. Wearing her own pair of tattered, faded blue skinny jeans, she wears one of my brother’s green Henley’s, the sleeves are scrunched up above her elbows, and the bottom hem of the shirt nearly meets her knees like a super short dress.
I can’t refuse fresh brew, especially when tiredness threatens to take me back to bed.
“Sit down. Let me fix you a plate.” She says.
Why resist her hospitality? I take a seat at the bar counter, on a comfy, cushy stool instead of the table. Leaning forward, propping myself up on one elbow, I slowly sip the dark, yet smooth roast. Again, I’m King Odd… I love the bitter, tart taste of coffee.
Seconds later, a plate piled high with five, fluffy pancakes and four big patties of sausage I try not to have a heart attack prior to my first bite. Peg sets the bottle of cold syrup in front of my plate. She remembers that I’m the only person on the planet that doesn’t like hot syrup.
As I wolf down breakfast, determined to leave at a decent time so I’m exceptionally late to class, I just have to know, so with a mouthful of food I ask, “Why are you back together with my brother?”
Peg chuckles obnoxiously as she starts cleaning the dishes she made. For a moment, she ponders over the question staring at the running water from the faucet. Finally she admits, “I don’t know.”
I nearly choke trying not to laugh. After I endure a coughing fit to preserve my life, I chug some lukewarm coffee to wash down the remnants of food. As I finish up my food, I listen to Peg rationalize her decision to get back together with Alastair.
“When we met for coffee last Saturday, he told me how lonely he’s been. That he hasn’t even been able to use his childish antics to chase after other girls. That I’ve been the only one on his mind for the past few months… It was the most honesty I’ve ever seen come from him, and somehow I just knew things would be different this time.”
Wow, my brother is the god of bullshit. He told Peg exactly what she wanted to hear to swindle her back into his arms. If hell is real, there’s a special place waiting for him there. I don’t have the heart to tell her that Alastair picked up two chicks Friday night… one right after the other… I’m not going to focus on how disgusting that is… She could be right, things could be different this time. They could break up even faster once she learns the truth.
Alastair walks into the kitchen and waltzes over to Peg, folds her into his grasp, and kisses her without taking modesty into consideration. Peg starts tittering from embarrassment over their PDA and she gently nudges him away. Still hugging on her, gearing up for another kiss, Alastair says, “The van’s all packed. We just have to go pick up Dougie and Sly.” Sly’s the second guitarist for the band. Traveling the country in a Dodge Caravan with four people and a bunch of music equipment is going to get cramped. Glad I’m not going.
I don’t really do well with goodbyes. Finished with breakfast, I stand up and try to take my dishes to the sink, but Peg races over to me to steal my dishes. As she cleans them off, Alastair squeezes me into a quick, snug embrace. After a couple pats on the back, he releases me. I guess we’re both not good with goodbyes. He doesn’t say anything to me. Walking away he informs Peg he’ll be in the van waiting for her.
Drying off the dishes she just cleaned, and putting them away, one after the other, Peg says, “He’s gonna miss you. You’re the most important person in the world to him.”
“Huh,” emits from my lips. He may say that but he never really shows it.
Peg takes a second glance to make sure she didn’t miss a dish. Satisfied, she follows me to the front door. Seizing the opportunity, she too hugs me goodbye and says, “I’ll make sure he calls you.” Softly, she pecks me on the cheek ending the hug.
I take a moment to watch them drive away before I get into my car. It’s official… I’m a loner now.
Circle time just began when I burst loudly through the door. It’s not like I could help it, the door is loud. Gracie gestures me to join her side. Then she’s fast to boast about her friend, David Marchetti, being in a Late Night Show at the Invincible Theatre, and that her and I are going opening night of the 27th of this month.
“Cool, what’s it called?” Geoff asks.
I shrug my shoulders because I have no idea. I met two people in the production and they left out the title.
“Waiver… as in a waiver you would sign to relieve any responsibility for a sky diving company if you get injured or die.” Gracie explains.
“Is that what it’s about?” Geoff wonders.
“No… It’s about a woman struggling to break free from a life of abuse and reconcile her faith. I hear it’s a little Theatre of Absurd. I just know the acting is going to be phenomenal!”
The remainder of class muddles along. As does the rest of my day, and day after day, week after week here after, I go through the motions slightly detached from the world. If I could, I’d sleep all day and all night. I’d sleep my way into a coma if it was possible. Keeping the house is more important to me than my own sanity, therefore attending school and work outweighs my desire to escape life through R.E.M
Coming Up w/ Grady from B/C of Faith
Suddenly, a presence looming behind me makes me feel self-conscience. Am I standing in a weird position? Does my hair look alright? A deep gurgle vrooms from that looming presence and a question follows, “You don’t like the script, huh?” I here David ask.
He steps around me and stands beside Gracie. She reaches out to him and he swoops in her an embrace, lifting her high off the ground. Once he sets her down, talking the speed of a fret train, she tells him everything she loved about the play, which is everything. Once David confesses how he struggled for months to write the script, I suddenly know why Gracie loves everything about it. He also directed the play… no real surprise there. Some actors aren’t meant to write and direct… they’re just meant to act… but some think they can do it all.
“Grady?” I hear a half-excited, half-shocked shrill from behind me. I turn around and Kelsey Cadence rushes to wrap me in her arms. Sighing partly with relief and partly with enthusiasm, Kelsey confesses, “I’m SO glad you came!” Abruptly, very repentantly, she removes herself from my person and asks, “Did you come with a date.” She looks around past me, directly at someone, and gazing over my shoulder I notice she’s eyeing Gracie, probably wondering if she’s my date.
Hello! As mentioned earlier, thank you for partaking in #StorySunday.
Grady Timmins, Tasha Turner, Ann Taylor-Talmadge, and Cleo Swan are some of the recent characters featured in stories @ briannamonique.blog …
I’m BriAnna Monique, the author of every original story, and if you enjoy what you read on #StorySunday, I’m glad and that warms my heart.
Come back every Sunday to read more!
If you’re a fellow saint, I pray the Father keeps you. If you’re not a saint yet, I dare you, ask God if He’s real and I know He’ll reveal Himself to you.
BriAnna Monique Williams, blogger
Storyteller via writer, actor, filmmaker, and artist.