I was a bartender at a variety of LA dives through most of the 1980's and 1990's... though it was fun at the time, I can't really say that I miss it!
This piece was written in 1993, after I'd taken a bartending hiatus to go on tour with my band.
|"To All My Friends!" Mickey Roark in the film "Barfly"|
A few hours behind the bar and it all comes rushing back
the cigarette smoke hanging like a smog shroud, the whisky voices asking for another drink (on their tab, of course) coyly saying before they’ve even taken a sip,
“I’m gonna hate you in the morning!”
The aging, timeworn clichés and regulars – with an attitude – giving you the once-over while men ask for your phone number
in a broken chalk-scrawl of a voice
Patrons stealing tips off the bar…and thinking you don’t notice
People asking for drinks you’ve never heard of
Lousy tips left by people ordering Crown Royal, paying with crisp new twenties
Filling three orders at once, running the length of the bar
while people grab at your elbows like rabid dogs
All the dirty jokes
The cocktail waitress winking, inviting you into the ladies room for some blow
Small verbal fights breaking out at the bar; large physical fights breaking out in the parking lot
Fake ID’s and fresh young faces with glassy eyes and boozy breath and drunks banging on the bar with bottles of beer in time to the garbage on the jukebox
The house phone ringing off the hook with a whining alkie hag on the other end…her fifth call for someone who says he’s not there
As you break the lips of bottles in hasty removal of the caps
glass in your hands, blood running crimson into the ice
The pathetic onstage assuming rock-arena poses and playing
the inevitable cover of “C’mon Everybody”
Old barflies knocking over their fourth double shot
wrinkled elderly men willingly playing bar-back
for an occasional free beer, as you bend over into a cooler slimy and smelly with spilt ale
The quick disintegration of the people in front of you
The hyper-drive metamorphosis from being good-humored individuals of average intelligence turning into ornery drunks
There’s not much you can do but pour yourself a shot
and roll with the punches ‘til two a.m.
The piece you’ve just read is from my book, “Senorita Sin”, 1994, Incommunicado Press.
My latest book, “Showgirl Confidential: My Life Onstage, Backstage And On The Road” is available here: