the unspoken bond between bartender and lush

I was sitting on my regular barstool, chatting with Porny, when a middle-aged guy sat next to me. We didn't interact much, mostly because there was something offputting about him that I couldn't quite put my finger on. Eventually he went to the bathroom, and Porny immediately said, "That guy is seriously creeping me out."

"Me too!"

For all our many differences, she and I do tend to be annoyed by the same people. The latest returned to his barstool, and for reasons known only to her, Porny sought to engage him. "Whatcha got going on today?" she said.

He then proceeded to babble about how he'd sued Russell Wilson for $37 millionĀ for hitting him in a football game and won, and he was wondering what to spend all that money on. Porny nodded and squirmed, but she could not extricate herself from the conversation. Bug eyed, he started asking her invasive personal questions.

Fuck me, I thought. I am never going to be able to leave. "Hey, look at my hands," I said, trying to bail her out. "See how as soon as I have even one drink, they stop trembling?"

"Good," she replied gravely. "Because you're probably going to need them."

All told, I would remain 2.5 hours longer than I wanted. As soon as he left, she cashed me out. "Thanks for staying," she said.

"I thought he was never going to leave."

"I saw the exact moment you realized you were stuck here," she laughed. "Your expression was like I'd asked you to carry a couch up 10 flights of stairs."