Marks of history

The walls of the bar had long since been marked by the consumers, those who stayed and those who left. The boy stared at some of the gouges and asked the bartender why he didn’t repair them.

The bartender’s best customer laughed and responded instead. “Because that’s when Ku over there proposed to her wife. The fight beforehand sort of preempted it. Good memories.”

The boy didn’t understand that and said so.

“Eh, you’d have had to have been there. But I could tell you all about it anyway, if you’d li-”

He almost missed it, looking away, but at the corner of his eye he saw the bartender shaking his head. The customer paused, then shrugged.

“Nah. Maybe when you’re older.”

The boy was older than he was a minute ago. He said that too.

The customer laughed. “You’ve really got a keeper here, keep.”

Confused, the boy looked at the bartender, catching his smile.

The the boy and the bartender looked away from each other, embarrassed.

Drinks on the house

The bar was empty.

The bartender finished wiping off the last table, leaving the bar in the very condition he had opened it in. The cleanup, no matter what all had happened during the evening, had the same monotonous fix to it. He enjoyed the repetition, as much as he enjoyed the unexpected events that sprung forth from the patrons during the rest of the evening.

The bar was empty.

The small assortment of items that were left behind, as there always was. He put them in the same cabinet as he always did, recognizing some of them as belonging to regular clientele. No matter how careful anyone was, how drunk they weren’t, this always happened. Though he was certain one of these was done on purpose, though it appeared the person it was always left for would never notice who was trying to pick him up.

The bar was empty.

He sat down, alone, and poured himself a drink.

A good night’s work.