It was a bit of a dreary spot to put it simply. I almost considered walking back out into the rain just so the atmosphere could feel a bit more cheery. A dim lamp hanging from the ceiling was the only source of light in the room. It lit up the most important area of the room, the bar itself. Not that there was much else to begin with. The whole place was cramped, sort of like one of those 50's diners. A few booths lined the walls, only one of which was taken, and the person there was sleeping.
"There's only two reasons a person comes in here." A voice rang out. A husky man leaned over the bar top to look at me, presumably the tender. "They either want to piss or got the wrong place. Which is it, fella?" He was clearly a man that was bitter from years gone by. Guess we were one in the same in that regard.
"You serve drinks, or do I bring my own?" I said back to him while I stepped closer to the bar. He stared at me with baggy green eyes. Maybe for a brief period of time there was a grin on his face, but I honestly couldn't tell you.
"Got a point there. What'll it be? We don't have any of that crap from the clubs around here." He was already pulling a clean glass off the rack to set down. There was emphasis on the clean part. I'd almost say that it was fresh out of a box or something. I dug around in my pocket and dropped a couple of coins in front of me.
"Coke." I said. The tender raised his eyebrow at me.
"You come in to a place like this lookin' for a kid's drink?"
"If you don't have any, just-" I was going to finish my sentence, maybe with something snarky, but the guy just waved his hand.
"I got it." He pulled a bottle out from a little fridge sitting on the floor, popped the top on the counter, and turned it upside down. The glass was big enough so the fizz wasn't a problem. "Sorry about that. Don't get much business in here anymore." He swept away the coins and I clenched the handle of my drink. He probably wanted me to ask about his situation so he could tell me some story. So, I did.
"Why's that?" I took a sip. Damn, it was cold. Better that than warm, though.
"All those new places opening up takes all the customers. Can't afford to compete, can't say I'd bother trying even if I could." The tender grabbed a cup from the sink and started drying it, as if that scene hadn't been seen a few million times.
"What keeps you open in a place like this, then?"
"I either run my own place or go deaf being a janitor in one of those damned clubs. May not be glamorous, but at least it's mine." He raised the glass up the light to inspect it for a moment, then hung it on the rack. Having his own shop must have been important to him. Probably had some sentimental value, or it was his father's dying wish, some bullshit like that. I wanted to care to some extent, but I couldn't. There was no reason to. I wasn't going to say anything to make it all better. We kept chatting regardless, poking into each others' lives. Nothing too deep or serious, just something to pass the time. Were I able to see the clock on the wall I would be able to tell how much time had passed, but that didn't matter either really. Nothing did. We were a couple of unimportant ******** talking about nothing in a place no one cared about.