Cut Off

She sat at the bar, the dimness blanketing her with its soft cushion of comfort, her finger sliding sensuously around the rim of the double old-fashioned glass resting before her. She looked to her left, and then to her right. No likely candidates in sight.

She sighed, and slid her glass toward the bartender, who had magically appeared at just the moment her glass became empty.

“I’ll have another, please,” she said, pitching her voice just loud enough for him to hear her, but not loud enough to draw too much attention to herself.

The bartender nodded, and returned with a fresh Crown and Coke for her. He nodded at her, accepting the bill she passed him without comment.

“Keep it,” she nodded back at him.

He turned to serve the next customer.

She leaned back from her precarious perch on the bar stool, almost too far. Her leg jerked, and she caught herself at the last second. She slid from the stool onto her own two feet, on solid ground once again.

She failed to note the bartender watching her  out of the corner of his eye.

Her right foot slipped on the wet bar floor, and in her panic to grab the edge of the bar, she nearly knocked her full glass over, but this time, she missed it.

Finally somewhat steady again, she reached for her drink, to take a sip or to toss the whole thing back, she wasn’t sure yet. An inch above the bar surface, her grip loosened, and she dropped the glass, spraying whiskey and soda everywhere.

Her eyes widened, and then she threw her head back and laughed heartily.

“I’ll have another!” She cried to the bartender, heedless now of the volume of her voice. He shook his head at her as he mopped up her drink. She cocked her own in momentary confusion before realizing that this was it.

She’d been cut off.

The shame stayed with her for days, and she couldn’t bring herself to return to that bar for a full week this time.

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