I WAS SITTING AT THE BAR ALONE, sipping bourbon. It was the middle of August, so normally I would be at my job with Luzerne County Roads & Bridges, patching potholes on the county road in Sweet Valley. But I had injured myself and so had a week off to get better.
I was a healthy, able-bodied 26-years-old and I recovered quickly. So it was that I was sitting in Vispi’s waiting for my girlfriend Elaine to get off work and meet me here. It was a slow day and there were only a few other people in the place.
Gidget, the bartender, was Elaine’s best friend and when she wasn’t waiting on someone else, she was chatting with me. As I was also a bartender, we usually swapped horror stories about the things you see and hear from the other side of the bar.
Then the phone rang.
Gidget walked over to the phone, her back to me. I remember that she held the phone to her left ear. She turned and looked at me.
“Oh, shit,” I thought. “It’s for me.”
She stared at me as she put the phone down.
“Someone died,” I thought. “Someone I know. Someone I love. But who? Who the hell even knows I’m here?”
Mom? Dad? Charles? Mary Alice? Elaine?
Everyone watched as Gidget walked over to me, her eyes locked on mine. She grabbed the Jack Daniel’s and quickly filled my glass.
“Oh, no,” I thought. “No, no, no.”
And she said, “Drink that.”
I drank it all down.
I put the glass down.
I looked up.
“Elvis just died . . .”