Today I took Nina Sue to get her nose pierced. I proclaimed my longing for a bloody mary after the deed was done, so we wandered down the block and popped into a dimly lit tavern.
Upon entering we noticed only a few middle aged men sitting at the bar watching baseball and sipping on brews. We sat down on some stools and one of the men popped up and moseyed behind the counter. He was a rather hefty man in his 40s, sporting a t-shirt and red basketball shorts. His belly (“panis” may be a more appropriate term) protruded so far over his shorts, I can only assume it’s been years since he’s been able to look down and see his genitalia (or lack there of).
"Let’s see some IDs" was the first sentenced uttered from his lips, in place of a proper greeting. I fumbled for mine awkwardly and the man clutched and stared it down for what felt like several minutes before handing it back with a skeptical look on his face.
I requested a bloody mary and Nina Sue asked for the same. He grunted and went to the back to get the mix. It took him maybe 2 minutes to salt the glasses, pour the mix, top with vodka, and spear the olives. After serving the drinks, he mumbled “Five each.” Nina handed him a five dollar bill, then offered to cover mine when I pulled out my card.
You see, it is very typical in Portland bars and restaurants that only cash is accepted, or it is strongly suggested you pay with cash to avoid fees for the bar. When Nina Sue offered to pay in cash, it was clearly an effort of courtesy that should have been appreciated rather than impatiently chastised. The fat “bartender” saw it as an effort at avoiding tips and vocalized his annoyance. I believe he said something like “Oh and no tip” as he walked back to his perch behind the bar. Nina Sue and I looked at each other in disbelief as she chucked two dollars in front of her and we retreated to the back of the tavern.
We sat in a separate room and uncomfortably sipped our hastily-made cocktails. Both of us extremely flustered, I decided retaliation was of complete necessity. I withdrew a child trafficking pamphlet from my bag and jotted down the note seen above. Nina Sue and I slurped down the rest of our drinks, kindly bid ado to the fat man, and fled to my car, giggling with glee.