A True Story

previously published by great weather for MEDIA

 

A redhead walks into a bar and orders a drink.

“Barely iced, please,” she says. “Pulp of ginger. Fourteen cherries and a love note rim.”

The bartender with hair of yellow only partially understands. Hands her a see-through glass, taller than the tallest finger with enough liquid inside to qualify its worth at five dollars.

She pushes it aside and repeats herself.

“Barely ginger,” she says in a sour tone. “Pulp of a love note, please. Fourteen iced cherries and rim.”

The bartender stares.

If she weren’t so thirsty, she’d have noticed that his eyes were the color of Michael Jackson’s birthstone, if he were still alive to claim it. He used to be her favorite singer before. Before. Well, you know before.

“Maybe you can explain to me what flavor you are looking for. Or perhaps let me know the ingredients?” the bartender inquires.

The redhead, whose eyes are a color that cannot be compared to any singer or song for that matter, says, “Rhizome and bamboo. Like what cannot be reached or licked. Winter. Not December 28th or even week three of January. March 9th. Straddling morning and afternoon nap. The most romantic syllable, which has never been pronounced. Oh. And fourteen cherries.”

The bartender tastes irate on his teeth and does not know how to proceed.

So he hands her a glass. This one about as tall as one and a half thumbs pressed together. He begins to touch every bottle saluting him from behind. He removes each cap but leaves all the liquid inside. He stares at her with his Michael Jackson eyes as he slowly touches his heart—or where he learned it lives in his body—and rubs his finger tip over the circular rim. Then, without blinking, feeling the sting of too much air on his cornea, places fourteen cherries—one at a time—into his palm, slowly dropping into the glass.

He waits for her to drink it. Or push it away. Or tell him he is wrong.

The redhead leans over the glass and sticks out her tongue. It is not exactly pink. She carefully licks the rim and then just remains there, as though her tongue is telling her a story with its taste buds. She leaves the cherries alone. And then, walks out.

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