At times like this, it’s important to take a deep breath and remind myself why I started writing about Bloody Mary’s in the first place. The truth is, it’s historic. I was, after all, a history major, back in the good ol’ days when I was a Thirsty Scholar. Therefore, as a person who is primarily interested in historical things, anywhere that has remained mostly intact since the 1950’s is going to be of interest to me. Thus part of the reason I began to take such an interest in the establishment in the first place.
This bar was the first bar I visited after I came to Vermillion. Okay, I admit it. I snuck in underage. The group of guys I was with lined up so I could walk past them unnoticed. Andrew likes to pretend he was there for this incident and saw the entire thing.
“Yeah, I was the doorman,” he says. “I saw her there standing in the bar looking lost and all alone. I don’t know what she ordered, but she obviously didn’t like it. That’s how I knew she was under 21. Still, I couldn’t approach her. Something about her seemed so mysterious. I’d never seen her here before. Something about her seemed… different. I wondered where she was from. I didn’t know what to say. I watched her for a little while more until she left the bar. Then I reached out and said super seriously, ‘Don’t come back in without an ID again.’ She looked at me, smiled and said, ‘Whatever you say, Boss.'”
I look up at Andrew and roll my eyes.
“That is totally not what happened AT ALL,” I say. “I didn’t talk to anyone outside of that friend group that night. Especially not the doorman.”
“I’ll have you know the doorman is a very serious position. It’s the first step in working your way up.”
“Uh huh. Yeah. Sure. That’s why you never gave me a job.”
“I gave you a job! You’re The Writer Extraordinaire.”
“Gee, thanks a lot.”
“You’re the one who said you were looking for a story.”
“I wasn’t exactly expecting this.”
“Well, this is what you got. So just be grateful for it.”
“I am grateful for it.”
“Anyway, yeah, whatever. You can’t just walk into my bar and start writing a story about it without my consent.”
“You gave me your consent. I explicitly told you to your face that I was writing a story about Bloody Mary’s and that your character was named Andrew. It was you who decided to take that character to a whole new level. To me, it was just a short story. You’re the one who wanted to keep meeting after we got that hotel room in Omaha. You followed me around everywhere! I didn’t know what to do. I’ve never done this before, after all. You’re the first person who’s really brought this character out in me.”
“I just wanted to see what would happen.”
“This is what happened.”
“Is that such a bad thing?”
“I don’t know. Honestly, I just wanted to be the Friday Night Waitress. I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. I just wanted a starring role in the show. Story of my life, right? Go figure.”
“You don’t make a very good waitress. You make a much better Writer Extraordinaire.”
“Then why won’t you let the Writer Extraordinaire do her job?”
“Because she wasn’t doing it. She was getting drunk and fucking around.”
“You weren’t exactly helping the situation.”
“I wasn’t aware I was responsible for your professional development as a writer.”
“Well, you’re the one who continued to serve me even though you knew I was well past my expiration date.”
“Well… whatever. You’re the one who’s been making up stories about fucking me.”
“That’s because they call you The Whoremonger. It’s like the Spice Girls. You’re the Sexy one. Duke is the Cranky one. The Owl is the totally out-there, weird, wild one. Teen Angel is the Hot one. And PJ is the Smart One. Yeah. See what I did there? Amazing, right? Who knew I actually knew what I was doing.”
“Well… it’s not my fault you made yourself look so crazy by getting involved with all those guys.”
Andrew looks up and grins at me.
“I’m here with you till The End, baby. No matter what I say in real life.”
I look at him worriedly.
“I don’t like the sound of that, darling. You know I’m not interested in usurping your real life. I’d much rather run away to New Orleans and start over fresh. Frankly, I don’t give a damn whether or not you’re involved with that plan in real life or what.”
Andrew shakes his head at me.
“I think you’ve overthinking it. You should just keep writing the story. You’re telling a good one. People like it. I promise you. It’s just not what they expect. I think it’s important for you to tell your story. I just don’t think you’re balancing it enough with the good experiences. Like the stuff I read on Twitter today. Those were good experiences. What happened to change everything around?”
“You happened to change everything around. Just look at this narrative. You’ve taken over the entire thing! I was just sitting here trying to reflect on everything I love about Bloody Mary’s and you just walked in and took over!”
“Well, maybe that’s just what I do.”
“Ugh, I seriously can’t take this anymore. You’re making me feel like I’m going crazy. I deserve better than this. I deserve to go somewhere far away from here and start a new life. Somewhere I have hope. Somewhere I actually stand a chance to succeed.”
“Well, go ahead then. We don’t want ya here anyway!”
“Okay, yeah, whatever. Call me when you’re divorced and ready to go to Washington, D.C. That’s what you’re really capable of in this life.”
“Yeah, okay, whatever. Bye Felicia! Don’t let the door hit ya on your way out!”
“Likewise, asshole. Bloody Mary’s Bar deserves better than you’re treating it. Better, I tell ya! Do you hear me? Better!”
I storm out of the bar and slam the door in Andrew’s face.