Well. despite me initially getting the date wrong (I did tell you all I thought it was Thursday all week!) that was a wonderful batch of #QUICKFIC pieces. Excellent job, all! Let’s take another look at your prompt:
And on to the winners:
Runner Up: James Atkinson
Shouting Across the Bar
She shouted across the bar, pointed to the little map.
He listened, didn’t hear and shouted back.
It went back and forth.
They got nowhere.
Well, they got lost.
They asked for Becks, he gave them Metz.
They got irate, refused to pay and stormed off.
He, shamefacedly, had to explain to his boss.
He didn’t recognise them.
He couldn’t understand their annoyance.
He let someone else take over.
He didn’t see them.
For over forty minutes.
No wonder they soaked him.
Immediately after, a frequent customer smiled kindly and asked for his number.
He gave her a flier, underlining the bar’s number.
She asked again, he gave an annoyed look and jabbed the flier.
She pushed it back and walked away, normally he had much more to say.
He shrugged, carried on.
It was only later he realised it was her.
And, while pouring her usual for someone else, he wondered… and spilt the drink.
And was ordered away from the bar.
It was just one of those shifts, one spent well outside the required zone.
One not taking in anyone’s words or faces, just order, fulfillment, order, fulfillment.
A buzz filling his head.
Why did they play the music so loud?
Often he dreamed of sleepy seaside tavernas.
While collecting glasses outside he spotted his regular drinking alone across the street.
In the relative quiet of the nightlife he crossed toward her preparing his apology.
Hoping it was necessary.
He had often dreamed about her too.
Runner Up: Paul Jenkins
Nobody Knows Your Name
I’ve worked a lot of bar jobs. Student bars are easy but they’re also the worst. They are unfailingly polite, but irritatingly loud and they puke the most.
Regular bar, you don’t get so much puke and noise but you get more aggro. Like everything else in life, there’s a trade-off.
The girls get louder, they’re at the age where they know what they want. The boys are at the age where they just think they know. Neither the boys nor the girls will end up getting it and the pain of that realisation is where your humble bartender comes in.
This one girl, Sonia, she comes in more nights than she should but this isn’t social services. I just pour the drinks and take the money and clean up the puke.
“Can I get you a drink?”
She is very beautiful and very drunk and the kind of girl who’d drive a sane man crazy. But I’m crazy so her magic doesn’t work on me.
“I’ll take a half, thank you.”
I pass her a tray of vodka jellies and place a half pint glass beneath the pump.
My father doesn’t drink anymore, but did when I was a child. The smell of beer in my nostrils brings him back out the box, tearing upwards through the earth with his calloused fingers, shaking the dirt off his one suit and running at the speed of death to hammer his unmistakable fists upon our door.
But still I pour.
Winner: Daniela Azzopardi
His hand hovered over the bottle hesitantly.
“Come on, I haven’t got all night.” Her eyes shone bright despite the low key lighting in the establishment. The chatter of his other patrons seemed to drown when compared to her husky voice.
“It’s not a mix I’ve ever heard of.” He picked up a bottle of clear spirit and unscrewed it.
“I know what I like.”
She smiled, directing him on the exact measures for her drink. Her accent sounded local, but something was off; she couldn’t recall certain words and would occasionally elongated the odd vowel.
“Is this it?” He asked, looking at the concoction sitting in his work space. A heavy blue settled at the bottom of the glass swirling into green, and then yellow at the top.
Before he could move, she reached over and grabbed the drink, examining the contents. Her nose twitched like an excited cat and her face broke into a smile.
“It’s going to taste like liquified sugar.” He warned as she put the glass to her lips.
One more smile, and half the drink was gone.
“Just as I like it.”
She put down the money for the drink together with a generous tip and waltzed away from the bar into the crowd.
The barman shook his head incredulously as he wiped his bench. Ever since humans started frequenting his bar, his alcohol stocks had started depleting shockingly fast. He had never met a species so capable of adapting and with such thirst.
I loved the tendency towards final lines that packed one hell of a punch her everyone! Congratulations to James, Paul and Daniela and thank you to everyone that played along this week. See you again soon for another round of #QUICKFIC!
For a look back at our previous #QUICKFIC flash fiction competitions, click here.