BEHIND THE BAR™
A Scrumptious Concoction from Belltown
by Jules Milan, Fiction Community Contributor
I’m a lawyer by day and a bartender by night.
Trust me; never trust a lawyer. One of my own set me up, and I’m facing two years of disbarment, so I had to find a back-up job. I started bartending at a dive bar in Belltown. Honest work.
This one January day, I was winding up a particularly nasty child custody case at Superior Court. The couple was ready to fight all night; neither side would budge. The husband had been caught by one of their young kids, who walked in on naked daddy “punishing” the Swedish babysitter on her “backside”. My client was the wife, and there was no way she was ever going to allow him near the kids now. Eight hours of mediation, but the judge was still pushing us to settle. But I had to get to my job. Honest money. I kept checking my cellphone and was running so late that I had to ask for a continuance, even though I knew it would cost me points with my client and with the judge.
I grabbed my rain gear and rushed past the metal detectors through the revolving doors into the biting cold. It was already pitch black at 5pm and the rain was blasting sideways off the Sound. I lost my footing on the torn-up side walk along First Ave swearing as I turned an ankle. It took forever to get a taxi in the traffic and I arrived 15 minutes late for my happy hour shift.
I threw off my suit jacket and slipped on my low-cut glitter top that I had stuffed in my briefcase next to my legal brief that morning. My long brown hair was damp, sleek, and straight. I looked into the bar mirror and slapped on a fast coat of red lipstick with gloss. I checked my glassware, well drinks and soda gun. It was time to make some money. I had big bills to pay. I’m always worried that one of my kids will show up at the bar and get embarrassed, but I’m paying their college loans so I figure they can get over being judgmental.
We have a cool, noisy bar where hip, nerd and sexy intersect. Usually the older folks leave by 9pm and the young ones arrive by 10. As we waited for a local jazz combo to start, the regulars were talking over the day and drinking Mac’s and Manny. They were casually watching a fresh crop of young girls parading around to the beat of the DJ. They wobbled on ridiculously high FM Pumps, stretching their Band-Aid skirts two sizes bigger. The girls were obviously eying the lonely guys sitting at the bar in suits and the computer techies hiding behind their cellphones. ¬The bohemians were lost in pseudo-intellectual conversation and didn’t bother to look up.
The bar was starting to get a hot vibe when there was yelling and scuffling outside the door. This was not really unusual because the druggies and mentally ill own the streets in Belltown. But then there were several shots and our window cracked. Everyone shoved their way out of the bar to find a black male lying face down on a bloody curb with a bullet hole in the side of his head where his ear and cheek should have been. His greasy hoodie had “Wilson” in big letters across the back, and he was saturated in blood. He had a scar across his eye and his black meth teeth muddy from impact of the fall. His jeans were sagging low, exposing worn-out boxers. Oddly he had on Nike Mag’s, some of the most expensive athletic shoes made and he clenched a smartphone in his cold dead hand.
Some of the customers had also gotten a good look at a pasty white male with a thin goatee running from the scene with a pocket knife lodged in his back shoulder. He was yelling some type of Slavic language at another man parked in front and they sped off over the curb clipping a newsstand box. The bar security were yelling and people were screaming to call the police and an ambulance.
The news crew rolled up first and then the police about a half hour later. They police said there were pimps moving into Belltown from Lynnwood. They had crossed into each other’s territory and some of the prostitutes who were working on the inside of our bar were poaching business. After the police left, one of the customers brought me the dead man’s cellphone. It had fallen into the brush and started ringing. I just stared when I saw the caller ID login. I don’t know why I stared so long but I couldn’t process what I saw. I put it in a plastic bag in a drawer under the cash register, knowing this would be important evidence for the SPD.
The coroner’s report would probably just read “black male” but he would be “Wilson” to us. He was one of our street urchins and he was part of the complex tapestry that makes Belltown both gritty and electric.
We all went back in and wrapped arms around each other. We felt like a violated family. One of the customers, a high-roller from Medina, whose pension I saved in a five year divorce, bought drinks for everybody at the bar. I added extra shots to this drink to calm our nerves and we named it the “Belltown Shooter”. The large tips were appreciated.
Belltown Shooter Recipe
1/2 oz Southern Comfort® peach liqueur
1 1/2 oz Stolichnaya® vodka (optional extra shot)
1/2 oz Grenadine
1 extra shot of splash Grey Goose® L’Orange vodka
Ice (from filtered water)
Fill a rocks glass with ice, a quarter full of Southern Comfort, then fill the rest of the way with the Stoli (preferably stored in freezer) Grenadine and OJ, leaving a small amount of room at the top. Then splash a bit of the Grey Goose to top it off. Sit or collapse and enjoy!
Approx. 37% (74 proof)
Serve in: Copper Glass
Calling all citizen readers. Who was on the caller ID and what should Jules do with the evidence?
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