It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done.

I watched Ret leave and thought, That worked out really well. I think she’s a keeper. I saw a tail twitch slightly at the edge of my vision, and saw that Boss seemed to agree. But then the tail stiffened and fluffed a bit. I followed her glare and saw that Tall was getting handsy with Short, and not to Short’s liking.

“Say, folks, can I get you another?”

Tall got up and sidled over to the bar, beckoned to me with a finger. I came closer, and Tall whispered conspiratorially, “Hey, I know you’ve got a back play room, guy. How about a guided tour? It’s worth a few bucks to you.”

“Let it drop, okay? What will you have?”

Unhappy face. “Something strong for my date.”

No doubt about this one. I poured a Keystone Light, about as weak-kneed and obnoxious a floor cleaner that ever pretended to be a beer. (The tap pull was a fake. I’ve seen this maneuver before.) I asked if I needed to keep the tab open, and Tall peeled a big bill off a huge wadge of them.

As Tall strutted back to the table, a streak of orange leapt out of nowhere.

Boss ran under Tall’s feet, and expertly missed getting stomped on while causing Tall to fall in a spectacular fashion while upending the beer right in his face.

Short jumped up and started to laugh, caught themselves, and then started to laugh again when they saw me laughing. While Tall was getting up I quickly palmed a business card to Short and whispered, “This will get you home free if you want.” Short glanced at it, smiled, whispered “Thank you”, grabbed their bag, and quickly exited.

By the time Short had vanished and Tall realized the date had gone wrong, a bellow of invective erupted. It isn’t worth repeating here — you’ve heard way better.

I waited for the storm to pass. “Listen up. You were trying to get your date drunk and get something you’re not entitled to. I’ve got your name and address” (I card everyone) “so take thoughts of a return bout right out of your head; I know the cops. Take your sorry ass out and don’t come back.” Tall admitted defeat and slunk out, with Boss perched over the front door to deliver a final glare.

And they say bartending isn’t a rewarding field.

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