Spring 2010 | Volume 4 | Issue 1

Karen Schubert

Bar Story

Two men walk into a bar, one falls in love with the martini woman,
she is what he calls a cool drink of water with those long legs,

amuses him with her banter and the way she holds an unlit cigarette all night,
points it for emphasis, taps out words on the bar. She’s got this wide

open laugh, he wants to put his face in her cleavage, hell,
he wants his face everywhere, he buys her another martini, gets himself

a porter. It’s got that dirty penny taste and penny reminds him of luck,
he can’t believe he’s next to this woman. She doesn’t look like she spent

the day crying after getting fired for using money from the till, but tonight
she’s gonna be someone else, take a break from her routine, reality

shows and drinking wine on a couch she was planning to replace
with the money she borrowed. It’s nice she got a martini,

but truth be told she has her eye on the other guy, the quiet one
with the curly hair drinking Magic Hat. She sees him in the mirror,

wonders what brings him out tonight, a promotion, or maybe he’s meeting
someone. A redhead comes in and kisses his cheek. He leans close, whispers,

I’m not going to get any action if I keep hanging out
with my sister.
They laugh. He’s been watching

the woman with the unlit cigarette, guesses she has her life together, he wouldn’t
mind meeting someone like that, but he’d never ask. His sister’s at war

with her husband, the divorce trial’s tomorrow and as soon as it’s over
he’s going to get her out of here for a week, to Jamaica.

It’s hard to believe in relationships, but he glimpses those bare
legs once more before he walks out. He misses the closeness.

Maybe if he’d walked in alone, he’d have talked to her. He tries to think of what
he’d say. The other guy is saying, C’mon, C’mon, holding out his lighter,

she is laughing and shaking her head, saying, No, I quit years ago,
but he’s not letting up. Finally, fire flashes in the mirror and she inhales.