August 09, 2005
a bartending story
I think I blogged about this before, but if I did, it's buried deep in my archives. It's a story worth telling again.
I was supposed to open the bar at 4:00 in the afternoon. I drove by the owner's house to pick up the keys and my $150 bank. I went to River Street, opened the bar, turned on all the lights, put my bank in the register, turned on the jukebox (we had special "house" quarters for that thing, just to make a little noise--- the quarters were dyed red and they stayed in a box next to the cash register), filled the ice bins and made sure the beer taps were primed and working.
I left the front door propped open to maybe lure in a few early customers. I was behind the bar when I saw a silouette appear in the door. It was a man holding a very LARGE gun. I almost shit my pants. I KNEW that I was about to be robbed and killed for my $150 bank that wasn't even MY money.
The guy walked up, laid a shotgun down on the bar and asked for a beer. I told him that I couldn't serve him if he was carrying a shotgun, and I ALSO told him that he scared the shit out of me walking in the way he did with that weapon.
He laughed and said, "Ya'know... I didn't even think about that. I guess I DID look kinda scary, but I just bought this thing. Whadda ya think of it?" and he handed it to me. It was a very nice Remington 12-gauge pump. Not loaded.
I handed it back to him and said, "Mister, I'll be more than happy to sell you all the beer you want to drink, but you've got to get that gun outta here."
He went to the parking lot, put the shotgun in the trunk of his car and returned to the bar. "Can I get a beer now?" he asked.
I poured him a beer, but my hands were still shaking. I thought I was gonna be killed that afternoon. At the age of 26, on a job that paid $1.20 an hour, for a $150 bank in the register. I didn't want to go in such a trivial fashion.
He actually turned out to be a very pleasant fellow, and he left me a good tip. But he scared the living shit out of me when he walked in the door. The only thing we kept behind the bar to handle bad-asses was an empty Galliano bottle, and that ain't no match for a shotgun.
Tend bar for a while and you'll have some stories to tell.
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