Tuesday, February 24, 2004

The Bartender, Waiting For The Phone To Ring Day!

Another one, please, Alice. Hey, you seem preoccupied.

She's up on her perch, a revolving stool with a seat-back, her knees pulled up under her chin, her sweatjacket zipped up and bunching into her brown hair. She's staring at the rotary phone on the wall next to the Bass mirror.


Henry? Oh God, I'm sorry. You need another?

I said, you seem preoccupied. But yeah, I need another.

Sorry. I'm?

Alice pours Henry his Maker's Mark. She pours one for herself. She leans on the bar in front of Henry, her eyes pointed at the glass.

What's his name?


Why's he gonna call?

Alice glances back at the phone, then takes a sip from her glass.

If you had my number wouldn't you dial it?

Henry raises his glass to her. Finishes it.

Sometimes I wonder why we're bothering Henry. Why does anyone give a flying fuck about anyone else? Why do I hand my life over to a guy who isn't even asking for it?

Nothin' else to do I guess.

There's movies.

Booze, Alice. Booze.

Good food.

All three of those hold the promise of having sex after.

Unless you go it alone.

You ain't supposed to drink alone, Alice. And going to movies, going to dinner alone. That's frowned upon. One more.

Alice pours Henry his drink. She pours herself another.

More guys should be like you Henry.

You're pouring my drinks Alice. Take me home and I'm no better than the rest. No worse neither.

Then I better just keep pouring your drinks Henry.

Ain't broke. Don't fix it.

Henry looks over at the phone. Alice follows his eyes. They watch the phone and sip their glasses.

Man, that thing sure ain't ringin'.

Alice stares into her drink.

So quiet it's making noise. Like the absence of a ring could make a sound. What sound would that be Alice?

Alice laughs a little. She makes her lips into an O and lets out a guttural growl.

Henry lets air sift through his teeth. It sounds like wind blowing through some trees. Or water.

They laugh some more. Finish their drinks. Pour two more.

All I want is for that phone to ring and for him to be there on the other end telling me where I'll find him tonight. What the fuck do I do now Henry?

Henry shrugs. I know whenever I'm waiting for the phone to ring, I wait for the phone to ring. A gunfight couldn't take my mind off it. Henry downs his glass. I'll leave you to it.

Henry pulls his coat on, reaches over the bar to rub his hand to the back of Alice's brown hair. He heads out the door.

Alice drops his glass into the sink, pulls her hair back into her sweatjacket, and climbs back up on her perch. Her eyes, just over her knees, look through the window out at the street. They look just past the phone on the wall.

Happy The Bartender, Waiting For The Phone To Ring Day!