**** Inhumanimal ****

Official website of Devin Hansen

She Works on Tuesdays

| Published in Slurve, 2005 |

She works on Tuesdays. Alone in that little German bar, where the prices and decor are stuck in the 70’s. She pours beer with too much foam, but no one ever complains. Not to Kara. Not to those curls. That headdress of blond plumage that is pony-tailed in the summer, and let loose in the winter like a mink shawl warming her shoulders.

I’m there every week, to watch her bend into the beer coolers and reach for the top-shelf bottles. Her supple belly peeking from the front of her shirt.

Sometimes I draw her pictures on damp beer coasters. Or fold roses out of the cocktail napkins.

Anything to stand out from the other men. Anything to get that smile.

I go there in my cleanest shirt. My unstained jeans. A thorough grooming and splash of lemon juice behind my ears.

Tonight she served me a foamy draft. A shot of whiskey. I smiled in thanks. Speechless as usual. Then watched her glide to the loud men at the other end of the bar. The Electrician. The Drywaller. The Lawyer.

For hours she sauntered back and forth, slow and sensual like a lazy panther. And I couldn’t look away from those curls. They were alive. Doing twists and turns and pirouettes. I wanted to taste and touch and feel their scent. But most of all, I wanted to know what they’d look like slithering across my pillow.

Two more drinks. Then four. Grumbling to myself and wishing the loud men were gone. Wishing they’d shut up about their sports and drive home in their sedans.

Somehow I needed to stand out.

I reached into the back of my wallet. Behind the old receipts and insurance card, where I kept my “emergency” cash. The $100 bill I hadn’t unfolded in years.

I swallowed the last of my beer. Then, with purpose, I set the bill flat under the bottle.

“Thanks, Kara,” I called, putting on my coat and heading slowly to the exit… If I timed it right, she would find it just as I reached the door. Then she’d run and throw her arms around me and I’d bury myself in that glorious headdress.

But as I walked out, the beauty didn’t chase me. She didn’t even call out “goodbye.”

The door closed and I walked through the snowy parking lot.

Immediately the wind hit me. Made my heart somehow colder. And I felt that crisp tingle on my ears…Shit! I had forgotten my stocking cap! The wool hat from Norway that my departed father had given me.

For five or ten minutes I shivered in the snow. Looking at the door. It grinned at me. Winked. It was a drawbridge too heavy for my nerve.

I couldn’t go back in. I couldn’t face her.

So I sat there in the cold, hoping she’d find it before some drunk did. Maybe save it for me behind the bar. Who knows, maybe she even take it home and sleep with it! Spray it with her perfume or leave me a love note in the fold… After all, I was the man who left her $100!

I decided to return the next day. Take the gamble. Give her a chance to pen some note of thanks or risque’ poem.

The next morning I was at the bar before it opened, knocking my cold knuckles on the door until the cleaning man let me in. He had a beer in one hand and a mop bucket in the other.

“Did someone find a hat here last night?” I asked. “It was black with a Norwegian flag on the front?”

“Oh yeah, yeah, yeah” the man said. “I think it’s in the back, let me go check.”

I knew she’d save it!

I paced and guessed what she would leave me. A phone number? A limerick? A naughty photo?

After a long minute the man finally returned. I snatched the hat, thanked him, and ran outside.

There was a folded cocktail napkin in the bottom. I unfolded it, breath short and heart flickering.

I was ready for the proclamations of love and lust!

Ready to run to her bedside and ravish her!

But there was no love letter. Not even a kiss of red lipstick.

It was my $100 bill. Still damp with beer.

On the napkin, written in heavy ink, was the word, “Don’t”

I stuffed the napkin into my pocket. Slid on my hat. Then spent the money at a Irish bar down the street.


Categorized as: Fiction

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