I was a week behind in writing my spring cocktail menu. I say I wait til the last minute because I work best under pressure but really I’m just an irresponsible dawdler. Our designer was already barking up my tree for the sixteen spring cocktail creations which would fill out the masthead of his National Geographic spoof menu. He sent us the proofs. They were stunning. They only lacked drinks...
But it wasn’t my fault... read the rest
I knew she was coming. She had called as I was out the door toward work and told me she was flying in to surprise me for my birthday. She called on her way to the airport.
I cast a glance around the apartment. Tumbleweeds of doghair in every corner. Rumpled bed. Overflowing laundry hamper. There were tumblers and plates in the sink and my desk was a frenzy of typewriter pages surrounded by crumpled drafts and crusty rags.
I tidied what I could and headed to work.
The sultry evening pulsed with energy as I surfed the wave, riding hard to keep ahead as I worked through new recipes. I adjusted here and there, memorizing a handful of early leaders by sheer reps.
Toward the end of the evening some of our friends from nearby sister bars came in and occupied the corner, enjoying the show.
My server laid a drink tray on the bar to collect an order. "Dude, you'll never believe this."
She flounced into the bar at the end of a hectic Saturday night and laid claim to a section of the mahogany far broader than her willowy body would seem to need. A set of rental keys at her elbow, a yellow legal pad scrawled thick with notes under the other, she planted her palms wide and heaved a sigh. Read the rest...
It's early evening. I can tell, because I shot out the streetlight with a pellet gun, to see the night better from my porch. Crickets chirp from somewheres nearby. My skin smells sunbaked. I take a sip from the Old Fashioned balanced on my thigh. Half a joint leans charred and resting on the brass edge of the old sawed-off artillery shell butt that I use for an ashtray, like my grandfather before me. Some classic guitar solo washes over the scene as I brainstorm cocktails for next season's menu.
“Goodnight. Thanks for coming in.” I leaned across the mahogany to offer my cheek with utmost courtesy. She moved in, and I turned my head, kissing her lips.
“Gotcha!” I crowed. “Ha! I just stole a kiss from a cop. I’m adding that to my bucket list right now, and checking it off"...read more
He was already jolly when he lumbered in for happy hour accompanied by his grizzled buddy in a construction vest.
“Two Jack and Cokes please,” he said.
“Right on,” I said. These guys didn’t really fit in with our crowd, but who can deny a working man a drink? Even if he looked like a vagrant—read more
The melee of a dinner rush has always struck me as a nonviolent battlefield—a live-action war-game executing strategy through tactics; different units operating in their intersecting theaters, everyone maneuvering and straining to maximize efficiency, to scrounge up resources; everyone hyper-alert and buzzing with techniques and experience; everybody feeding on each other, thriving or crashing on the pivot of one misstep; and all the while running a good-natured rivalry between units.
Most of the time good-natured...read the rest
I rolled up and appraised the place. A bright corner of floor-to-ceiling windows thrust amid a toughed-up residential block where weeds were taking heavy casualties but holding strong. A place where abandoned houses were begrudgingly giving way to fixer-uppers as the vanguard of gentrification moved in. All down the block, For Sale signs vied for territory with No Trespassing notices.
A whiskey barrel propped the door open, so I strode in feeling hopeful. read on...