As I stepped through the doorway, I took my pack of Newport 100's out of my jacket pocket before hanging it up on the coat rack. I had heard around town that an important man would be here, and here he was, indeed.
I walked to the bar and placed my cigarettes on the counter as I ordered a shot of Evan Williams. I asked the guy next to me if he had a light, but his stubble ridden face shook his head in the negative direction.
“Shit,” I said before rising up and retrieving the lighter from the same pocket that my cigarettes were unearthed from. Before I could make my way back to my seat, a brunette haired bombshell entered and changed my intentions from murder to sweet talk.
“Hey, beautiful. I swear I've seen you somewhere before. You from the South?”
Her eyes lit up like street lights, face redder than a stop sign as she gave her answer, as smooth as can be.
“Lived there for a year. With a guy like you. I know what you're about.”
“A guy like me? No, love, you must be mistaken. There is no guy like me.”
She chuckled at my answer, and hung her coat up. As she turned around, she asked how I'd known she was from the hotter regions of our depleting country.
“All you women, you have that look about you. I guess you can call it a Sixth Sense.”
“Ok, M Night,” she retorted, “where are you drinking?”
I directed her to my seat.
“Usually the question is what am I drinking, but I'll answer both. Hey barkeep, give her what I'm having.”
She glanced back at me with a sly smile, her hair dangling just below her brow. “How do you know what I drink?”
“Vodka and red bull if I had to guess, but tonight you're drinking whiskey straight.”
“Oh am I really?”
The bartender slid her shot glass in her vicinity, and I answered her question with a mere head shake.
I had been drinking since 5, and hell, I had every right to. The hell that I had endured for the past month a half would drive any rational man to go on a binge. The Knicks were on the TV in front of the bar counter, but she wasn't interested?
“More of a football girl, are ya?”
“Love the Saints, and yourself?”
“Dallas,” I replied with a chuckle, “not all it's cracked up to be. More misery than it's worth. But we did make Brees cry that one time.”
She rolled her eyes at my claim and demanded another shot from the bartender.
“Typical woman, spending money that isn't yours.”
“I guess you could say that,” she said with a look of sarcasm on her face.”
I finally sat down next to her and scooted my chair up. It was cold in here, cold as an ex lovers heart, but what could you expect for late November in upstate New York?
“No friends out with you tonight, beautiful?
“I'm more of a loner,” she remarked, as her drink came back to her, “fill him up too, lord knows he needs it.”
“Now who's the one making assumptions?” I asked.
She tipped her glass back and I got lost in her eyes. I've never been one to meet a potential love interest at a bar, but here we were. Both gazing at the autographed pictures of many Buffalo greats.
“Looks like they get their fair share of celebrated patronage, huh? Don't think I need to leave a tip.”
“That's just rude. You always leave a tip. These people work hard for peanuts.”
I laughed before agreeing with her sentiment.
“I had a waitress argue with me about Johnny Football a couple months ago and still left a tip. Was only joking.”
I reached for my pack of cancer and lit one up in a smoke free atmosphere. Almost as soon as the lighter touched the front end of my smoke, the bartender came over to contest with my actions. The burly, grey haired bartender walked over to us and said I wasn't permitted to do that.
“Ha. Says who? You? The law? If you have issue with this, you'll never allow me back here after tonight.”
I deaded my cigarette on the counter top before standing up from the bar stool.
“Nice talking to you, gorgeous. Another time, yeah?”
The timing wasn't right. I'd be back, and so would she.