The Beat thumped along with her heart. Million miles per hour- she loved this. Never wanted to stop, never wanted to get old and not be able to take off if she wanted to. Breathing in deeply, she let the atmosphere of the bar relax her a little bit, before settling down, rocking back and forth on her heels and balls of her feet. The Beat still pounded, and she was still desperate to run off, but it was coming up to six PM, when the rush of people off of work would start. Outside, she heard the faint sound of a fiddler saw and bow their way across their instruments- that would be Manny, no doubt.
The bar itself was nothing special. It was quite awkwardly shoved between two apartment buildings, but that did mean that it did some roaring work, especially since it got a new rotation of beers in every month. Yes, they were from microbreweries. They still carried the normal stuff. Despite having been renovated about five years ago, the bar still had an old-school cosy sort of feel. Everything wasn’t the latest sleek matte plastic, with a wooden counter and cushioned cubicles for people to sit in… Or just plonk yer butt down on the barstools. Either worked for her.
It was three hours until she could leave and get ready for her gig tonight. Just three hours. Hell, they were probably set to be fairly bearable three hours, if she was perfectly honest, her fingers running across the counter. Finally, a customer came in, Jennie recognising the regular in a heartbeat. He was taller than her- but then again, quite a few people were, but not overly tall, still wearing the business suit, although the tie and blazer were absent.
He scratched a bit of stubble, and dragged out a barstool, giving her a nod. “What’ll it be Sim?” Simon was a sweet guy, really. Mid-thirties, accounting but hated it. On the other hand, he had a wife and a four-year-old daughter, so he couldn’t just drop it. Never the one to be telling the jokes, but he would laugh along all the same, and never minded being the subject of a joke or two. As long as it wasn’t about his daughter, or wasn’t too vitriolic.
“Not much Jen. I’ll have a coke. I’d love a beer, but the in-laws are visiting, and I know if I’ve so much as looked as a bottle of alcohol, they’ll try to tell me that my wife is making me an alcoholic, or some other shit like that.” He sighed deeply, and Jennie nodding sympathetically as she knelt down to get the coke out of the minifridge below the bar. She cracked the top open, shoved some ice in a Collins glass, and poured it out, dropping the entire thing in front of him with a smile.
“Enjoy the caffeine rush you get from that!”
“Thanks Jen.” He took a slow sip and sighed deeply, the bartender going back to idly fidgeting. Then, a familiar face cropped up at the door, attached to a body that had to stoop to get inside the bar
“Hey Manny. I could hear you playing from here.”
“That was the hope!” The fiddler beamed a little bit and set his violin case down in a booth, stretching out a little bit. Hard to do, but he managed, hands patting down onto the table in a mediocre rhythm. Despite its name, the Beat didn’t always make one a percussionist, and man oh man was he grateful for that.
Bumbadabumbada- “Hey, do you mind maybe not doing that? Sorry bud.” Simon turned to him and gave him a pleading look, and if Manny was on thing, that was king of compromise.
“Yeah, sure, it’s no biggie. Say, Jennie, what you doing after work? I’ve got some stuff from my friend, if you’re up for that.”
Jennie looked up at him and gave a resounding shrug. “I got a show on tonight, probably not the best time. If you hang onto it though, I’ll check it out maybe tomorrow, maybe in a few days. See what it’s worth.”
“Fine by me. Not like the stuff rots or anything.” He said it without sarcasm, but that was the way of things he supposed. He had made a fair ol’ stack of change from just this morning- he had gotten real lucky and someone had dropped him a tenner, and whilst it was a pain to get his money in loose change, he had made enough to grab a drink here and enjoy the rest of the day without worrying. “Got any fresh stuff from the…” He rolled his eyes. “Microbreweries in today?” He sounded like a hipster saying that.
“Nothing’s changed. Boss says we should be getting some fresh kegs and bottles in later in the week.”
“Remind me, what do you guys have again for drinks?”
“Stout, Pale, Lager, Pilsner. The stout’s the strongest, the lager is the weakest. Weird, not normally that way, but that it is.”
“I’ll take the pilsner.” He nodded at Jennie, who returned the nod and clinked down a bottle onto the table. Off went the top, and she half-topped up a glass.
“German or American?” She waggled the bottle and looked at him expectantly.
“American. Smaller head.”
With that done, the bar was still… Remarkably quiet. She wondered who’ be walking through the door next. Hopefully someone to beak the monotony.