Bar Fly

It’s a late afternoon in spring, the an almost perfect New York City day, at least weather wise. Sunny, with a couple of cotton candy clouds to show just how deep the cerulean of the sky. Mid 60 degrees as a daytime high, a hint of chill in the air to have need a blazer or light jacket/sweater once the sun set. It was just after 6pm and technically evening, but the sun still owned the sky too much to concede to the imminent call of night yet. As people walk in they are momentarily blinded by the sudden dimness and blink slowly scanning the place as their eyes adjust.

A wall of two-seater dimly lit booths line one side of the wall giving off sense of intimacy that doesn’t truly exist. Not that it stopped one couple whose drinks and libido are getting the best of them. The better lighting is over the various sized wooden tables which crowd the center of the floor and a long oak monstrosity engulfs the far side of the bar. The bar itself with its intricate carved rail was worn dark and smooth at the top over the decades. A mirrored wall reflecting the myriad colored libations of various proofs available for consumption. Though a nice modern touch screen computer reigned next to it doing all the work, a huge old-fashioned brass cash register took center stage along the mirrored wall. Even in the relative dimness in general its tall columns, high arches for the numbers and keys were regularly polished until they gleamed. The décor which changed styles along with the owners over the years was now some half faded New England shore house meets Mexican hacienda hybrid with its aqua and teal hued canoes suspended from the ceiling, and sea colored striped serapes served as pseudo tapestry with the occasional seascape painting dotting the walls. Each booth and table had various centerpieces of miniature cacti with sand and seashells. It looked like Poncho Villa cum Martha Stewart. Did she sell sea shells on the Cancun sea-shore?

Three men are huddled in a group, slowly shrugging out of their uniform of expensive looking suits and polished shoes. One in a charcoal gray pin-stripe, has his royal purple tie loosened at the neck, the shirt sleeves of his stark-white on white striped shirt rolled-up to the elbows. A hint of dragon scales peek out from the half-sleeve tattoo. From the snatches of financial jargon I’m getting from their conversation I’d guess their all day-traders, making me wonder if he ever rolls his sleeves up in the office. He straddles his chair; the material of his slacks, move along the musculature of his solid legs. Argyle socks in purple and grays to match the rest are bunching around his ankles. The sloppiness of the socks are an almost welcome surprise after the clearly practiced orderliness of the rest of his attire. The little bit of calf showing indicates a light hirsuteness. It is confirmed by the dark tufts just peeking out above the neck of the undershirt worn under his shirt and on his lower arms casually drape over the back of the chair. In one hand he holds his beer bottle between his index and middle fingers, using his thumb for balance only when swinging it up to swig in some movie fed imitation of cool. The runs the other hand through already perfectly tousled hair. You just know he wants to shake it out, but restrains himself. His hair is dark, I bet he has a five o’clock shadow by noon. It was past midnight according to the shadows along his jaw now. The matching dark brows contrasted greatly with his light eyes. The irises were so light they reminded me of the zeroes used for eyes in the Little Orphan Annie cartoon strip. He was not conventionally handsome, but he had a certain something, he knew it and was clearly using it as he checked the females at a table in his line of vision.

The females are mostly artsy types wearing the stock in trade professional solid dark-colored slacks or skirts with vivid colored shoes or blouse, or some wildly patterned accessory. One goes even more bold with her vibrant necklace and boxy bangles, more than likely added on after five o’clock. Just adding that little extra pop of wow to prove they still have some bohemian left in them and have not totally sold their artistic souls to the corporate man. As Daytrader sidled up to one, she chats him up, but it’s pretty easy to see she’s only doing so to kill time, and is already eying the door for a potentially better option. After a few moments she’s clearly bored and returns to talking to her friends, giving Daytrader no choice but to return to his.

The place is animated, borderline loud, and all but reeks of the underlying facade of having a grand life. For most, this bar is just a diversion between work, loneliness and the inevitable weekly visit to the psychiatrist.

In other words, your average crowd, in your average bar, at your average after work happy hour.

The Daily Post – Weekly Writing Challenge: Person, Place, Thing

Daily Prompt: Good-bye

Early autumn.

Click.  Click.

He stands in front of the floor to ceiling picture window in the living room that faces the water.  Being near the apex of the hill gives him a nearly unobstructed view of the river, the bridge and the rest of the city spread out before it.  The glittering effect of the sun on the water is as picture perfect as the fluffy cotton candy clouds breaking the monotony of the azure sky above.

He does not see this.

Click.  Click.

The leaves are mostly green, but you can see the first of fall’s leaves on the lawns and sidewalks. A perfectly shaped, beautifully russet leaf lazily drifts from a tree in front of the brownstone to the street.  Even this early in the season you somehow know autumn is going to show off in a blaze of glorious color at its peak.

It does not so much as invite a shrug from him.

Click.  Click.

Children play on the sidewalk or in front yards enjoying the last vestiges of the day. Their occasional high peals of laughter break the relative silence of the late afternoon. It is a good hour before the streetlights come on and another half hour at least before the sun noticeably sets.

He does not notice.

Click.  Click.

The gentle swish-swish, swish-swish of leaves brushing against a window is somehow rhythmic.  It is the same gentle breeze causing the light curtains to sway in front of open windows as evening approaches.  Somewhere down the block just out of the line of vision the happy tunes of an ice cream truck are heard.

But not by him.

Click.  Click.

He has stood by the picture window long after the brilliant red, gold and indigo of sunset have paved the way for the now diamond studded navy night.  The grandfather clock in the front hall again chimes the passing hour.  The stereo is just barely audible above the regular sounds of the house.

The only thing he has heard and continues to hear in his mind is click.

Click.  Click. 

Click.  Click.

Click.  Click.

In reality, each click is no louder than of that of an old-fashioned typewriter key strike.  For him each is as loud as a cannon blast.

The sound of stiletto heels clicking against a marble floor of the foyer as they walk out of the door and his life.



Daily Prompt | What A Twist!