the sound – Harlequin – Thinking of You, Rod Stewart – Do You Think I’m Sexy, Van Halen – Feel Your Love Tonight, Nick Gilder – Hot Child in the City, The Doors – Love Me Two Times, MeatLoaf – Paradise by the Dashboard Light, Lynyrd Skynard – Sweet Home Alabama, Dire Straits – Brothers in Arms
The plan unfolded on a phenomenally busy Saturday night in the bar.
We’d been rocking and rolling all night long and by the end of the shift the 13 members of the wait staff, the 8 bouncers & doormen, both other bartenders and myself had worked and sweated together in the summer heat in that non air conditioned bar to a really large crowd of very serious partiers – we were burnt toast tired, but the kind of good tired that comes from working hard and laughing our asses off.
We’d served more booze in one shift than we had collectively for several nights and I chalked that up to the fact that the band was currently ‘hot’ across the country. Harlequin had played with us on an average of once a month for a year, but now that their record had hit they were attracting the looky loo’s as well as the groupies and the rockers. And with the looky loo’s, groupies and rockers came booze sales plain and simple.
Frankie and Bennie had spent the night holding court in the bar. They sat at a large table just below the mezzanine and they treated the wait staff like their own personal slaves.
Everyone hated it when they ended up in their section because they wouldn’t tip anyone if it were to save their souls. But those two hoods, by the very breath of their existence expected, even demanded to be treated like landed gentry and were always throwing their weight around, showing off like. In the end most of the girls put up with it because the rest of the bar could be a big tip place to work and big tip jobs were hard come by and pissing off one of those thugs could chase you right out the door…cos sure as god made little green apples those two tough guys would run to their daddy Do-all and that would be the end of that.
Around midnight I turned around from the beer coolers back to face the bar with my hands full of bottles of stubby beers to find Frankie standing between me and the bar itself. I tried to step around him but he kept in my way. He was acting funny and had one hand behind his back.
What do you want Frankie? I asked just barely disguising my distrust.
He brought his hand out from behind his back with not one, but one dozen roses and offered them to me. My first thought was that they musta cost a mint cos those ‘Rose Ladies’ that traveled from bar to bar selling roses and teddy bears to drunks charged huge amounts for their wares…my second thought was that Frankie was definitely up to something.
What do you want Frankie? I asked again, this time my disgust dripping from my voice.
“I just want to give the pretty Baby some flowers” Frankie simpered as he leaned towards me and shoved the roses into my beer filled hands forcing me to catch them with my arms. “and to say…..a friend is a friend and family is family….right Baby?”
Whatever!” was my reply as I stepped around him to drop all the beer and roses on the bar.
“well good then” he said from behind me as I bent towards snapping the lids off of the 8 beers the waitress in front of me had been waiting for. “that’s it then.” He said as he wiped his hands down the front of his suede vest and walked away.
I scooped up the roses and threw them in a draught jug and smacked them between the bottles on the lower shelf of the bar. “That prick is up to something I just know it” ran thru my head before the next waitress in line started to bawl out her order and I immediately moved on to the matter at hand….making money.