Now that he was employed in a meaningful way, Douglas was fairly certain that he was supposed to find a bar to frequent.
He wasn’t sure where the idea came from, as he didn’t much like the taste or associated sensations of alcohol, but he liked the bar concept. The young professional persona he had claimed required this sort of urban leisure. He saw himself checking in after a long day, ordering the usual and chatting with strangers. The bartender would listen at a distance, polishing a glass, occasionally offering working class insight.
He stepped into the first place he found that didn’t seem too crowded. A young man about his age was reading poetry into a microphone, but that stayed on its side of the room. At the bar, all he could hear was some down-tempo electronica and private conversations.
“Hey, I haven’t seen you around here before,” the bartender said as she came over. She had a playful face. She kept her head tilted sideways, as though balancing the piercing on the side of her nose.
“Hi, I’m Douglas. I think you’ll be seeing a lot of me.”
“Oh, right on. Looking forward to it.”
Shortly after he had a drink in his hand, she was too busy to talk.
He waited. Sometimes she noticed him and made a weary gesture, which he appreciated.
“Come back and see me,” she said, handing him the bill. “I’m here Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.”
She lifted her hand to him in a way he wasn’t sure what to do with. Feeling bold, he kissed it. He leaned over the bar to do it, and he saw some faces grimace. They were jealous.
A beautiful barkeep liked him. Maybe he’d get free drinks.
He felt extraordinary.