WhiskeyInGlass neat

disappointment was my closest friend

FORTY-TWO YEARS AGO, I was sit­ting in Vispi’s Lounge in Ed­wardsville, Penn­syl­vania. I was sip­ping a Johnny Walker Black neat waiting for my girl­friend to get off of work. It was slow and quiet, with only a few others in the bar—mostly guys having a couple of drinks be­fore heading home. Not un­usual in most bars in the middle of the day.

Rita Coolidge’s lo­bot­o­mized ver­sion of “(Your Love Has Lifted Me) Higher and Higher” was playing on the jukebox: “Now once, I was downhearted—disappointment was my closest friend.”

Gidget, the bar­tender, was hanging on my side of the cir­cular bar, chat­ting about this, that, and the other thing with me.

The phone rang.

Gidget walked to the other side of the bar.

I lifted my glass to sip my whiskey when she spun around and looked at me.

My first thought was, “Oh God, mommy or daddy must have died.”

Gidget hung up the phone.

She turned off the jukebox.

Everyone watched her.

She grabbed the bottle of JWB and filled my glass.

“Drink!”

Now everyone looked at me.

I gulped a rock glass full of whiskey down.

I sat and looked at the bar­tender as if she was the Grim Reaper.

Gidget took my hand and shook her head.

“Elvis is dead.”

She filled my glass again …

 

 

 

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