DIVE BAR EXCERPT FROM LITTLE BLACK BOOK AN ELLA NOVEL
I came here to write, trying to stay as far from tourists and bars packed with frat boys and their silly attempts to stick me with the pointy end.
To avoid all those things, I picked this bar, a run-down locals place with a simple blinking sign of ‘duff’s bar’ on the front. The dusty floor and mostly empty stools told me immediately I had the right place.
The bar looks smaller from the inside, with an old juke-box sitting silently in the corner as the two older men pressing bellies to the bar stare at me. I place my notebook on the stool next to me and signal the bartender for a drink.
"What will it be blondie?"
"Whiskey, neat. Make it a double."
He makes the drink and places it on a cocktail napkin, giving me a creepy smile I am sure he thinks will make me swoon.
I shake my head and take down half the drink in one swallow to remove the image from my mind. I need to write after all and don’t need to be distracted by horny barbacks. Just pour my damned drink, please.
Rising from the stool, I walk to the jukebox. As I tap the touch screen looking for songs, the front door opens. A man walks in, age thirty if I am forced to guess, wearing jeans and a plaid shirt. His face is covered by a scruffy growing beard and dark brown eyes find my own. He gets a drink from the bartender as I select my song.
"Only girl in the world" by a certain pop star.
The opening refrain is playing and I begin to hum along when the man appears at my side, coming close to me. I can smell the lingering stink of travel and road dirt on him and wish he might have showered before pressing against my side.
"What’s your story? You play for the Redsox?" I ask, giving a beard a tug. He laughs, takes a deep drink and clears his throat. "Not those clowns. I’m from New York. I hate the Redsox."
"I see." I don’t tell him I grew up near Boston. Strike one, sir.
He follows me back to the bar in silence and watches as I take up my notebook to begin writing.
"What are you writing?" he asks.
I tap the pen against the bar with annoyance. I won’t be able to write anything if you don’t let me breathe, sir.
"Sex." I say, crossing my legs and putting a cigarette to my lips. I pause for a moment, giving him a chance to be a gentleman, but no flame is forthcoming. I light it myself and grumble into my drink.
"Sorry, I don’t smoke," he says.
"Nice story," I say, putting the cigarette on the ashtray and picking up my pen. I write a sentence in my notebook and move my arm to give him full view of the page.
The plot thickens and she wonders if she will take him back to the hotel. Does he want ‘that’ from me?
"Definitely," he answers, smiling at me. I can’t deny he is handsome, dark eyes matching his warm smile.
"Settle down, Mr. That is just a story. As it happens, I’m tired and not at all in the mood for that sort of thing tonight."
The air leaks from his balloon and he slouches on the bar stool, signaling the bar keep for another round.
"About time you offered me a drink. I was beginning to think you have no manners." I wink at him and finish my cocktail, waiting for another.
"Sorry, I’m nervous," he says, not able to hold eye contact and looking up at the sports highlight show on the television.
"Tsk, tsk, don’t ever ignore a girl for sports."
Barkeep arrives with drinks, shaking his head at the failures of my new friend who fumbles the money with shaking hands. I place a hand on his leg and wait until he looks at me.
"Relax. There’s no reason to be nervous. I’m just a girl."
He attempts a smile, but fails and gulps down his drink and waves at the barkeep for another.
"Not for me, I’m leaving in a minute."
"You only wrote a sentence,’ he says in confusion.
"I can’t concentrate tonight. I know better than to force the muse into cooperation. It doesn’t work that way."
The look of disappointment returns and he stammers a string of words in a feeble attempt to convince me to stay.
Grabbing a bar napkin, I write my phone number and my twitter screen name. Sliding it to him, I throw money on the bar and pack up my writing materials careful to shake the dust from dive bar free from the notebook.
"I am tired. So sorry to leave so soon. Be in touch?" I say, running a finger along his arm.
Walking away, I am quite certain his eyes are on me. He will call. Bet on it.