STORY: The Stranger Across the Bar

It was just another ordinary Saturday Night at Bloody Mary’s Bar. I looked around the room to survey the current selection of men. I wasn’t expecting anything Big.

Suddenly, my eyes landed on a handsome young man sitting on the opposite side of the bar. He was tall with dirty blonde hair and bright blue eyes. He was wearing a black suit without a tie and his pink shirt unbuttoned slightly at the neck. He smiled at me as soon as he caught me staring at him. The image was permanently seared into my brain.

“Who is that?!” I asked my friend, pointing to the stranger across the bar. “He’s one of the sexiest guys I’ve ever seen! Does he come here often? I don’t think I’ve ever seen him in here before.”

My friend stared at me with her mouth wide open.

“Are you serious?” she asked. “You must be putting me on. Are you making one of your weird inside jokes again?”

“No!” I exclaimed. “Why would I be making a joke? I seriously have no idea who that guy is!”

“Betsey, how long have you been coming to this bar?”

“Uhhh… like the entire time I’ve lived in South Dakota. So, like, five years at this point, maybe?”

“You’ve been coming here five years and you don’t recognize the Owner of Bloody Mary’s?”

I looked at the sexy stranger again and gasped.

“Shut the fuck up!” I exclaimed. “That is NOT the Owner of Bloody Mary’s Bar!”

My friend gave me an incredulous look.

“Yes it is! How can you not recognize him? I just saw you talking to him the other day! He’s served you drinks a thousand times!”

“No,” I said firmly. “I seriously don’t even believe you right now. That is not the same guy.”

“Exactly how drunk have you been getting?”

“Uhhh… I think I would remember ordering a drink from that guy, okay? I’m just saying. Does he always dress that way?”

“Now that you mention it, he does look pretty good right now. Normally he just wears cargo shorts.”

“Ahhh,” I said, nodding my head slowly. “That explains his invisibility.”

“Don’t look now, but he’s looking over here right now.”

“What?”

“Oh yeah, he’s looking right at you.”

“Huh?”

I looked up and made eye contact with him immediately. The way he smiled at me nearly knocked me off my seat. I dropped my gaze back down to the bar.

“He’s not looking at me,” I said. “I think he must be looking at someone else.”

I turned my head both ways to see who was behind me. Where I expected to see a gaggle of scantily-clad, blonde sorority girls, there were two old townies playing a game of pool instead. Aside from my friend and I, there were no other women in the room this time of night. Everyone else was sitting out on the patio instead.

“It sure seems like he’s looking at you. He’s not looking at me, that’s for damn sure.”

“That doesn’t make any sense. Why would he be looking at me?”

“Because you’re you?”

“Yeah, exactly. Guys like that don’t look at me. At least not that way.”

“Well, it sure seems like there’s one looking at you now.”

“Do you think I should go over there and talk to him?”

A look of concern suddenly crossed my friend’s face.

“I don’t think he’s single,” she said gravely.

“That is the saddest thing I’ve ever heard in my entire life,” I said, downing the rest of my drink. “If he was single, I would climb that like a tree.”

I looked back at the stranger across the bar one last time and got up to leave.

“I’ve had just about enough of this,” I said. “Let’s go get some cheese balls.”

After that night, I never saw “Andrew” quite the same way ever again.

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