Every night the faces come and go, the few I recognize and who say a ``hey'' or ``hi'', and the rest of them, that just shout the drinks they want, beer, tequila and the occasional fancy drink. I pour more alcohol in one night that I could drink in one year. I actually pretty much stopped drinking. Not altogether, not a swear like ``I'll never drink another drop of alcohol,'' but I just don't have the slightest desire, anymore. It's probably like selling hot-dogs everyday, all day long, you don't want to even look at a sausage after a few weeks on the job. I guess that if you are a bartender, you'll either become a drunk or someone who doesn't care about alcohol.
I see the people coming, and now I can recognize the types. The professional drunks, the friends that want to show each other how much they can drink, the young girls that get drunk because they don't want to say no, the sluts that use the alcohol to not think about anything. The loud music makes my job easier, I don't have to talk to anybody. I just wait behind the bar, every night, wearing the black shirt and pants like a uniform, pouring gallons of alcohol that is sold for at least three or five times its real cost. I used to envy everybody else, when I started here. I looked at them dancing, talking, flirting, making out, and I had to stay behind the counter. Then I thought, well, at least I'll see my share of beautiful girls wearing sexy clothes. But the beautiful girls almost never come here, there's always someone to get a drink for them.
When the night is over, we should clean up. But it's so late, the sun is almost rising, that we leave most of the job for tomorrow--or today, actually. For later. I wait for the first bus to arrive, bringing people to their jobs, taking me to my bed. I fall asleep during the ride, avoiding a certain sadness that strikes me. I feel I'm a few hours behind the world, ending my day when everybody is already starting theirs. It's sad.
That Sunday there was a girl waiting for the bus with me. I recognized her: tall, blonde, lovely legs, and most recognizable of all, a pink shirt that could be seen from a mile away. Together with the white skirt, so short that it could be only noticed at a much smaller distance, she was a knock-out. Of course, I had seen her, between filling glasses. I saw her as she arrived, when the place was already crowded, with a couple of girlfriends. Hunters, I remember thinking, imagining that I'd soon be serving them through some handsome guy whose car costed more than I get paid in a year.
It surprised me to see her here, alone. Maybe she did get lucky--though she didn't look happy. But maybe someone did get lucky with her. I don't know at what time she left the place. I had spent some half an hour cleaning up after it closed, and she could have been waiting for the bus for a long time.
She almost talked to me that night. I saw her approaching the bar, and was ready to get her order when some guy approached her. ``What can I get you?'', I heard him shouting, and she asked for tequila. She downed it in a gulp, as he did the same. Both smiled, and I envied him, thinking that he was going to get her.
Maybe he didn't.
I smiled as I sat beside her. She was looking the other way and pretended not to notice me. ``Bitch,'' I thought. But a few seconds later she turned around, and saw me.
``You're the bartender.''
You could hear the alcohol in her tongue, slight but present.
``I thought so. I'd kill for another shot.''
I could have gotten it. Asked her to come with me, walk the two blocks, enter through the backdoor and get her whatever she wanted for free. But I didn't do it.
``It's closed now.''
She acknowledged. I saw she was not wearing a bra, but with that skirt she had to be wearing panties. Otherwise she might as well be naked.
``Do you like it?''
``Oh. It's all right, I guess.''
``Yeah,'' I said. Everybody says that when I tell them I'm a bartender. I learned to say ``yeah'' and leave it like that.
She sat closer to me.
``But it's only glamorous in movies, right?''
This time I couldn't help but grinning. ``You bet. Been there?''
``No. I had a friend that did it. She quit after a week.''
``It's even worse for girls. They have to deal with drunks that don't want a no for an answer.''
``And you don't have that problem.''
``No. Girls don't care for bartenders.''
``Maybe I do.'' She was smiling, the teasing smile of a blonde goddess. I knew better than to fall for that. I think.
She just kept her smile. And the bus came. I cursed it. It could have been late today. Half an hour late, or more.
``It's mine,'' I said.
We stood up, entering the empty bus. She pointed me the window seat, and I sat. She sat by my side. I smiled, faintly, wishing it had been any other day but Sunday. Saturday nights kill me. She watched me for a few moments, gazing directly into my eyes.
``I hope you don't mind,'' she said. I was going to ask what, but she leaned against me, as well as she could, and closed her eyes. Her touch against me felt good in that early, cold morning. The redness of sunrise was touching the world. I spent the ride falling asleep and waking up. When we got to my stop, I woke her.
``I get down here.''
``Oh,'' she said, rubbing her eyes. She stood up, and she followed me. Was it her stop too?
``Do you live nearby?'' I asked, as we got off the bus.
``No.'' She ogled me. ``You do have a bed, don't you?''
``Yes,'' I said, as she walked by my side, in those high heels that were probably so uncomfortable, and while I wondered exactly in what order we'd sleep, shower and fuck.