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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

A man walks into a bar and... loses his ring.

It isn’t my usual bar—it is too good. It’s much cleaner overall, too, and considerably better lit. There are just a few dozen cobwebs hanging in the corners, and only a dust cloud when someone sits down. One dead light sits in the wall behind the bartender—a blonde that might’ve been cute once—and has a couple of dead flies in its cup. The lone window in the door is kept immaculately clean; when I came in I could see straight to the back. Nothing like my usual place.

The crowd isn’t the same either. That I expected. There are a few people in business suits, and even a couple ladies in knee-length skirts and heels, but the majority of the crowd seems to be comprised of the average Joe, just escaped from work. A few smoke here and there; I can see that their cigars are of the good kind, not the crappy stuff my regular bar-folks smoke. The fading blonde gives me my drink—something I never thought I’d see that small--and delivers the person-next-to-me’s too.

He’s one of those blokes in business suits, one of the ones now cradling his miniature drink like any other proper Joe. Cheap suit: probably a cheap job, a cheap house, a cheap car, a cheap wife… Not skanky though. It isn’t that type of bar. He must’ve caught me looking because he smiled, dimples and all. Nope, not to me—his eyes wormed their way to the other side of him. Good. He’s not my type.

Maybe Joe isn’t married. Or maybe he is a skankier Joe than I thought. Either way, those eyes of his? Last time I saw eyes rove that bad, the bloke got hit with pepper spray and then had a gun pulled on him. No one is going to mess with that lady again, that’s for sure. Rover clearly hadn’t learned that particular lesson yet. So, the question: is he single, or is he unfaithful?

“You know,” his voice sounds cheap too. I add that to my list. “I lost my ring.” Well, this is going to be a pickup line I hadn’t heard. “And it’s not on you.” And he takes it the most predictable route. “Would you help me fix that?” Well done, Rover, well done. It isn’t the worst pickup line I’d heard, but it isn’t the best I’ve heard either. I take a swig, and finish half the glass. Rover needs lessons. Cheap as he is, he probably can’t afford them! Hell, cheap as I am, I can’t afford them.

Lady is blushing. She’s twisting her hair into knots with her fingers. Clearly, a newbie. At least she didn’t look pissed, or like she is about to spray Rover. I would’ve been caught in the line, if she were, and then we’d have a mess. And damn, pepper spray hurts!

“I’ve lost my ring, and it’s not on your finger, so I don’t know where it is.” Rover is still trying this one? Pathetic. I take a good proper sip, and signal for another. Maybe with Newb over there, he’ll get somewhere. Clearly, they’d be good for each other. Break at least one iron belt, anyway. Newb stammers something I can’t catch. A stammerer! Yeesh. Wait… here she goes again. Louder this time.

“I-isn’t it at K-Kay?” That line had worked. Of all the lines in all the world, that one walked into her mind. Rover done good, for a dog. Would pup there be smart enough to reel the line?

“No.” And the minnow leaves the net. “I’ve lost my ring.” What..? He just tried that, and lost by his own accord. I drank my new glass. This idiot must never’ve been in a bar before.

“You said it isn’t on my finger.” Even Newb is confused enough to not be nervous. Rover needs better lessons than I thought. “And that you wanted to fix that.” Right. Good job, Newb, for stating the obvious. Would you like a tip for that? “Isn’t that a pick up line?” Ding ding ding! And the winner is… me! How had I gotten stuck at the counter with these two idiots? Right. My place is suspended, and this place isn’t.

“What? No!” Wait. What? “No! I really lost my ring. My ring. Like, ring, ring. Ring-a-ling, ring.” I don’t quite know how to process this, I don’t think. That whole ring thing isn’t a pick up line? Huh. Alright. Rover: 1. Newb: 0. Me: 0. Great. I am with Newb. “I dunno where it went, but it’s not here.”

“So, you…aren’t flirting with me?” Come on Newb! Even I figured that out already.

“No. I am looking for my ring. Sorry lady, but I don’t even know your name.” So, Rover. Maybe he does have his own cheap wife, and maybe he isn’t being unfaithful. Huh. Maybe that warrants another point. Rover: 2. I take another solid swig.

“Right…” She stares into her beer, and I swallow another quarter. “Monica.” I nearly gargle up my liquor. That actually got him a name? Jesus, what the hell is this place?!  As soon as my bar gets done with that investigation, I’ll be high-tailing it back there, that‘s for sure.

“Monica. That’s a pretty name.” Rover. Make up your mind. Are you flirting with Newb, or are you not flirting with Newb? “I’m Jay.” Right now, you’re flirting. “Will you help me find my ring-ring?” And now you’re not, you dolt. I think he’s the most pathetic excuse for a bar pick-me-up I’ve seen.

“Okay, Jay.” Now she’s flirting with him? Little Newb couldn’t hold her alcohol either, to go from nervous to confident that fast. Or maybe it is just Jay’s non-skanky cheapness. Wait. Did I just call him Jay?

“Thanks Monica! See, the trick is that I don’t know where I lost it.” Yeah. No shit, Sherlock. “I think it might be in my pocket,” what’re you doing? “But I can’t get to it.” And now you’re flirting? Talk about on again off again. I finish my glass. Damn, I wish my bar were open. The glasses were properly sized!

“Do you… want me to grab it for you?” Little Newb is starting to learn, if Rover is really as low as she had her bar. Not that she passes mine.

“Would you? I think it’s in this pocket here.” Rover points to his pant pocket on the side away from me. Jeez, if it were on my side would he have asked me to go fishing? Newb dips her hand into the pocket. I call for another. Didn’t think she’d actually do it. The strange thing, is that Rover doesn’t even look that happy.

“I… found your phone…” A phone. Rover confused a ring with a phone. Didn’t he get here after me? He’s drinking beer, and is still on his first glass I think. So how the hell is he more drunk than me? Old bartender lady is eyeing me. Don’t knock it lady, I’m a hella sport.

“That’s it!” What? I give up on watching from the corner of my eye. He really is holding a phone in the air. I’m never coming here again. “That’s my ring! Thank you, Monica!” You have got to be kidding me. He called his phone his ring. Jeez, what a dolt. My drink arrives again.

“I thought you lost a ring. Like, a… diamond… ring.” Maybe I should give Newb a set of notes. She sounds like she could sure use them.

“Nope! Just my phone. But, hey, I lost your number.” Wow. And bring back the line. “Help me find that, too?” I guess Rover is going for the flirt. He’s awful at it, but he’s trying. Unless… wait. Was the entire thing a..? I stare into my mini glass. It didn’t even have a chip on it.

“Okay, Jay.” The entire thing was part of Rover’s act, and it actually worked. Damn. He wasn’t experienced enough to know you don’t do that kind of thing. Or maybe he’s smart. Maybe he thought around that and planned for it. Maybe because he thought about it he worked around it, even though it shouldn’t have worked. He probably factored in complexity levels, and how much he could confuse people. Then he probably factored it down, and--good lord, is this guy an idiot or a genius? Or, wait. Is he cheating or married?

Heh. More pressing: how the hell am I getting out of here? I’ve got no cash! Wait… wait. I leave the glass with that wonderful liquid still in the bottom, and I stand and wobble and indicate to Oldy the bathroom. A scowl creases her creases. Can you crease a crease? She did. Man, everything’s kind of everywhere, isn’t it? All in good fun, all in good fun. Bathroom there, Joe here, lady there, bathroom in hall… Hall with window. A little bit lurchy, probably shouldn’ta drunk that much, but the show was interesting! Who opened that window? Oh, hey. I did. Huh.

And… I’m out. Nothing on me? Good. Real good. Just me, myself, and I, and Rover’s tip to Old blondie. Heh. Yeah… I’m not gonna go back there. My regular bar’s too damn fine. Besides, there’s a cheap looking someone in that cheap looking car looking at cheap little me. Well shit. A lady witness. I’m not coming back here, that’s for sure.

Submitted: August 15, 2015

© Copyright 2022 phantomhill. All rights reserved.

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