Happy New Year!

Here is another previous writing from (obviously) New Year’s Eve…

 

 

I don’t know how many people are actually reading my story board blog. If you do, comment. Let me know you were here.
Well, it’s New Year’s Eve, and I’m still trying to get my work published. Archon is just poised and ready to be put onto bookshelves or digital screens. I’m not giving him up. I’m still querying agents. I’m happy for still having Cathy in my life. Logan is really a good boy, and I am proud of my sons, Cruise and Jax. In case you didn’t know, Cruise is in college (at age 15!) and is studying Paleontology (nope, didn’t spell it right the first time. Spell check fixed it.). Jax is still a great boy with ambitions of becoming a professional gamer or a Ranger (either would make me proud). I’ve got a fantastic job working for PGT. We are the leading window manufacturer producing the best shatter-proof windows and glass. I work hard from evening till morning, my feet kill me, but I am happy with my job. The only thing that would make me happier is having the career of my dreams, being an author.
Well anyways. I was thinking of New Year Resolutions and decided that it was time to invest more time in writing, and quit smoking (I think the first will be the easiest one, but I’ll work on the last one too). As I was considering these resolutions, I came up with a great story. It took me an hour to conjure this up and I will share it with everyone who cares. Please, enjoy “Resolutions”.

 

 

Resolutions

As I glance around the room full of people and life, I smile to myself. Another successful year. This bar has come a long way over the past ten years. I’ve owned it my whole life. Well, not my whole life, but it has been in my family for many generations. I’ve worked it even when I was kid. Trust me when I say that it has come a long way since. It used to be a smoky, dingy, rat-infested, drunk farm. I used to spend more money on front windows than liquor. Even I have come a long way since I turned this place around.

For many years of my life, I was just like that place. Smoky. Dingy. A drunk farm. I was the drunkest bartender in New York. I hated my life. My ex-wife hated me. It got to the point that even in the divorce she refused to take this away from me. A “shit-hole that wasn’t worth taking” she said. I hated her for it then, fell in love without her for it now. My current wife is happy and loves me for everything I’ve done to make this place what it is today as well as what this place has done for us.

Now, Grandma’s old stove in the back has been replaced with a professional kitchen. I bought the old store beside me and expanded the bar. I turned this place into a family-style bar and grill. I hired a chef that can cook a pork chop that will make you cry after the first bite. I serve only the best alcohol. I hired a staff that makes everybody smile. My bar is prime. Clean. Smells fresh every day. I haven’t replaced a window in years. The cops only come in when they end their shift. They even bring their families in with them. I am proud of what I’ve to my bar.

Now, it’s near midnight. The ball is being shown on the TVs around the room, and everyone is poised and ready to salute another new year. I look down at Jeff. He’s eying me for an answer to his question, “So, Mark, what do you think?”

I respond with a shrug, “Like I said, Jeff, only you can make that decision.” Another man wanting to make a resolution for the coming year.

Jeff looks down at the empty space on the bar in front of him and grumbles. He raises his hand slowly then taps the bar, “Right.” He looks over my shoulder and pauses for a moment, “Make it a shot of Jack please.”

I eye him questioningly, “Are you sure?”

Jeff doesn’t look up, but mumbles back, “Yeah. I’m sure.”

I turn around and grab the Jack Daniel’s bottle from the shelf and pour a shot into a fresh, clean shot glass. I recap the bottle and place it onto the shelf. I turn it just right so anyone looking this way can read the label. I turn to him with disappointment in my eyes and set the glass in front of him, “To resolutions, Jeff.”

“Uh huh.” He stares at it for few moments, fingers the glass, spins it, looks up and over my shoulder again, and asks, “So, how would you stay in business without me, Mark?”

I laugh, “I’m sure someone will fill that seat without you, buddy.”

He winks at me with a broad smile, “But they won’t have the stories I tell.”

I scratch my head and smile at him, “No, they sure won’t.” And Jeff had some stories. I bet more than half are made up. I lean onto the bar with both elbows and look him in the eyes, “I’m telling you, Jeff. Only you can make this decision.”

“I know. I know.” Jeff taps the glass with his fingers and stares over my shoulder.

The crowd begins to count down from ten, “9… 8… 7… 6… 5… 4… 3… 2… ONE! HAPPY NEW YEAR!!”

Everyone cheer, bounce around, raise their drinks to salute, laugh, kiss. It all makes me smile. Above the noise I hear, “Happy New Year, Mark! Here’s to resolutions! Thank you!”

I nod and look around at everyone singing “Auld Lang Syne” and smiling to each other. This is why I love this place, I think to myself with a tear and a smile. A long way and hard work. This kind of thing makes me happy for the turn I’ve made in my life.

I spot Jeff walking out the door quietly. I look down and see his shot glass is untouched with his customary payment and tip right next to it. I pick up the glass and money and place the glass aside and money where it belongs. I mumble, “Good luck, Jeff,” as I begin to wipe his fingerprints from the bar.

Just after I’m done, a young woman sits down. She gives me a short smile and asks, “Can I have a shot of Jack please?”

I smile down at her, “Sure.” I pour her a shot, turn out the label on the bottle after putting it back, and place the glass in front of her.

She looks up at me, again, with a faint smile, “Thank you.” She places her money with a few extra dollars onto the bar. Looks like Jeff’s been replaced already.

I turn to put her money away when she speaks up over the crowd, “Hey! Have a drink with me!”

I finish what I’m doing and turn to her with a grin, “Now, what kind of bar owner would I be if I drank my own profits?”

She stares over my shoulder for a few moments then looks to me. A look of understanding overcomes her, “I gotcha.”

I grab a tall glass and shoot some Coke into it. I raise it up to her, “To resolutions,” I say.

She raises her glass and nods her chin over my shoulder, “To resolutions.”

I tip my Coke to her and take a swallow. I turn and see Jeff’s shot of Jack Daniel’s still on the counter behind me. I smile, open the glass display cabinet above, and place it onto the shelf next to another full glass. I extract a large coin with “10 Years” imprinted on it and prop it in front of the shot glass. I fix it so that it is displayed just right. I slide the cabinet shut and smile. I salute the cabinet with my glass of Coke proudly, “To resolutions.”

-LS Quail 12/31/2015

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