He was enough over 40
with a wife and a mistress to know
better than pay attention when
the barmaid wears low cut tops and
wiggles her ass in his face.
She had done half the sleaze bags
in town and would start working on
the other half if we let her but I wasn't
"Where's Linda, doesn't she normally
"Expect her back soon?"
"Not sure. She's was either on her way
to Bridgeport, Connecticut or Tampa,
Florida, it was tough to tell which.
If she has a tan when she gets back,
it's a cinch she went to Tampa."
"It's kind of important."
"Tell me about it. I love working
double shifts for hysterical barmaids
39 going on 18."
"You didn't lend her a company car."
"You're right, I didn't."
Thought, she must have been a lot better
in bed than I gave her credit for, but
she had too many screws loose for me
to really care, said, instead:
"If I were you, I'd be filing a stolen car
report. Linda is about as reliable as
a tropical storm. We don't call her
Loveloose for nothing."
"You'll let me know when she gets back."
I looked at his business card that said,
Sales Manager, Used Car Division.
Not for long once this one got around.
I threw his card in the trash.
Odds are she'd be back before long looking
for her job and she wouldn't have the car.
The Maniac Responsible
She had a nice tan for someone who
was supposed to be maintaining a
“bed side vigil” for an injured child.
I wasn't sure how she acquired that
incredible limp but it sure was a great touch.
There wasn't a dry eye among the Friday
regulars as a waiter helped her onto a bar stool.
I put a glass of Vodka in front of her
and charged one of the regulars double,
business had been good for him, it was all a
write off, and he'd been particularly obnoxious
at lunch so someone had to pay.
Might as well be him.
"I'm back."She said.
"So I see."
"When do I start work again?"
"When hell freezes over."
"What do you mean?"
"How can you be so cruel? I was with my baby
in the hospital."
"You're daughter's 21. Tampa General have
lawn chairs for you to lie on in between visits?"
"What do you mean?"
"You've got a hell of a tan for a bedside sitter."
I felt the evil eyes of the regulars burning holes
in my back. Some of them would never come again.
I already began not to miss them.
"You know, Linda. I think you missed your calling.
You should have been an actress instead of a barmaid."
"Well, if that's the way you feel about it."
She managed, brushing away tears.
"Then I guess, I'll leave."
It was definitely a down scene, sort of like telling
a New Year's Eve party that their children had been
eaten by cannibals, and I was the maniac responsible.
I was almost feeling nostalgic myself, thinking of
unwittingly chugging down half of one of her carefully
placed 10 oz goblets of straight vodka thinking it water.
It was a mood that was destined not to last
as Richie, the head bus boy, cruised into the service bar:
"I thought, Linda had an injured leg?"
"So everyone thought."
"I was just out back grabbing a smoke and she was
literally sprinting through the parking lot."
"I should think so."
"Here's a buck play something upbeat on the juke box,
I feel a good mood coming on."
The Altamont Horror
I was supposed to feel guilty that
things weren't going all that well
for Linda since I let her go.
She was one of Linda's lunch lounge
lizards working on her ninth glass
of white wine with her half of sandwich.
I was tempted to ask her if things were
slow at the office as most of her office
was also into a serious liquid lunch but
I thought better of it. Maybe I should have
gone into advertising the way this crew did.
I could have gotten a gold AMX card and
felt the need for three extra dry Dewars
Rob Roys at noon. I was only half listening
to what she was saying but what I heard
sounded like the draft of a screenplay
for The Altamont Horror, Altamont being the hill
town outside of Albany where she lived:
"You know, she never was very good
with money, she had barely a dime to her name
when you let her go."
"Maybe she should have thought about that
before taking an unannounced vacation to Florida.”
"She was visiting a sick child!"
"That's her official story."
"She was so distraught after she came back
and saw you that she went on a bender.”
"Too bad Vodka bottles aren't returnable,
her financial worries would be over."
"I'll bet you don't even know what happened
to her up in Altamont."
"Let me guess, she was arrested."
"Was she ever. She totally trashed a Ladies
Room and was doing a pretty good job on the bar
by the time the cops got there. She may even
"Could be the best time of her life if the guards
are all males."
"What do you have against her anyway?"
"Outside of the fact of her being unreliable, a thief,
a whore, a drunk , a bitch and a liar, not necessarily
in that order, nothing."
I got the impression that subject of conversation
was closed and there might never be another.