Saturday, October 14, 2006

trade secrets

“Just flash a twenty.”


“Flash a twenty,” I tell the guy beside me, some loser who’s been waiting for a drink, leaning desperately across the bar for the better part of five minutes. “Flash a twenty and you’ll get the bartender’s attention quicker. Pay with twenties for your first three drinks, and he’ll know you mean business. You won’t be waiting around like a chump after that. No way he’ll want you to walk out that door with a pocket full of unspent cash.”

The guy looks a little chuffed at my words, but reaches into his pocket for his wallet. There’s that initial look of panic when he finds it missing. Eyes fall to the floor, searching, and the poor idiot’s practically on his hands and knees inside of ten seconds.

I allow him to make an ass of himself for a moment before tapping him on the shoulder. He looks up at me, his eyes nearly feral.

“Another tip,” I say as he slowly stands up from the floor. “If you’re planning on leaning across the bar like that, you really shouldn’t keep your wallet in your back pocket.” I say this, and as I do, I toss his wallet onto the bar.

I smile as I watch a range of emotions flash across the guy’s face in half a second. Confusion. Realisation. Anger – the guy really wants to kill me, but is just smart enough to know not to try. Finally, there’s humility.

He mumbles something at me, I pretend it’s “Thanks,” and he withdraws a twenty from the coffers, clutching it in his hand on the bar.

The bartender is there in seconds, and a beer is slid into the guy’s eager little hand seconds after that.

But I’m not the kind of guy to say “I told you so,” so I just sit back and watch as the guy disappears into the crowd.

The bartender leans across the taps with a smirk on his face. “Spilling trade secrets again, I see?” he says.

“Somebody’s got to help these suckers out.”

“And who better to learn from?”

I chuckle.

"You’re one of the good ones, Casey,” the bartender says. “A real character, you know that?”

“Aw,” I say, with a depreciative wave of the hand, “I’ll bet you say that to every sucker in here.”

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