“That’s about all I can stand this week.” Candace said, as she picked up the phone and dialed Sandra’s phones number.
“Fifteen hundred dollars just to get my car fixed, what’s next. Never mind, forget I said that. ” She said, as she looked upward as if not wanting to provoke the forces that are.
“Sandra, will you just be there, please.” When Sandra did not answer the phone, an answering service told Candace to leave a message at the sound of the beep, Candace just said she would call back later and hung up.
“I hate answering machines.” Candace walked over to look out the window. Pushing the curtains aside, she peered through the glass to see rain soaked sidewalks, shimmering in the reflection of the streetlights.
“The seventh of November, the worst week I have ever had. I am going out anyway. Bar night is bar night, even if I have to go alone."
After Candace had her shower and was dressed, she stood for a long moment, to look in the mirror. Long shining black hung in natural waves draped over her left shoulder and midway down her back. Her gray silk blouse caressed an ample bust line and tapered with folds into a pair of size six black dress pants. Candace was satisfied with her body the way it was, but she thought it would not hurt her to gain a few pounds.
Her face was another thing. She had creamy llightly bronzed skin tone and the facial structure of a Polynesian princess, many people had told her, but all she saw was the small scar over her eyebrow and a nose that she thought was a bit too large. “Well, I guess it could be worse, after all, the bruises could be on my face.” She laughed quietly, as she left the bedroom went down the stairs, grabbing her purse off the kitchen cabinet, and then heading for the front door. When she locked the door behind her, she glared at the brand-new, one-hundred and forty seven dollar doorknob.
When Candace got to her driveway, she walked up to the front tire, of her six-year-old royal blue, Toyota Corona, and kicked it. “Ouch.” She yelled, and promptly, with less force, kicked it again. “For that price, you had better work perfect for the rest of my life. You have cost me my life savings you know.” Growling in anger and pain, she got into to her car, closed the door, started it up, backed out of the driveway and headed for the bar.
Candace had never been to the club, she was going to tonight, but Sandra had been trying to convince her to go with her for a month. They were supposed to go together tonight. “Oh well. Maybe she will meet me there later.” Candace shrugged and turned the radio on.
She turned on the easy listening station, in hopes that it would help to calm her frayed nerves so that she might enjoy her night out. The drive to the club was blissfully uneventful.
Pulling into the parking lot, Candace turned off her car, lights and got out. Looking up at the flashing neon sign that towered, on a post, over the parked cars, Candace began to laugh. “I get it now. When Sandra called this place the bar, she meant, ‘The Bar.’ Now that was a double entendre if I ever heard one.”
Everyone turned to look at her, when she entered the bar. Candace felt a little shy and uncomfortable having so many looking her way. After a few moments, the buzz of conversation resumed.
She knew was not a beautiful woman, but she was pretty in an exotic way. With long shiny black hair that came to the middle of her back and with her large round, charcoal, doe eyes and only twenty nine years old. She always had men looking at her. Her build, her friends told her, “was to die for.” The difference tonight was that everyone seemed to be staring, not looking. Candace straightened her back, and walked up to the bar.The bartender was drying the drink glasses when Candace approached the bar.
What can I get you to drink?” He said, as he put down the bar towel.
Candace was looking at the most gorgeous man she had ever seen in her life. She felt the lower part of her abdomen start to tingle. This is so strange. Candace thought as she looked appraisingly at him. Why am I feeling so odd, this has never happened to me before? He was tall, at least six foot four with a lumberjack’s muscular build, sandy blonde-hair, not short, but at collar length. Candace decided that a strange feeling like the one she was having right now was worth investigating farther, at some other time. Not tonight, no, for tonight, she wanted nothing to do with men at all. Candace sat down on a stool.
"I think I want a salty dog, make it easy on the salt and light on the dog, please.”
The bartender nodded in response to Candace’s drink order. The Bar was starting to fill up and Candace thought the place would probably be full in another hour or so. Country music was playing on the old-time jukebox. There were sounds all around that implied people, overall, were celebrating the arrival of Friday.
Candace wished she could say the same thing for herself. The bartender returned with her drink, and Candace paid him, said thank you and picked up her glass. When she had the glass about halfway to her mouth, someone jostled her arm causing her drink to go flying out of her hand directly onto the bartender. The bartender had a shocked look on his face. Candace was so embarrassed.
“I’m so sorry, I-“Candace was interrupted by the drunken man who had bumped into her.
“Oh baby, ta-night is your lucky night, I’mm the man of your dreams.” He said in his drunken slur. “You’ve never aad a man like me afore, you wan me now don’t-ch.”
Candace was mortified. She closed her eyes and put her head in her hands.
“What did I ever do to deserve this, tonight? Especially after the week I’ve had.” To the drunk she said “Go away, please, just go away."
“Leave the lady alone and go on home George.” The bartender said, as he started wiping up the spilled drink off the bar and himself. “Go on now.” He repeated when George showed no interest in leaving.
“Aw-shucks, Stacks, I was jist uh sweet talkin her. Ain’t nuttin wrong wid me a doin that. Nuttin a ‘tall I tells ya.”
With a mischievous look on his face, Stacks smiled and said, “If there isn’t anything wrong with it, then why is Mable’s face starting to turn red? And if I’m not mistaken, I would say that that has to be steam coming out of her ears.”
Everyone at the bar turned to look behind George. Sure enough, Mable’s face was turning a deep red. She also appeared to have steam coming out of her ears. Of course, it was only an illusion caused by the bar’s lighting as well as the situation. Everyone, including Candace, started to laugh. Everyone, that is, except George and Mable.
Candace noticed that with the exception of the music playing in the background, there were no other sounds in the bar. Not one chair scraped the old hardwood floor, nor did she hear the tinkling sound of ice in a glass. Everyone had stopped doing whatever they were doing and all eyes were on George and Mable.
George’s face slowly started draining of color. By the time he turned to see his wife, his face was deathly white...
“M-M-Mable darlin” he stuttered. “I wasn’t doin nuttin…. Nuttin a ‘tall, sweetie, sugah-pie, honey-pie, dumpli-“ George’s words were abruptly cut off as Mable reached out, grabbed him by the ear, turned and left the bar, with George in tow and yelling, “Ouch, ouch, aw Mable, darlin, let go of me ear, all the way to the door. Mable never said a word.
“Wow. That is one big woman. She must be six foot tall and I bet she weighs, at least one hundred pounds, more than George does. I sure wouldn’t want her angry with me.” The woman on the stool next to Candice said.
“Hi, I’m Gloria James. Our bartender here is Stacks” She said as she reached out to shake Candace’s hand.
”I’m Candace Baker, nice to met you.”
“Stacks handed Candace another drink, “this drink is on the house.” He offered with a smile.
“No, that is not necessary I will pay for it. After all, it was not your fault.” Candace argued.
“Don’t worry about it. I will just put it on George’s tab; Mable will be in tomorrow to settle the bill with me. She always does.”
Stacks introduce himself to Candace. “I’m Stacy Chaney. Stacks, is what my friends call me. I’m the bartender and the owner of 'The Bar.' I am sorry you had to meet George that way. George is a nice person, until he gets drunk. The best thing about what happened here tonight, is that old George will be so embarrassed the next time I see him.”
Laughing, Candace introduced herself to Stacks and shook his hand. Stacks went back to pouring drinks.
“Not only is he handsome, but he’s single too.” Gloria said, in a conspiratorial voice, as she leaned over towards Candace.
“He is georgeous, and single too? But not tonight,I have declared men off limits, at least for a little while. I have had my fill of men this week.” Candace remarked.
Laughingly, Gloria said, “If your week was as bad as what just happened with George tonight, then I understand.”
“To tell you the truth Gloria, that was probably the best thing that happened this week.”
“You must be kidding. I am all ears if you would like to talk about it, and I would love to hear to your story”
“Are you sure Gloria? If you would not mind listening, I really would appreciate having someone to talk to, or should I say, vent my frustrations on. My cat is so tired of hearing about it now, that she walks out of the room when she sees me coming."
“Let’s find a table in the corner where we can be more comfortable, and you can tell me all about it.