After Bobby manages to choke down the last warm swallow he sets the can down a little too close to the edge of the table. He watches as it topples and falls to the floor. Bobby looks up and is startled by the sudden figure of the bartender standing over him.
“Now why would you want to go and do that? We don’t have a maid around here you know. If there’s a fucking mess you know who cleans it up? Do you? Well it certainly isn’t the fucking maid. You know why? Because we don’t have a fucking maid. So guess who cleans up after you inconsiderate slobs?”
“You’re fucking right -me.”
“I’m sorry, it was an accident, I’ll pick it up.”
“DON’T TOUCH THAT FUCKING CAN! Leave it right where it lays.”
“I dropped it, I’ll pick it. No big deal, I was gonna pick it up anyway.”
“BULLSHIT! You weren’t gonna pick up that fucking can. The only reason you want to pick it up now is because I said something about it.”
“Come on, what’s the big deal?”
The bartenders face goes dark, his eyes harden, teeth clench . . .
“What’s the big deal? Is that what you just asked me? Did you seriously just ask me what the big deal is? Are you fucking kidding me?? DID YOU FUCKING ASK ME WHAT THE BIG DEAL WAS??!!”
Bobby decides he’s had enough.
“God damn man, you need to fucking relax. You are getting all psychotic on me over a beer can on the floor . . . in a fucking bar! I’m sick of your shit. If you don’t want my business just tell me. I’ll gladly take my ass and my money elsewhere. You’re fucking tense man.”
The bartender reels back like a kicked puppy. The expression on his face turns to confusion. He bends over and picks up the empty can, turns it over and over between his thick fingers. He squints, frowns and then tosses the can to the floor.
“God damn you’re right son. It is just a can, isn’t it?”
“No big deal. Right?”
“And hell, technically it is my job to pick up shit like that. Know what I mean?”
“Yeah but I do apologize for dropping it on the floor in the first place.”
“So that’s that then.”
“That’s that. You know what you said a minute ago about me needing to relax?”
“Yeah, but I just meant that . . .”
“No, no, no, you’re right. I know it. That’s why I bought these.”
The bartender reaches in the pocket of his apron and produces two small purple candles.
“They’re lavender. Supposed to help a guy relax. I got them at that little candle shop down on 4th avenue.”
“I’ve seen that place. Never been in though.”
“Oh man, you should check it out. They have all kinds of neat shit in there. I picked up some pretty cool candle holders too.”
“Huh. I’ll have to check it out, I get in to stuff like that.”
Their conversation is interrupted by the creaking of the front door. A man Bobby knows far too well cautiously peeks his head inside. The man sees Bobby and the bartender and pushes the door all the way open and struts inside, across the dance floor and straight to where Bobby and the bartender are sitting.