The snow fell that morning. I was feeling a little bit down because of my situation. I lost my job and got in a fight with my best friend. Even if I lost my job temporarily, because Bob, the owner of the bar I worked in and my boss, got drunk and mad, which might have been my fault (there’s a rule I’ve learned through all these years of my life – I’m not that old though, dont’ be so judgemental, only 34 – now, back to the rule: never tell an alcoholic to sober up!). And even if my best friend is a cat and he won’t be mad for long, I still felt kind of down.
Snow fell touching my face softly, my black hair was covered with it in seconds. I almost started dancing out there, but held myself in control – couldn’t let Bob see me dancing happily through his window, I might never get my job back. So I went home after a very short shift, that I’m sure isn’t over yet. Bob will call me the second I get home. So I went to a pet store and bought some cat delicacy with salmon, which I knew Joe would like. It’s my cat. Joe is my cat.
When I got home I got a call from Bob – just as I thought. Also fed Joe, because he was still pissed. He ate and looked at me. I was waiting for verdict. Joes’ green eyes scanned me and he decided to meow and purr.
‘Good boy’ I said and stroked his back. His black fur was soft and messy. I then got my laptop in a bag and left through the door. ‘See you this evening, sir Joe’ I said and closed the door.
Work went casually. I have my regular customers – mostly women in their fourties that drank martinis and margaritas and there always were a few local male alcohol enthusiasts. Bearded, smelly from hard work and loud, talking, laughing and hitting on my spectators. Different people from around the city came in everyday. I made some amazing coctails, heard some people discuss and reach a consensus – I’m the best. And single, too.
Bob came to me. ‘Hey you! Sorry about today, Steve! I wasn’t myself this morning’ he laughed and touched my shoulder. I always thought that he was at least a little bit bisexual, or he just liked touching people softly that much.
‘No problem, Bob! Pardon me for telling you what to do, mate.’ I said and turned to making coctails. People acted weirdly towards me talking. Apparently, I was too straight forward. Eventually I stopped talking in vain, but whenever I said something people would still look surprised. So did Bob. Or maybe he was just a little too into me.
After my shift I was cleaning the bar table and a lady came to talk to me. The bar wasn’t closed yet but most people were already out.
‘Hello, my name’s Vanessa. I was wondering, maybe you’d like to go out for dinner with me?’ the lady said. She looked a little out of space here with her red tight dress with, a decollete so deep I could see her underwear through it. Looking at her face I was amazed by the fact that she wasn’t drunk after all this time here, she came here with a male companion about the same time I did. Or she was that good at hiding it. Her eyes were almost as green as Joes’. Yes, I compared ladys’ eyes to my cats’. I’m just not that into people.
‘Hey, Vanessa. I feel flattered, really. But I’d have to refuse your invitation, I saw that you came here with a male fellow about the same age as me and without telling you the details on how I assume stuff, but I think you’d rather spend the rest of the night with that gentleman.’ I said. She looked taken a back. Maybe it was true, or maybe it wasn’t, but anyways, I didn’t want to go out with this Vanessa. She left jus after I finished my sentence. But then Bob showed up.
‘You know, it’s not how you get a young and beautiful lady like her to have sex with you. And I wasn’t expecting that such a handsom man like you would manage to ruin such scenario with three sentences.’ Bob noted. He looked desperate. I turned to him sympathetically.
‘Sorry to disapoint you, comrade. But I’m not very fond of human company in my bed. My mother is always complaining and fighting me about my life style. I believe, she wants grandchildren and a daughter-in-law, or at least a son-in-law, but I’d rather just live alone with my companion Joe.’ I looked at him to check if he understood my point. He then looked disapointed and astonished. ‘Joe is a cat.’ I explained. Bobs’ mouth formed an o and I just finished cleaning up. ‘Oh, Bob! I’d like to go away for a termless period. In a week or so, do you think, it’s possible?’ I asked. Bob turned back at me. It seemed that he had a variety of emotions going on, mostly anger, understanding, anger, then I guess he tried to think of a solution or a way to make me stay, understanding again, anger again. A narrow range of emotions I’d say.
‘Uhh.. yeah.. sure, Steve. But are you sure you want to quit? Maybe I could convince you to stay? A rise, maybe? You’re the best bartender, man!’ Bob said.
‘I’m not leaving right now. I have to take care of some business. You know, library books, taxes and other things. I’m staying for one more week maybe, you can find someone to replace me.’ I said. Although I felt flattered by his words, I was bored of the rutine, me and Joe had to heat things up a bit. I had an RV in the garage of the house I lived in, it was the time for me to travel a bit.
I was working in Bobs’ bar for more or less two years already. Me and Joe traveled most of the time since I graduated from university, stopping for a month or few to settle and rest from travelling. This town was an exception, we stayed for much too long. Maybe it’s time for us to settle. Or maybe I fell in love with Bobs’ bar. Who knows.
Bob closed the bar and we went home – he was my neighbour. He was the first person I met when came to this town. He was a bit tipsy that day, but he offered me a spot in his bar and to talk to the hostess of the house he lived in, because just recently there’s been an emptied flat. We moved in the same day and lived in that flat since.
While walking home, a black shiny car drove by slowly. But it didn’t stop. I felt something moving in my stomach. Anxiety. I took Bob by his elbow and pulled him casually into a back yard of some house. He looked surprised, confused and hungover. I took my phone out and called Bobs’ brother Harry.
‘Hello, Harry. Are you in town?’ I said.
‘Yes, how did you know, Steve?’ He laughed to the phone.
‘I didn’t actually. Look through the window, mate. Is there a black shiny car by our house?’ I asked impatiently. Bob looked at me like he was surrounded by question marks that were bugging him.
‘Umm.. sure, I’m just gonna..’ you could hear him standing up. ‘Uhh.. yeah.. Steve, there’s no such car, you know our neighours are… oh. Right, there’s a car there. It just drove into the driveway.’ He seemed tense.
‘Harry, could you come by Bobs’ bar and get us? We will be waiting. Don’t rush.’ I said and hung up.
‘What’s happening?’ Bob asked. It was hard for him to concentrate.
‘Let’s go.’ I said and we went back to the bar to wait for Harry. ‘The lady, Vanessa, who came to talk to me today just before we had to close the bar. She was with a man. I saw it. I’m afraid, they are looking for me. I’m sorry Bob, I will have to leave tonight.’ I finished and we got to the bar in time for Harry to pick us up.