This is my entry into The Tsuruoka Files Mid-Week Blues-Buster Challenge – Week 38
Fresh Shot of Whiskey
by Stephanie Fuller
Louise sat down at the bar and ordered a whiskey on the rocks. Stale smoke filled her lungs as she inhaled deeply. She hadn’t drank in years, but today called for at least one. Fired. As she drank her whiskey, she shook her head, “They got rid of the one person who knows what’s going on in that place. Are they stupid or what?”
“Isn’t that the way it always works?” The bartender answered her rhetorical question with one of his own.
“Absolutely. Fifteen years of my life. I outlasted all of the old regime. I could probably run that place with my eyes closed and those new schmucks would still be trying to figure out how to get the printer to work. I have no clue what I’ll do now.” Glass drained, Louise tipped it at her new friend.
Handing her a freshly filled glass, he poured a small one for himself. “They have no clue what they’ll be missing. To bigger and better things for you. This one is on the house. Cheers!” Raising his glass, several of the other people standing around raised theirs as well. Tears misted in her eyes as she looked around at them. She wondered how many of them had been in this spot before, or if today had maybe been a bad day for them too.
Looking back at the bartender, she whispered, “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. Stay for a while. The band is setting up and they’ll make all your worries go away. Promise.” As he nodded toward the make-shift stage, Louise turned to see a group of guys setting up guitar amps, microphones and drum set.
“I think I will stay. How about another drink?”
From the first touch of the pick to the string, Louise had goosebumps. She closed her eyes and listened. It was a Lou Reed song that she’d heard many times. An old boyfriend was obsessed with Lou Reed and they listened to his albums ad nauseum. He also played guitar, so on occasion he would serenade her with his own songs. The memories these simple notes carried brought a smile to her lips. As she had gotten older, she had moved on and forgot. She opened her eyes to see the lead singer looking right at her. Smiling she took a sip of her whiskey and thought to herself, This night is going to be better than I thought.
Over the next hour the band played many songs, each sounding better than the last. Any anger or hatred that she had felt when she sat down at the bar earlier was now gone. All she could do was listen and enjoy the music as it coursed through her veins and made her heart beat faster and faster. Having a handsome lead singer didn’t hurt, either.
When they were finished, Louise was practically buzzing with energy. The lead singer walked up to her and spoke with the slightest accent. “Hey darlin’, I noticed you were really diggin’ the jams tonight. You play?”
“No, but I love to listen. You are fantastic!” Louise couldn’t stop staring into his eyes as they spoke. He was even more handsome up close. She quickly threw in, “My name is Louise.”
“Well, hello Louise, my name is Jason. Can I buy you a drink? Looks like you need a refill on your whiskey. Been a rough day?”
She looked at her empty glass, then back to Jason. “It was.”