It was supposed to be one round of drinks. No girls, no wild night out, no arrests. No shots, no bong hits, no midgets. A drink between two bros who had grown so accustomed to the comfort of their former long-term girlfriends they didn’t know the first thing about what it meant to ‘go out’.
But it wasn’t.
It was more.
A lot more.
Matt took the stool at the end of the bar and Keith followed suit.
“One beer. That’s it,” said Keith.
“I get it dude. You’ll be watching t.v. at your place in no time, don’t even worry about it.
Matt ordered two beers and soon the close friends were sipping light beers as they watched the bloopers reel on the television behind the counter.
“I love these clips,” said Keith.
Matt nodded, took a handful of bar nuts, then tossed them in his mouth. He took a good look around the place as he chewed. About four girls, three of whom were surrounded by ‘pool guys’ and one who was sitting by herself, anxiously looking at her phone. ‘Pool guys’ were those guys who stood around the pool table leaning on the sticks, messing with their hair, and smiling at any girls who walked by in hopes they could get them in a game then impress them with their ‘stick skills’.
“What about her?” said Matt. He coughed after he said it, and for the first time noticed his mouth was starting to burn.
Kieth looked over. “What about her?”
“I thought we said no girls.”
“You said no girls.”
Keith groaned and returned to his drink. “She’s waiting for her date to get here. She has no interest in meeting anyone.”
Matt turned to face her. She did look pretty invested in her phone.
“I’m gonna go over there and find out,” Matt said, then coughed. “These bar nuts are fucking hot.”
“I thought we said no girls!”
Matt smiled then pat Keith on the shoulder. “No my friend. You said no girls.”
Matt strode over to the girl as casually as possible. He kept one hand in his jean pocket and tried his best to ignore the intense burning his tongue was starting to feel. When he stopped at her table the blonde girl finally looked up. She eyed him up and down, twirled the curly lock dangling by her ear, then chewed her gum a little more obnoxiously and smirked.
Matt smirked back. An inviting smile was always a good sign.
“Hey beautiful. I noticed you from across the room and wondered,” said Matt, before stopping to cough. “I was wondering if you,” he said, before stopping again. The last few words he barely choked out.
“Yeah?” said the blonde girl. “Wondering if I what?” She raised her eyebrows.
Matt turned to the group of guys to the left of him. They were pointing and laughing at him. On the table in the middle of them sat a bottle of “Wild Dragon’s Flaming Hot Sauce.”
Matt stared back at them, then over to the peanuts on the bar counter, then back to them.
“Who’s this?” Said someone behind him.
A hand grabbed Matt by the shoulder and whirled him around. He looked up to see the giant figure in the leather jacket standing over him.
“I don’t know,” said the blonde girl, as she smacked her gum. “I think he’s hitting on me.”
“That right?” said the giant.
Matt looked over to the end of the bar for Keith – but Kieth was already gone.
“You pussy,” Matt muttered to himself. He gulped painfully, then rolled his fingers into his palm until he had a tightly clenched fist. He winced his eyes close and took one last breath. It was time for action.
To be continued…
– Thomas M. Watt