As I stepped from the cold rain into the dingy bar I wondered if I had found the right place. I scanned the room and saw three aging barflys, a half-dead, middle-aged female bar tender, and a dog. The woman was smoking, flouting the recent changes to regulations with regard to smoking in bars, but it gave me hope that she might not give a shit about me smoking in her place. She clocked me;
“Evenin’ sugar. What can I getcha?”
I thought about this for a moment and decided not to veer too far from obvious domestic brands. Of course if I had found the wrong place I would be leaving, but there was no sense in making waves;
“Bud’n’a shot o’ Blackjack, please Hun.”
She smiled, winked and went to work. The barflys nodded, as if to say ‘A young’un but he knows how it’s done’.
Ten minutes later I was on first name terms with Ted, George and Frank who were propping up the bar and more than that I knew that they all served together in ‘Nam. Steph behind the bar had apparently been sweet on each of them at some point…