He was a combat soldier and she was the kind of girl that rebels fall for. If I had to guess, he walked over to her because that dress fit her like a crime, and she didn’t push him away because his eyes said everything she knew he wouldn’t.
She smiled politely as he introduced himself and she followed suit. She whispered something in his ear and he pointed to me, a minute later he had a beer and she had a glass of wine. They talked about the inconsequential; she said something about going to a Clean, Well-Lighted Place and his eyes got big and bright, and when he mentioned Workman’s Tavern you could practically see her heart leap out of her chest and into his hands. He was in like Flint. The Bleeding Heart Boys circled the bar like comets, passing by every so often, muttering to themselves, and waiting for him to strike out.
He shot me a grin and asked for a shot of the strongest, nastiest bourbon we had, and I reluctantly sat it down in front of him and watched him work.
He placed his green bertet over the glass and propositioned the green eyed girl.
“I’m starving, but I don’t particularly want to leave your company, so how about a wager? I’ll bet you that I can drink that shot without touching that hat. And If I’m right, you and I run away together… or at least hit the diner a block over.”
She smiled big enough for the whole room to see, and every comet orbiting her had his hands clenched tight in frustration.
“I won’t run away with you, but if you win, I’ll let you buy me pancakes.”
“It’s a deal,” he laughed back before disappearing under the lip of the bar. She giggled infectiously until he popped back up, a smug smile stretched across his face.
“Well?” she laughed
“Go ahead and look.”
Her slender fingers grabbed the edge of the soldier hat and flipped it over, revealing the untouched shot glass, still full of bourbon strong enough to put hair on your chest. I watched as her satisfied smile turned to an expression of mock horror. His hand darted toward the glass, and in one quick motion the bourbon slid past his lips.
“I never touched the hat,” he laughed, placing it on his head and laying cash on the bar.
“I want the biggest stack of pancakes they have,” she pouted back, placing her hand in his.
He winked at me as they walked out the door, a silent “thank you” for not spoiling his trick. I hoped like hell they’d run away together.