Hullo, Barry! Aren’t we looking particularly debonair tonight. Double G and T, if you please, easy on the T, this is not a malarial district, after all.

What’s that you say? Outstanding bar tab? I should say it was outstanding. I was in here from launch to landing—we piled that rickety tower high, did we not? But none to worry, my old friend, just roll it right into this one. There’s another you say? Roll them all together, Barry, let them converge, they’re bound to get along, and we’ll deal with them properly come night’s end—there’s a good chap.

It’s a relief actually. I was wondering where I’d misplaced those blasted tabs, I was afraid they were lost forever, and here they are, huddled cozily together under your watchful eyes. Pour, Barry, pour, it’s your duty in life, and what a noble duty it is.

John! How are you, sir! Fine weather we’re having if you can look past the sleet. What’s that? Ashamed to show my face? But why, John? My face may not be as handsome as yours, but—oh, have I offended you somehow? I did what? Called your Mary a whore, you say? And you a whore’s cuckold? Why, that neither sounds like me nor makes any sense. Whores don’t cuckold anyone; it goes against the nature of their trade. Let me buy you a drink and let bygones be bygones.

Barry, a—Coors Light, isn’t it, John?—and another large G easy on the T pour moi. Did you see what I did there, Barry? I could have said for me and had a nice little rhyme, but I opted to showcase my absolutely fraudulent command of la belle langue de francais.

Could you do me a favor, Barry, old chum? When you see my glass half empty, just go ahead and set another of your sparkling wonders before me. I believe we’ve reached that point in our relationship and there is nothing more despairing than the rattle of ice in an empty glass. Rips the heart right out of you. You know I want it, and I know you know I want it, so just pour, Barry, pour.

You know, Barry, there are those who incessantly whine and complain about how much money they spend during a jag, but I look at those errant funds and think, “I’ve given the industry a quite a shot in the arm. I’ve given cash to those who most likely deserve it more than I.” And who is more deserving than you, my bon ami?

What’s that? They only complain if they actually pay their tabs? Is that what you cruelly muttered, Barry? Oh, you’ll change your tune later, you’ll be doing a happy little jig when you see your sparkling reward, come closing time. Yes, you will be prancing merrily about like a fancy show dog.

Going to buy one back, Johnny Boy? Of course, you are. You’re not the sort to stand there, empty glass in hand, like some mongoloid seal waiting for yet another tasty treat to be thrown its way. You heard him, Barry, and I’d like to taste the juniper in this one, if you don’t mind, so let’s make it a triple.

Excuse me, sir, but I couldn’t help noticing your unsavory stare. It’s the monocle, isn’t it? Don’t blame you one bit, you don’t see them around much, I know. Bloody Germans ruined it for us, just like they ruined the toothbrush mustache, but there is nothing quite like wearing either or both to the pub. Half the chaps want to assault you, the other half want your advice on how to properly assault France. No, sir, I am not aware of what that Colonel Hogan is up to, and frankly, I don’t care.

Mary! My darling girl! Was hoping to see you tonight! It’s my birthday! No, I don’t have a birthday every two weeks, it’s just that in my home country we celebrate them over a two-week period. Who is this scoundrel on your arm, Mary my dear? Why, he’s nearly as repulsive as your cuckold husband. Oh, it’s you, John! I thought you were behind me and here you are in front, with dear old Mary.

No, John, I will not fight you. A gentleman does not engage in fisticuffs with cads, it would amount to getting down on all fours and exchanging bites with a mangy cur. No, I am not calling you a cur, I am merely saying I will not fight a man who resembles one. Cocksucker? Moi? Why—are you lonely? Afraid you’re barking up the wrong tree, my ill-natured friend, and what would Mary think? She’s in the bathroom, crying? Doesn’t sound like crying to me, John. Sounds like joyous laughter. You might want to check on her—off you go.

Rough sort of character you’re allowing in the pub these days, Barry. Did you set out a sign saying, “Welcome, scum! You’ve found your new home!”

Barry, Barry, Barry. I am fine. You cannot cut the evening short, you cannot force the keys to your rocket ship upon me then say I can fly no further than 50 feet. We must fly upward, ever upward, and see just how tall we—and I say we because we are both complicit in this wonderful experiment—have stacked these tabulations.

There, see, we got through that little tussle and we’re better friends for it. Brought us closer together. We must celebrate this fine new understanding with a drink—some of that vile well Scotch, eh? There’s your proof that I have no intention of sticking you with another tab—would I be drinking this venom if I were planning on running out? Nay, I would be lapping from the palms of Messrs. Haig and Hendrick. I’d ask for some water in my Scotch, but you already took care of that, didn’t you, Barry? Days and days ago.

Pour, Barry, Pour! Set that liquor free from its glass prison. It’s done 12 years in a burnt oak cell—well, by the taste of this stuff, more likely three months in a plastic pen—and it yearns to rejoin the world. I’ll piss it back toward the ocean from whence it came.

See here, cunty, I said wanted a G and T, not a Scotch. No don’t take it, I’ll find a home for this young vagrant, just so long as there’s no adoption fee. What is all that shouting from the ladies’ room? Do check on it, there’s a good chap.

Whoa there, Barry! Back so soon? When did you get so stealthy, you sneaky cat? No, I was most certainly not attempting to nick that bottle of filthy Scotch. I merely noticed it was about to fall out of the well—fall out of a well, there’s a picture!—then tried to save it. Can’t have your Scotch rolling about on the floor, it might improve the taste.

Barry! Such a cruel thing to say! Barry! Is that the mouth you French-kiss your grandmother with? Unhand me, sir! I will not go outside!  Et tu, Barry? Et tu?

Okay, fine! Off I go like a beaten cur.

See you tomorrow!

—J.A.K. Martin


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