After work, Bobby contemplated whether or not to go to the bar. That bartender is fucking unstable, to say the least, but that’s Bobby’s bar. He’s been going there a lot longer than the bartender has been around. Why should he let some psycho run him off? Besides, maybe Sue is back and he can tell her about what’s been going on.
Bobby pulls in the parking lot and the first thing he notices is how empty the lot is. Kind of strange for a Friday night. Earl’s truck is still here but that’s about it.
As he walks in the bar, Bobby is greeted by a great booming voice-
“HEY!! IT’S YOU!! GLAD YOU COULD MAKE IT!”
The voice belonged to the bartender. He was frantically waving his arms around, motioning to Bobby to come up to the bar. Bobby looks around, he and the bartender were the only two in the bar.
“Welcome back brother . . . say, about the other night . . . I’m real sorry about that shit. I didn’t mean to yell at you like that. You didn’t deserve that, you didn’t do nothin’. I was just pissed those guys smashed the fucking pinball machine . . . my adrenaline was pumping . . . sometimes I just snap . . . just see red. Know what I mean?”
Bobby Gave him a puzzled look.
“Look son, whatever you are doing is really none of my business. It’s not my place to stick my nose in your personal affairs. That broads old man is an asshole anyway. He beats her up and shit. I can’t say as though I blame her for screwing around. And you are a pretty good lookin’ guy, I get it. I get it.”
“No man, that’s not how it is. I’ve got nothing going on with her. We’ve only talked.”
“Shiiiit! OK. Whatever you say bud. Tell you what, how about a Rolling Rock on the house and we let bygones be bygones? Sound good?”
“Thanks, I appreciate that. But you know, I’d really rather just pay for it.”
“I prefer to pay for my own beer. Nothing personal.”
“You prefer to? Fuck that, here’s what you prefer to do. You prefer to take this free fucking beer and drink the fucking thing with a big fucking smile on your face. And you know why you’ll be smiling? You’ll be smiling because the fucking beer you are drinking is fucking free . . . and god damn it that’s the best kind of beer there is. Don’t ya think?”
Bobby is stunned, this guy is a freakin’ lunatic.
“Shit, here I go again. Look man, I’m sorry. It’s just that I feel I owe you something after the other night. I was real shitty to you and you didn’t deserve that. Hell, you’re a regular here and a regular deserves some respect. Please, just take the beer. Take it. Come on . . .”
“OK, shit, I’ll take the beer.”
The bartender squealed as he lunged over the bar and grabbed Bobby in a huge bear hug. He squeezed tighter as he picked him up and down . . . up and down . . .
“You don’t know how happy you’ve made me!”
“OK, yeah, thanks . . . that’s good, that’s umm enough . . .”
The bartender slaps Bobby on the back and gives him a great big smile. The same smile as the night they first met.
“So?” Bobby cocks his head.
“Yeah?” Still smiling.
“Soooo, how about that beer?”
“Fuck, of course, yeah, I’m on it.”
The bartender runs back behind the bar and flings open the cooler door. He reaches in, takes something out and turns around with the biggest shit eating grin Bobby has ever seen.
“Here you go. On the house. Enjoy!”
The bartender slams down an ice cold can of Rolling Rock. God damn. Bobby can’t stand beer in a can. He stares at it for a moment, picks it up, turns the can around in his hands and decides it’s not worth saying anything. He takes a sip.
“It’s nothin’.” The bartender shrugged.