The beginning of my Pickup Chronicles
. Full-length piece is linked to at the bottom.
"I arrive at the bar later than I intend. My wish to skip the usual Sunday night crowds has been executed too
I lean back in the car. Some idiot had almost turned into me on the way over. I had kept my foot down, like any true man, and had blasted the horn, scaring him off the side road and into the pavement.
I hadn't bothered to check if he was unhurt. Probably drunk.
Driving standards in this country remain appalling. I sigh.
I get out of the car, and I'm greeted by brisk, cold air. I lean against the vehicle, taking a deep breath, relaxing a bit.
It's dark here, sometime past midnight. No moon. The only light on the narrow, cobblestoned road comes from a solitary street lamp. It's eerie, the shadows on the stones. I look around.
It seems fairly deserted...
I hear the sounds of cars in the distance and am somewhat relieved. I look for the actual entrance to the bar. I see an alley way through the buildings on my right, next to the side pavement I've parked alongside.
A dog barks.
I think thats probably the cue I needed. I have to move.
So I do, finally spotting what could be the entrance of my destination a bit into the alley.
I walk quickly toward the the blocky sign, which is not well lit. It takes me some time to find the door knob.
I wonder if somehow this bar is trying to hide itself.
I make out the name. It's called "Razors".
I hope that isn't foreshadowing the rest of the night. Why would anyone call a bar that?
I jiggle the knob for a few moments. The door feels old, and flimsy. I jiggle harder. It finally gives in a little.
I hear faint music. Possibly Blues in tone. The door creaks as it swings fully open.
The music gets louder. Yes, Blues. Not loud club music or radio hip-hop. Strange. Perhaps this might work after all.
Inside the bar, the shadowy theme from outside continues. It's dark in here, too. The "light" comes from triangular lamps hung from the ceiling. Very hipstery pseudo-japanese feng shui. At odds with the music in here.
There's a purplish, neon glow that distorts everything in here.
But it looks like a good sized space. Round tables with chairs stacked alongside are arranged in a semi-organized pattern around me.
There's what looks like a lounge section of a bit to the left that I catch out of the corner of my eye. It probably serves as the bar's defacto VIP section. Leather seats and better lighting.
I note where I plan on sitting most of the night.
At the front, the burly bartender wipes away grime from his glasses. He seems consumed by his work, not bothered by the music or the light or indeed, the two men on the stools close by.
No women sitting at the bar. That's a bad sign for me.
I scan inside again, closely.
Wait, no. There's two. They aren't together, unfortunately for me. One is drinking from a tall glass by herself, checking her phone from time to time.
The other is engaged in a lively conversation with a youngish looking man. The way they both speak...so closely together. They're a couple. They sit closest to the bar, at one of the round tables.
The lonely woman is sitting on one of the leather lounge seats. She seems confident and independent. My weakness. Better lighting, as well, makes it easier to make out her subtle prettiness.
I make the easy choice. That's my target. That's the reason I braved public roads to come to this place.
I walk up to the bar and order something.
It's my usual drink. Absolut, neat. I don't do fancy, mixed cocktails. I'm stubbornly old school in that, which has been unfortunate for my clubbing prospects.
The bartender nods impassively and disappears for a moment under the stacks of drinks behind him.
One of the two men sitting at the bar is asleep. His snores are loud enough to bother every one here, although no one seems to notice.
The other geezer has his head in his hands. I can't tell if hes qiuetly moaning or singing. He's not moving around much.
Rough night, probably.
My drink arrives. I hit the first shot in one go. The tangy, oily taste saturates my throat. I feel the cool liquid flow downward, into my gut.
I'm sure my liver grumbles a protest. My head burns slightly.
I wait a moment, glance back at the lonely girl.
She seems intent on whatever she's viewing on her phone. She sits still, flicking her thumb downward, scrolling the screen.
I'm struck by her cuteness again.
She's not really all that
, I realize, but damn, she's the only single woman here.
I wonder how many men have approached. Have failed. I glance back at the two men sitting next to me. No change in their movements since I arrived.
I wonder if the moaning geezer tried to speak to her.
I wonder, and then I wonder why I care? I'll succeed where they failed. I probably have better game than all of them.
I shake my head. I might be losing already.
But hell, the way I see it, I'm the only viable candidate left in the bar to show her a good time.
The thought helps.
The bartender returns with another shot. I drink this one more slowly, allowing the clear, silky smoothness of the liquid to envelop my chest.
I feel my inhibitions slipping, the fear, the thoughts, everything that holds me back...I feel it all drown under the Absolut.
I check my watch. 12:30. Dammit. A small voice warns.
I have to work early tomorrow, but I need this.
I slide off the stool and walk slowly over to the lounge area. My heart should be racing, and maybe it is, but the drink is doing it's job.
I search myself, finding nothing but anticipation..."