Like a person in a desert, looking for a drink, the man stumbled through the night for his favorite drinking joint. The one that stayed open until the wee hours and wouldn’t kick him out for being too drunk. After all, what’s the point of drinking if you don’t drink until you hit your limit?

The glowing light of the bar’s signboard cut through the foggy night. Yes, I am almost there! His pace sped up, as he imagined the bubbly, golden liquid pouring into his mouth. That sweet, sweet beer. I must have it!

He paused at a traffic light intersection and looked around for cars. There were none. The street was empty tonight. Strange for a Saturday night, but he didn’t think much of it. He crossed the road without waiting for the green man to light up.

Faint music could be heard as he got closer to his destination. Chinese techno nonsense. He would tell the owner to switch it when he ordered his drinks at the bar. He crossed another street and was at the entrance of the pub. ‘t “Golden” it was called. He didn’t know why. Neither did the owner who decided to keep the bar’s name because he didn’t want to spend additional money on a new signboard.

The man pushed the right door open (one of the double doors remained locked because the owner refused to fix it) and stepped in. Instantly he was greeted by the sounds of Chinese lyrics over generic electronic beats. It was pure noise to him. There was nobody else in the pub bar the lovely barmaid who stood behind the counter. He’d given up trying to score her number a long time ago and stayed content with being the lonely customer who’d stare at her longingly. She liked younger men – at least that’s what she told him anyway. He approached her and climbed onto a stool by the bar. “One jug please!”

“One jug coming right up,” she replied with a smile. She turned around and grabbed a jug from the rack. Jug, rack, heh heh heh.

“Is Charlie in tonight?” the man asked her.

“Nope, but he may or may not come in later.”

“Later? It’s already eleven! Doesn’t he have a business to run?”

“What business?” She responded, her eyebrows signalling to the empty seats and tables around them.

“Well, it usually is more happening. What’s going on tonight?”

“Beats me,” she shrugged. The barmaid scraped the foam off the top of the jug and placed it on the counter in between them. She grabbed an empty glass and started pouring beer into it from the jug.

“Pour yourself a cup,” the man told her and she obliged happily.

“By the way, can you turn off this crappy music?”

“You know I enjoy this crappy music right?” she responded with her fingers signalling air quotes.

He laughed, “you must be pretty damaged to enjoy this shit!”

“Some people like vanilla, some people like chocolate flavored ice cream,” she said as she started walking towards the audio system.

The techno music stopped abruptly and was replaced with the more pleasant sounds of Eric Clapton unplugged.

“So much better. Thanks.”

“You know I’m going to switch it back when you get drunk later right?”

“I won’t even notice then.”

“So, what brings you in tonight?”

“I mean, come on, do I even need a reason to be here?”

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