Jim Brown, aka Mr. Regularity, comes into the bar every night at ten o’clock on the dot. He sits down and orders a glass of scotch on the rocks and looks at the menu, he asks the bartender if they serve at the bar or only at the tables, the bartender says it doesn’t matter.
Jim orders a veggie burger with fries after he downs his scotch in one go. The bartender nods and takes his glass. He folds his hands and waits patiently for the glass of scotch to kick in, for that warmness in the chest to thaw him out from the January blizzard.
The scotch kicks in after a minute or so and his hands and feet begin to warm, his abdomen starts to sweat as well as his temples and neck. Ten minutes later the bartender comes back with the veggie burger and fries and asks Jim if he wants anything else after he sets the food down, Jim says he wants another glass of scotch–neat. The bartender nods and goes to fulfill the order.
Jim looks at the clock and it says ten-fifteen, he shrugs and digs into his food, the bartender places the scotch by Jim as he eats. When Jim finishes, he pays the bartender thirty bucks and tells him to keep the change and the bartender takes his plate, his glass is still half full. The doors open and two tall and beautiful women walk in, women Jim doesn’t usually see in a bar like this one.
One of them has chocolate eyes, caramel skin, and long, flowy black hair, wearing a red dress and a beige fur coat. The other has hazel eyes with brown chocolate skin and black, straight hair that goes down to shoulder length, wearing a green dress and a black fur coat. They walk confidently past Jim who doesn’t take his eyes off them for a second, smelling perfume as they walk by.
He watches them walk up the stairs and sit at the back table, he calls the bartender over.
“What’s the occasion?” Jim nods over to the women.
“No occasion, my man,” The bartender smiles, “this place attracts a few gems every now and then.”
“Come on, Ron,” Jim grins, “I’ve been coming here for a long time, and I ain’t never see no gems walk in this motherfucker, especially not no gems like them.”
“Well, Jimmy,” Ron shrugs, “I don’t know what to tell you, except you ain’t been paying much attention lately.” he continues, “Go over there and talk to them. Adventurous as they look, they could use a dose of regularity, if you catch the drift.”
Jim laughs aloud, “Man, Y’all still calling me that?” he cackles, “the only thing regular these days is me coming to this place.”
“I don’t know Jimmy,” Ron says, “you look like you still got it; give’em a go, you might get lucky.”
Jim looks at the women sitting with their legs crossed and bored looks on their faces, “know what,” Jim downs his scotch, “why not?”
“That’s my boy!” Ron takes his glass, “two margaritas as an icebreaker?”
“Yeah, why not?” Jim says, “I’ll start off easy then work my way up.”
Ron shakes his head with a smile then goes to fill the order, “Mr. Regularity back in action!”
Jim watches Ron go up to the women and tell them the drinks are compliments from the gentleman in the black leather jacket sporting the huge afro. Jim raises his half-full glass of scotch and smiles amiably, the women smile back.
He turns away and tends to his glass of scotch while Ron comes back to the bar and fills orders, ten minutes later Ron looks over at the women who are now talking and loosening up a little. He glances at Jim and Jim glances back, Ron nods and Jim smirks, downs his scotch, then gets up and makes his way over to the women.
“Hello ladies,” Jim says, “I’d ask what the occasion is but, Judging by your dresses, I’d say flawlessness is natural.”
The women give him a playful and suspicious look.
“Yeah, I know,” Jim smiles, “not my best opening but I’m a bit rusty.” He extends his hand, “Name’s Jim Brown, pleasure.”
The woman in the red dress holds out her hand and he takes it lightly.
“So, what brings Emerald and Ruby to The Corner Bar?”
Red dress laughs, “My name is Lucy and my uninterested friend here is Kayla.”
“Lucy and Kayla, huh?” Jim says, “mind if I take a seat or are you waiting for someone?”
“We are, actually.” Lucy says, “Two people. Our boyfriends.”
Jim isn’t fazed, “I’m not surprised you two are taken,” still smiling, “in fact, I’d expect no less.”
Lucy and Kayla give Jim a purely suspicious look this time.
“I don’t do much these days in terms of chasing women,” Jim says, “mostly I’m just wondering why two classy ladies are in The Corner Bar of all places.”
“Are you saying we can’t be here?” Lucy smiles, “that we’re ‘too classy’ for this place?”
“More or less, but in a non-offensive way.” Jims places his hands in his pocket, “anyway, how’d you like the margaritas?”
“They were delicious,” Lucy says, “very sweet with not too much alcohol, the perfect mix.”
“Yeah, Ron knows how to make’em when he feels like it.” Jim chuckles and looks at his clock which says ten-thirty, “Well, looks like it’s time for me to split. You ladies have a wonderful night.”
Jim walks away without waiting for a response. He nods to Ron and Ron nods back as Jim exits the bar into the cold January night.
Three weeks later, Jim is at the bar at ten-o’clock with a glass of scotch on the rocks in his hands. He looks at the menu and orders the veggie burger with fries and downs the scotch when Ron goes off to fill the order.
Ron gets back at about ten-fifteen when the doors open and Lucy and Kayla enter the bar, Lucy wearing a green sweater, black jeans, and a black fur coat and Kayla wearing a red blouse with a silk scarf and a beige fur coat. Jim looks over and smiles at the two women and they see Jim and smile back then make their way over.
“Hello Jim,” Lucy says when the two women take seats on either side of him, “been a while.”
“So it has,” Jim takes a bite of his veggie burger, chews, then swallows, “and I see it’s just you two again.”
“Is that an issue?” Lucy asks.
“Not at all,” Jim says, “just wondering if your boyfriends would approve of your talking to me,” he adds, “being you two are probably waiting for them again, right?”
“Oh, no,” Lucy leans toward Jim’s ear and whispers, “we lied.”
Jim flashes his eyebrows, chuckles, and shakes his head then takes another bite of his veggie burger.
Kayla says, “you don’t believe her, do you?”
“Well,” Jim swallows, “can’t say it matters to me one way or the other. Like I said, I don’t do much in terms of chasing women.”
“So what do you do, Jim?” Lucy asks.
“Well,” Jim sips his glass of scotch, “I work in a warehouse.”
“So, you’re a night owl.” Kayla says, “Nice.”
“Eh, not that nice.” Jim says, “the shifts are long and the work is repetitive: sort out packages by weight, use the forklift to put the large ones in place, manage the conveyor belts and ensure nothing hazardous slips in when mass production is in progress, and inventory of what’s in and what’s out. Do that for about two to three weeks and you’re in, do it for a decade and it becomes your entire life.”
“Sounds boring,” Kayla says, “ever consider doing something else?”
“Nah,” Jim says, “the pay is great and I get four days off every week.”
“And this is how you spend your time?” Lucy asks, “in a bar eating burgers and drinking scotch? From the way you approached us a couple weeks ago, we were under the impression there was something more to you.”
“Well,” Jim says, “I do other things with my time off.”
“Such as?” Kayla asks.
“Can’t exactly tell you that.”
“Oh?” Lucy says with interest, “why’s that?”
Jim takes another bite of his veggie burger and fries, he chews and swallows then sips some more scotch, “Here’s the thing,” Jim starts, “I’m not at liberty to say. Even if I were, I’m not sure I could even explain it to you properly.”
Lucy and Kayla squint with suspicion.
Jim finishes his veggie burger and fries, seemingly unfazed, and downs the remainder of his scotch in one go. He looks at his clock which says ten-thirty.
“Well,” Jim says, “looks like it’s that time again. You ladies enjoy the rest of the night.”
to be continued . . .
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