Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The Jade Monkey

O’Reilly’s Tavern 11:38PM EST

Located on the outskirts of a small town is a quaint tavern with a max occupancy of 86.  Despite being on a back road and well away from the beaten path the bar is surrounded by vehicles and packed beyond its means at 146 patrons.

The parking lot is a patch a dirt surrounding the front  two cars deep and expanding the length of the building.  Cars surround the front porch and either side for the single lane road.   Heading west on the street takes you to highway 21 which eventually leads to Twinsburg Ohio and east dead ends at the Henderson’s farm about ten miles down.

Despite the out-of-the-way geographical location, the bar maintains a steady clientele on normal days.  On this day though, third Friday of the month, a popular Irish band from the nearby town of Creeksville plays on O’Relly’s small ‘stage’.

The bars ‘stage’ is an area at the rear next to the backroom door, where three high tables and six stools are storedin back for the current venues handful of instruments and portable amp.  Tonight being the Keltic Kilts, a lively group featuring an accordion masterfully played.

To the left of the stage is the bar’s modest serving area, featuring a full complement of liquor, several domestic ales on tap and a variety of popular Irish brews.  Standing at 5’2” is a bartender with a head of wild red hair.  Wearing a tight shirt tied below her chest baring her midriff, a small plaid skirt only revealing navy blue tights ending in a pair of ankle high leather boots.

The other bartender is her younger brother who towers over her at 6’10”, he wears a black vest over a white shirt and blue jeans.  His thick arms practically tear out of the end of the shirt sleeves.  Pretty much the reason his sister Don, is off limits.  Together they run a well-oiled bar, along with two waitresses and a short order cook who can be seen from the kitchen’s window to the far left of the counter.

Despite maxing out the allowed occupancy, drinks are making their way to the thirsty, dancing is a must and fighting is kept at a low.  All in all they can crank the sound and never worry about the neighbors complaining.

As the band seamlessly moves to its next number, never missing a beat, an older gentleman makes his way through the establishment toward the counter.  Despite his out-of-place appearance, no one takes notice of the new arrival.

The man is wearing a three piece grey suit, fresh from the rack.  His jet black hair slicked back, clean shaven with a thin well-trimmed mustache which curves around his lips ending just above the chin.  His well-manicured right hand grasps a handle-less walking stick which is capped off with a golf ball size ruby in a gold setting affixed to a hand carved mahogany shaft.  His left hand is casually in his pocket fiddling with a small object.

As he moves through the bar he takes a direct route to the serving counter as the patrons shift out of his way without missing a beat, never making contact with the man in the suit and the man never stepping aside for anyone.

The man moves his way between two burly guys both tower over his 5’9” frame.  The larger men were deep in conversation, the one to the left seemed to have “lost interest” as the smaller man barged in turning his attention elsewhere never taking notice of the mysterious figure, but the one to the right immediately took offence.

“Fuck off shorty before I choke you on your pretty tie” the burly man exclaimed.

The stranger simply looked up and smiled at him, the larger man’s look of anger was instantly transformed into an expression of horror.  The big guy tried to scream, but no sound was able to escape his lips.  He just remained there frozen in place with his final emotion of pure fear.

Both bartenders were completely occupied with the multitude of other customers at the opposite end of where the stranger was standing.  The clean cut man simply tapped the counter once with the tip of his walking stick lightly.  The large muscular bartender who at the time was deep in conversation with two pretty ladies; he suddenly broke off in mid-sentence and made his way directly to the stranger ignoring all other requests.

His sister took notice though as he pushed past her to the other side of the bar and watched her brother help an older gentleman completely out of sorts of the rest of the bar.  The stranger feeling her stare met her eyes, she shivered the moment they locked.  Taking a step forward to call out to her younger sibling she was stopped by man leaning over the counter and grasping her arm.

Startled by the intrusion she turned to lay fury into the man who violated her side of the bar, but took notice to the beer tap overflowing the glass that she was pouring behind the counter.  Immediately sparked into action she quickly forgot about the odd scene that just took place.

Her younger brother stopped before the stranger looking at him expectantly.

Smiling the man placed his order “I will have a whiskey neat young man.”

The bartender moved into action and prepared the stranger’s order, placing the shot glass in front of him.  The man tilted his head as if to dismiss and, shaking his head as if momentarily dazed, he went back to serving the other patrons.

The stranger placed the walking stick on the counter and lightly played with the glass in his right hand.  He pulled his left hand from the pocket along with the object he was fiddling with.  Ignoring the drink he held the object before him.

On a leather rope necklace was a carved egg shaped hunk of jade set in a gold frame.  The front half was an intricate carving of a squatting monkey figure, both its hands covered the monkey’s eyes.  The rear half was its smooth egg shape, both sides separated evenly by its gold frame.  The whole medallion stood almost two inches.

He held the jade monkey reverently; mesmerized by the artistry.  Without looking away from the figure he downed his whiskey and slammed the glass back on the counter. Without letting go of the shot glass the bartender quickly refilled his drink of choice and went back to his routine just as fast, the stranger drank this last shot slower and placing the glass down, softly this time, he pocketed the figure and took hold of his cane.

Precisely 11:45PM a young lady enters the bar, also out of sorts but does not stand out as lavishly as the stranger did.  The man smiles and makes his way to the new comer. 

©2013 Kinse, My Sweet Hero

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