The Unkempt Tavern

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic
Just some thoughts

Submitted: October 18, 2015

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Submitted: October 18, 2015

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The Unkempt Tavern

 

On a Sunday evening, an hour before last call, an elderly bartender towel dried a mug as he waited for the last young man to leave the bar. He knew that the young man had probably had too much to drink, but the man was a regular of his favourite table and the bar was doing poorly, so he decided to continue to serve him.

 

“Only one more hour until close,” the bartender called to the young man.

 

“I understand.” said the young man.

 

“Just making sure.”

 

Shortly after, a well-dressed man, middle-aged, walked into the tavern and sat down at the end of the bar. He placed his hat on the arm of the bar stool and raised two fingers as if to call the bartender to him.

 

“Less than an hour until close.” said the bartender.

 

“Have I not got time for one?” said the man.

 

“Sure, what will it be?”

 

“Whiskey, no ice.”

 

“On its way.”

 

The bartender opened a fresh bottle of ripely aged whiskey and filled a small glass. As he passed the man his drink and a cocktail serviette, the man leaned in slowly.

 

“What’s the name of the young man over there, he looks a bit off.”

 

“He’s a regular, always drinks too much.”

 

“His name, though?”

 

“Couldn’t tell you, says he prefers people not knowing.”

 

“I see, so you don’t know much about him?”

“Almost nothing, other than the fact that he’s got money.”

 

“What makes you say that?”

 

“He tips big, probably too big.”

 

“Maybe he’s just generous?”

 

“Maybe, or maybe money just doesn’t mean much to him anymore.”

 

“That’s silly, money means a lot to everyone.”

 

“Sure, but if you aren’t able to enjoy it then what’s its purpose?”

 

The young man looked over to the two men talking at the bar with a glazed look in his eyes, as if he knew that he was the reason they were whispering, but was not cognizant enough to address the matter. Instead, he called for another drink.

 

“Are you sure you wouldn’t prefer water?” said the bartender.

 

“No, this will be my last one anyway.” said the young man.

 

As the bartender came over, he saw that the young man was scribbling a rather long note on a piece of letter paper. The paper had many words and sentences scratched out, as if it was a meaningful work.

 

“Alright, last one then.” said the bartender as he brought him over his last glass of gin.

 

“I appreciate it,” said the young man.

 

The waiter walked back over to the well-dressed man and sat down in his chair behind the bar.

 

“Are you sure it’s okay to give him another?” asked the man.

 

“He’s a regular, and this bar is falling apart.” said the bartender.

 

“Everyone has their limit, in all things.”

 

“You’re right, but I respect his wishes.”

“Sure. Well I had better settle up. What do I owe you?”

 

“Just a dollar.”

 

The man handed the bartender two dollars and some change and put on his expensive looking hat. As he headed for the door he looked at the bartender.

 

“The name’s Arthurs. Open tomorrow night as well?” said the man, buttoning his coat.

 

“Every night, can’t afford not to be.” said the bartender.

 

“Alright, well I’ll come for another tomorrow.”

 

Arthurs glanced over at the young man, who finished the last of his drink and placed a piece of paper in his left breast pocket. Arthurs scratched his head through his hat, sighed, and held the top of his coat together against the wind as he walked out the tavern door.

 

“Getting late.” said the bartender.

 

“Right, I best be off then. What is it I owe you?” said the young man.

 

“Five dollars even.”

 

The young man reached into his back pocket and pulled out a rather large collection of bills. He selected a few which added to far more than five dollars and passed them to the bartender.

 

“This is way too much. I said five.” said the bartender.

 

“I know, believe me, I haven’t any use for it.” said the young man, buttoning his coat.

 

“I simply can’t accept.”

 

“I will be upset if you don’t.”

 

“Fine, well goodnight, and thank you. See you tomorrow.”

 

“Hm? Oh, goodnight.”

 

The young man checked his piece of paper from his breast pocket one last time, and then left the tavern.

 

The next day, Arthurs arrived to the tavern at the same time as the night before.

 

“Whiskey again?” asked the bartender.

 

“Sure, same thing. Is the young man not here tonight?” said Arthurs.

 

“He hasn’t been in all night, unusual as he hasn’t missed a night in over a year.”

 

“Perhaps he moved.”

 

“Yes, many people are leaving the city, it can be a depressing place.”

 

“For some, certainly.”

 

“For some in particular.”

 

Arthurs finished his whiskey, nodded to the bartender, and left to endure the wind once again. The bartender finished wiping the counter and went over to the table that the young man frequented every night. He wiped off the various ink markings that were left from the young man the night before, placed a few serviettes, and pushed in the chair, readying the table for the next customer.

 


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