KENT plays a game involving ice cubes and sugar packets while leaning against his side of the bar, alone. He looks over at the tip jar to find it reasonably full and smiles in satisfaction. The door opens and KENT flinches from the cold blast of air. It’s TERRY and RENEE.
KENT: So you’re not dead. Well, I just lost twenty bucks. Thanks, fuckers.
TERRY: Shut up and make me a drink. This whole relationship situation I now find myself in requires regular infusions of whisky.
RENEE: Make it two. All things considered, I could be a lot less sober.
KENT: Where are the other two?
RENEE: They were carpooling. Last I saw, their car was high-centered on a snowdrift about five miles away.
KENT: And you didn’t consider stopping to help them?
RENEE (genuinely confused): No? What are you getting at?
TERRY (equally confused): This isn’t some gypsy bartender game, is it?
KENT stops to look at the camera and then goes to find the most expensive whisky he can behind the bar.
KENT: Never mind. Are any of you graduating soon, or is that too much to hope for?
TERRY: Hope is for bartenders who think they’re writers.
RENEE: And suckers who think God can save them from the IRS. Hah. That was a fun Thanksgiving. Cheers.
TERRY and RENEE clink glasses and each take a sip before making hilariously pained faces because whisky is fucking awful.
KENT: That one’s called Dead Mick, aged 13 years. It just cost both of you thirty bucks a pop.
KENT shows them the bottle. Printed on the label is a picture of a bottle-shaped headstone with a shamrock carved onto it.
RENEE: Correction: it just cost Terry sixty bucks.
KENT looks at TERRY in disbelief, who shrugs.
TERRY: It’s like being eaten alive by a pack of jaguars, but then instead of dying alone in the jungle having just soiled yourself in terror, you orgasm.
KENT (imagining it, disgusted): Jesus fucking Christ there aren’t enough words in the English language to describe how little I needed that mental image in my head.
RENEE: Learn French. It’s the most beautiful language in the world. You know, besides that scrolly one where the words are three letters long and everything’s color-coded. Oh, and German.
TERRY: No one wants to sound like a failure in more than just one language, Renee.
The door bursts open, leaving KENT shivering yet again. VIC and JASON step in.
VIC: Fuck both of you! And you, Kent!
JASON: You too, Kent? We had to call AAA! I didn’t even know Terree was giving you a ride to work; the least you could have done was make them stop to help us!
KENT (ignoring Jason’s stupidity): ‘Terree?’
RENEE: It’s his idiotic portmanteau for us.
VIC: Maybe Jason deserves to be left high and dry like this, but I think I’ve earned a little bit more respect than that.
There is an uncomfortable silence.
TERRY: In fact you haven’t, Victor.
JASON: Kent, give me a glass of expensive cognac. I feel like celebrating the extended warranty I got for my car that finally paid off.
KENT: Even a broken clock, I suppose.
RENEE: No, no, not so fast. He’s had that car for seven years, now.
KENT: Oh. Well. I have nothing more to say, I guess.
VIC: How about “Here’s one on the house?”
KENT: Suck yourself, you egotistical cretin.
VIC scans the room for the intended recipient of KENT’s insult while JASON perks up, excited.
JASON: Ooh! Ooh! I just learned I could do that today!
RENEE (defaulting to her native tongue): Qu’est-ce?
JASON: I don’t know what this has to do with Berserk, but yeah. Called my mom up; turns out I shattered my lower ribs when I was four and they just took ’em out. Which would explain those two big scars I have on my stomach. I’d always just assumed they were birthmarks.
TERRY: Just leave me the bottle, Kent. Thanks.
KENT complies and then gets comfortable for JASON’s explanation.
JASON: What had happened was that I’d tried riding a pair of umbrellas off the roof in the hopes that the wind would carry me away from my stepdad. I can’t really say I remember this, but she mentioned that I’d hit my head pretty hard, too. So, long story short, I got bored yesterday and discovered my talent for autofellatio. Crazy, huh?
RENEE: You New Yorkers have such funny euphemisms for “fucking retarded.”
VIC: This is usually the point where I’d claim to be able to do that too, but no. Not this time.
TERRY gives him a look.
VIC: What? I can be lucid. It stands to reason, since I’m fucking perfect.
TERRY: And because you’re perfect, I doubt you’d have any problem with this half-glass of whisky?
TERRY offers it to VIC with a mad glint in his eyes.
VIC: Like I can’t drink-
TERRY: One shot, pussy.
RENEE: This is predictable. He gulps it down, throws up on you, you punch him, everyone laughs, and he edges one step closer to the inevitable murder/suicide.
TERRY: But…but I wanna.
KENT: This is a rare sight.
TERRY: I will turn you into a woman, Kent.
KENT: Shutting up.
JASON makes his move and snatches the whisky from TERRY’s hand before downing it in one go and hurling the glass across the barroom, where it shatters on some HIPSTER’s head. The HIPSTER considers turning it into a thing before he realizes who threw the glass. He shakes his head in pity and begins picking bits of broken glass out of his forehead in silence.
TERRY: Yeah, that’s fucking right, dickhead.
RENEE: You hate hipsters now, too?
TERRY: I mean, I hate most people. The pretext follows the sentiment.
JASON: I don’t hate anyone.
RENEE: Yeah, we know. It’s basically the most tragic thing about you.
JASON: I wonder. Can you really tell what’s tragic about a person before the actual tragedy occurs?
RENEE is visibly offended by this.
RENEE: Of course you fucking can. That’s why it’s fucking tragic, you fucking pleb.
TERRY: Whoa, there.
RENEE: (in increasing volume): Shut up, Terry, I’m not finished. Has it ever occurred to you that Othello would not have been either interesting or believable were he just some bumblefuck who snapped one day? He had the tragic flaw of jealousy. It was evident the whole damn time and it was the whole damn point of the fucking play!
JASON: I thought the point of Othello was ‘listen to what your heart tells you.’
TERRY takes VIC by the shoulders and removes him from the immediate area.
RENEE: Listen up, you little shit, because I’m only going to say this once. There are three things sacred to me: guns, money, and theater. The difference between the former two and the latter is that guns and money are guns and money no matter what kind of shit you talk about them, but the ancient art of drama requires preservation. As such, it is my duty as a thespian to present you with a choice: read up on Sophocles or die cold, naked and alone in the woods, your last thought one of confusion as you wonder whether it’s the sub-zero temperatures that finally did you in, or perhaps blood loss from the gaping throat wound.
JASON (probably not sarcastic): The cold. No, wait. The throat wound. How gaping are we talking here?
KENT: If this gets violent, I’m calling the chef in. He was in Desert Storm.
JASON: You have a chef?
KENT: Where do you think the wings come from?
JASON: I’ve actually always been more curious about the olives.
VIC: Upon the peak of Mount Modena sits the Guru Extra Virgin Singh. From his wisdom come the olives and it is he we have to thank for our martinis being properly garnished. Peace be upon him.
TERRY: You mixed up Sikhism and Islam.
VIC: It’s a fucking joke about olives, Terry; do I look like Salman Rushdie?
JASON: Wait, I’m confused. What part is the joke? Is this guy’s name really ‘Extra Virgin Singh’ or is it, like, a pseudonym?
TERRY, VIC, RENEE, & KENT: Pseudonym.
JASON: Yeah, that makes sense.
VIC: Perfect sense. Tell you what, if you have questions like this in the future, come to me.
JASON: Thanks, Vic.
KENT shakes his head in incredulity.
KENT: So, I’m fully aware of how depressing the answer to this question might be, but I think I’ll ask anyway: do any of you people have any other friends?
Everyone except VIC looks away uncomfortably.
VIC (smug): If Facebook is anything to go by – and it is – I have over fifty friends. I draw people to me like kids to a priest.
JASON: I’m not really into labels right now. “Friend.” “Tormentor.” “Black.” “White.” “Snow.” “Cold.” “Frostbite.” “Punishment.” “Stepdad.” I mean, what does is all mean, anyway?
RENEE: “Friend” is a euphemism for the type of people who suddenly appear when you have money.
TERRY: The answer you’re looking for, Kent, is “no.” Unless all my contacts count. I have a lot of them. Valesco actually sent me a lovely Christmas card this year with about twenty thousand dollars tucked into it.
KENT raises an eyebrow.
TERRY: Valesco owns a maternity boutique. We do business.
RENEE: Oh, say hi to him for me the next time you go “shopping.” He has the cutest kids.
KENT: Please stop talking before I become an accessory to something.
TERRY and RENEE completely lose their shit at this.
VIC: So why the sudden interest in my people skills? Looking for a few pointers?
VIC: Because I bet you could get better tips if you had my help.
KENT: I don’t want your help.
VIC: See, that’s your first problem. It’s always “me, me, me, I want this, I don’t want that,” with you. Don’t do that. It’s unattractive.
KENT: There are no words for…any of this.
VIC: So stop talking; you sound like an asshole. Let someone else speak for a change. Christ, I can’t be about babysitting you through this shit. It’s time you left the nest.
KENT: Yeah. Fine. No problem. Does this mean you’re actually going to start tipping, now?
VIC: Not with that attitude, I’m not. You’re not really making me feel like you want me to be here and that you value my patronage.
KENT: It could very well be that neither are the case. At all. Nor have they ever been. Like, ever.
VIC: See, now you’re just inviting me to walk out on my tab.
JASON: He is? You are? Fuck yeah, free drinks! Kent, make me a margarita with Patrón. And don’t drown it.
KENT immediately adds the expensive drink to JASON’s (who is too excited to notice) tab, before going for a cabinet at the end of the bar labeled ‘Confirm that you have their credit card prior to opening.’
TERRY (having just composed himself): Okay. Okay. I’m back. Kent, do you have a breathalyzer back there?
KENT: For ten bucks I’ll change the intake for you.
TERRY: Too drunk to care about sanity.
KENT: You mean sanitation?
TERRY: Either/or. At this point I’m just wondering how much more I can intake before the night’s paradigm shifts to “stay awake or shit myself and die.”
RENEE: Evocative. And equally stupid.
JASON: Deja vu.
RENEE: No, see, you say ‘deja vu’ when you can’t explain why the situation is familiar.
JASON: I’m drunk. I can’t explain why anything is familiar.
TERRY: Even a broken clock.
VIC: Interesting story about clocks.
VIC: My paternal grandfather was a watchmaker. He had a little shop in Concord. By the time I’d been born and was old enough to remember visiting, the place had basically been converted into an antique shop. Obsolete though his work had become, he still had a loyal customer base. Mostly old-timers like himself. I think there were a few war buddies in the mix. Anyway, he loved his work. The Pattersons are a family of some means, so he didn’t really need to keep doing this. He could have retired back in the early eighties, but he would rather have just kept doing what he did.
KENT, RENEE and TERRY are uncharacteristically quiet. JASON contemplates his drink, uncharacteristically thoughtful.
VIC (cont’d): I was with him when he worked on his very last job; I’m pretty sure I was ten at the time. It was an old one. Really old. 18th Century old. Its owner had just found it in an old family safe; he’d asked my grandfather to restore it to working condition. Over the course of a two week visit with him, the two of us worked day and night to fix that thing. He would do the actual work; I was in charge of handing him the right tools. It took us as long as it had ever taken him to fix a watch, and when we were done and he’d been paid whatever price you can put on a labor of love, he looked at me in the eyes and said “Well, Vic, I think we’ve done it.” He finally retired about two weeks later. I guess he’d just been waiting for his Magnum Opus. Two years later, he died peacefully in his sleep. I discovered at the reading of his will that he’d left the watch shop to me.
KENT (visibly moved): I didn’t know that about you, Vic. Is the shop still open?
VIC: Nah. About five years ago, I gutted it, sold all the old clocks and shit to some billionaire Eurotrash from Germany or something and turned the place into an adult video store. That place has been paying for my drinks since my first fake ID. I almost felt bad about it all, but everyone was always like “Vic, how is Grandpa’s old shop?” “Vic, have you visited Grandpa’s shop lately?” Fuck that noise. It’s my shop.
All are floored except JASON.
JASON: So what you mean to tell me is that your last name is ‘Patterson?’
TERRY (genuinely upset): Oh, Jesus Christ, Jason!
JASON: What? All this time I thought it was ‘Yuprick.’
RENEE: I just can’t, Vic. I can’t. I’m trying to, but I can’t.
VIC: Oh. Yeah. Do that ‘above this shit’ thing you do, Renee. We all remember you raped Terry.
KENT: Excuse me, what?
RENEE: Shut up, Kent. Walk away.
TERRY: And don’t pretend you actually care what happens to me one way or another, Vic.
JASON: None of you care. I could die right now and Kent would be the one to pick up the phone and call an ambulance.
KENT: If it were you? Yeah.
RENEE: Alright, time the fuck out. Everything just got ten times realer than usual at the drop of a goddamn hat and I want to know why.
KENT’s eyes light up in realization.
KENT: Fuck, I know why. It’s that fucking whisky I gave all of you. I mean, it’s whisky. There was going to be a fight and it was going to get personal.
TERRY: No, that only explains Renee and I. Jason and Vic arrived later.
JASON: You guys just seemed so angry. I’m a heavily empathic individual.
RENEE: Alright, so, like everything, we can trace this back to your neuron count. Vic, what’s your excuse?
VIC: Man, fuck you. I was just telling a goddamn story and then suddenly I’m Amon fucking Goeth.
JASON: Can you, like, not?
TERRY: Grow a pair, Jason; I let “Dead Mick” slide. And if you’re going to claim to be trans…trans-whatever the fuck you’ve been calling it lately-
JASON (in a helpful tone): Transnigga. It’s okay, I can say it because mentally, I’m not white.
TERRY: Yeah. That. You can’t be “black” and still get offended whenever Vic actually show’s something resembling cultural awareness.
JASON: Two words: Sammy Davis Jr.
TERRY (finishing the sentence):…was a goddamn convert. But yeah, you’re kind of like him. A stupid, Tumblr-inspired reverse version of him.
JASON: Hey, Tumblr has been with me every step of the way. At least they know what it’s like to be different in a world that doesn’t understand you.
RENEE: The world understands you perfectly, Jason. They understand you, and they have found you wanting.
VIC: I’m going to take this opportunity to express the fact that I never factored my racial background into the conclusion I made long ago that I was – and still am – superior. Neither do I hold the fact that you all belong to victim groups against any of you.
RENEE: You don’t have a racial background.
VIC: Glad you understand, Renee.
JASON (to Renee): Is ‘Canadian’ a victim group? I mean, it’s certainly cold up there.
RENEE looks like she’s about to correct JASON before she shakes her head ‘no’ to herself.
RENEE: Yes. Every year, the Canadian government reports an annual figure of what’s usually between ten and fifty thousand victims of Bigfoot. It’s called the Sasquatch Related Fatalities list. This has been going on for centuries, now. A few years ago, Donald Sutherland and William Shatner created the Sasquatch Relief Fund. It’s a nonprofit organization that helps the families of Sasquatch victims get back on their feet after having to live through the blurry ordeal.
JASON: That sounds like a good idea, but they should change the name.
RENEE (biting): Why?
JASON: ‘Sasquatch Relief Fund’ and ‘Sasquatch Related Fatalities’ share an acronym. It just seems like hearing the name of the charity would bring up bad memories for the victims’ families.
TERRY: There’s nothing an amusingly-pronounced apology can’t solve in that regard, I’m sure.
RENEE: Do it, Departed. Go there.
VIC: Oh God, this isn’t going to be that thing you two have been doing where you get in a stupid argument and then kick us out of the apartment so that you can have sex, is it?
TERRY: I do that for your benefit, not mine. Your presence is easily ignored.
KENT: No one is kicking anyone out of anywhere except me.
JASON: You know, I bet more people would listen to you if you were drunk, too.
KENT: Gee, I don’t suppose I could get you or anyone else here to settle, could I?
RENEE: You sound like you want to go home.
KENT: ‘Go home in the evening’ is the only dream I still allow myself to have. Some day I’ll clock out before sunup. Some day.
VIC: Not today, Kent. Not today.
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