So back in early May, it was a Friday and fairly slow. I’d entertained the few regulars we tend to get, the dishes were washed, the counter was wiped down. There was music on the juke, don’t quiet remember what, but it was loud enough to draw in a few people from the street.
One of these people was Amy.
At first I thought she was pregnant, or homeless, or strung out. There is a very good possibility that she may have been all three. When she came in I thought she’d ask for spare change. We have a gentleman that often comes in asking for forty-eight cents (yes, that’s $.048). We call him the Forty-eight Cents Man and tease him because while he always promises to pay us back, he never does. I doubt he remembers coming into the bar.
She bellies up to the bar (and I thought it was a bump, but upon reflection it may have just been malnourishment) and asks if we have any birthday specials. “We don’t get too many birthdays in here,” I tell her, the smile on my face feels like wet plaster. She’s a barfly, and lord knows we have more than enough of those. She wants something for nothing, and she expects it. She sticks out her hand and introduces herself. I return the courtesy and run through the ritual of saying my name several times, spelling it and then telling her it’s “Southern.”
She’d like a PBR. Those run about $1.50 and I’m happy to get her one. If she skips out or something stupid, I’m only out a measly buck-fifty. I ask for ID, and she gives me this hard-luck story about how she just got out of Wayne County Lockup and she doesn’t have any ID. To prove this, she shows me the plastic bracelet she’s still wearing. It is indeed from Wayne County, and it has her picture and date of birth. I lean in to read it, sort of having to squint, when I glance up.
Those who see me on a regular basis know I have a penchant for henley-style shirts. I have a gray one I purchased from Ambercrombie (shut up, it’s a cute top) and since acquiring it over a year ago, I’ve worn it to death and it’s a little loose. Loose is okay, I work in a bar and it’s good for tips. Depending on where I go and in whose company, I may opt to not wear a tank or cami underneath. It was the bar so no cami.
Amy has her eyes glued to the goods visible when I leaned over to check her bracelet. It’s important to not act startled around people who have just gotten out of Lockup. They may have stopped off somewhere to buy a knife. It’s a long walk from there to the bar and anything can happen. I give her a tired smile that says, thanks for looking and fight hard not to adjust my clothes.
I nod and stand, remarking that she looks younger than her ID claims. The bracelet says 1975. She doesn’t look 32, but whatever. It also says her birthday is in a few days. I wipe the top of the beer can, as is the custom at the bar, and she tell tells me that I rim that can like a pro.
Fantastic. I’m being hit on by a convict.
I smile and thank her, slide the can over to her and wait for my $1.50. I’m not expecting a tip, in fact I’m not even expecting to be paid, but I want her to know that I’m not simply gong to turn my back while she skips out.
“I only sleep with men on my birthday,” she says taking a huge swallow. “When it falls on a Tuesday.”
“Keeps things simple,” I say. She goes on to tell me that she was locked up for stealing a hamburger and that usually she gets out of tickets by giving the cops blowjobs.
Because I really want to know this.
The offer didn’t work this time because “the pig” was in the pocket of the restaurant.
Can you imagine – a cop actually working for a tax-paying citizen? Yeah, I wasn’t about to tell chickie my dad was a former cop. Didn’t seem worth the gut stab.
“You’re pretty fine,” she says, and I thank her with a smile that I hope conveys that I’m not falling for it. “What’s it going to take to not pay for this?” Ah – the backstory makes sense now. Tell me how you usually pay for things in the hope that I’ll take the same payment option.
“Tell you what,” I say, “the beer is on me. It’s your birthday after all, right?” and I fish $1.50 from my tip jar.
“Yes,” she says. “beer on you would be fine.” Does that line work on anyone? I give an exaggerated eyeroll and show her my ring hand.
“I’m married, sorry.”
“He can watch. He’s probably into that.” Yeah, so not going to happen. “Know how I got this?” She puts her hands together side by side, and in very intricate script complete with scrolls were the words “Lesbian Slut”.
“That’s very classy,” I say and I don’t think she picked up on the sarcasm.
“it’s because I am. They had to keep me separate at the jail because I play hard and rough. ” She gives me a smile with teeth that are probably crawling with all sorts of bacteria from all sorts of various donors. “You like it hard and rough?”p
“Drink your birthday beer,” I tell her and thankfully the other barmaid walked in. “S_____, this is Amy. It’s her birthday.” I begin to gather up my things, because it’s Friday night and I have other places to be that don’t have Skanky McSkank.
Amy showed the other barmaid her tattoos and S_____, who deals with teenagers who need validation all day long looked as impressed as I would expect her too, all wide eyes. Then Amy noticed I was leaving.
“Of course,” I say.
“Not going to leave your number?”
“Happy Birthday, Amy.” Call me jaded or snobbish, but just because someone decides I’m worth the bare minimum to attempt to bed, in no way should that imply that I’m going to do it. Must make me out to be some kind of stuck up bitch, right?
Amy has been in a few times since, usually just as I’m leaving work. Her eyes still crawl all over me, but she usually has someone with her and she doesn’t say anything. At first I thought her ink was just that, of the PaperMate variety, but it’s still there.
It had me wondering – is this what I sound like when I think I’m impressing people? God, I hope not. Everything that fell out her mouth was a statement made to shock and instill a little awe in whoever might be listening. My self-esteem isn’t nearly that low and gratefully I don’t require validation every waking moment.