Old Timer on the RocksPosted: October 23, 2016
Miriam swirled the swizzle stick around the naked ice cubes in her rocks glass, cigarette clamped in her teeth, mind a million miles away. The left side of her mouth twitched upward in a distant cousin of a smile as she pondered whether she’d spent more of her life on this very bar stool or out in the rest of the world.
The bar stool was the likely winner.
She squinted her eyes against the smoke curling upwards from her mouth and held her glass aloft. Greg nodded in her direction, and she set the glass back down on the bar, exactly in the ring of condensation staining the cocktail napkin. He finished swapping the pint glass in the sink and dried his hands on the towel tucked into his waistband before grasping the neck of the half-empty bottle of house bourbon.
“Only the best for my gal. How ya doin’ tonight, Mir?” he asked, talking as he poured. “Sorry I didn’t get a chance to catch up when you came in.”
The half smirk returned to her face. “It’s alright, Greg. I saw you were busy. But you know I’d rather wait a few minutes for you to pour me one than tip Joe. He’s been here a year if he’s been here a day, and he still can’t remember my name.”
Greg chuckled. “He’s been here less than three weeks, and he can’t even remember my name, Mir. Sometimes I’m not so sure he remembers his own.”
Miriam shrugged and took a slug of her bourbon, baring her teeth and hissing at the liquor’s harshness. “They all look alike to me, Greg. You’re the only one that’s been here near as long as me. You and ol’ Chuck over there,” she added, raising her glass to the mounted deer head hanging over the cash register.
“You’re probably right,” he agreed, refilling her glass again.
“Thanks, Greg. Maybe something stronger now?” she unexpectedly asked.
He reached up to the top shelf. “You betcha.”