The Lair of the Drinks
JA’s place is hopping this night. A symposium huddles at one end of the bar yakking about ‘how far they would go’. Konwraith is front and center, flashing his four-pack to anyone with half a dollar. RJ corners some poor broad at the bar and trots out his “I never metaphor I didn’t like” line.
I think about the ‘poker for pills’ game going on in the backroom. The last time I ventured back there, MG cleaned me out of my favorite muscle relaxants. I only had the codeine tabs left, and I knew better than to take those on an empty gut.
The bartender mixes me my usual Pap Smear, tosses in a few extra wrinkled cherries, and pushes a stained menu in my direction. I order a Philly Cheese steak, extra ‘au jus’ in the side.
“Medium or well-done?” His bar rag smells like the floor of a Rave where the Ecstasy got cut with Ipecac syrup.
“Blue. So blue the cow needed to call a suicide hotline.” I suck back a cherry and flick the pit at the back of RJ’s head. “And hold the E-coli this time.”
The bartender tosses the menu in a puddle of Bud and scuffs away. Bored, I look around to see who’s looking for a cheap blurb and who’s been through the Crap-O-Meter.
Two characters catch my interest. A tall, scruffy guy in leather and a shorter fella, with bare feet and big, round eyes like those stupid troll dolls. JA’s place usually caters to mysterious types, so they stand out. I figure they tried getting into JK’s place up the street, but the security there is tighter than Rosie O’ Donnell’s corset and no one gets in without a agent.
I hear Leather-boy tell Shorty, “These are the Drinkwraiths, neither living nor read. They will never stop snubbing you.”
Fantasy types. God, I hate them. Their reality checks bounce back so hard you can lose an eye. I turn away and ignore them.
Shorty tries to wave down a guy he takes for a waitress but it’s Adam dressed up in a French Maid’s outfit. Made a bad bet with MG again. You think he’d learn.
Someone invites them to discuss how long it would take a trussed up guy to die if he had a coat rack stuck two feet up his back passage. Shorty exchanges a worried glance with Leather-Boy, and then they get up to leave.
My cheese steak arrives and I dig in, stopping occasionally to argue the finer points of using rock salt in conjunction with a plane sander on human flesh.
I suppose we’re a pretty hardboiled bunch.