“Christ, I can’t believe she let us stay,” I remarked. Jeff and Lloyd agreed.
We kept our waitress busy for a long while, ordering one round after another. Jeff got the bright idea to ask if we could move to the bar to free up the table and get out of her hair. “I’ll have to ask my manager,” she told us.
A minute later she came back to tell us her manager was pissed at us. “But it’s right there in the menu, ‘All the beer you can drink’,” I said.
“I know. That’s what I told him,” she said. “It’s just that nobody has taken advantage of it like this.”
“Yeah hah!” we shouted as one. We shook hands with a sense of mock accomplishment.
The waitress laughed at our excitement. “He’s pissed, but he said you can go sit at the bar.”
We thanked her and expressed our hopes that this didn’t get her into trouble. She assured us that there was nothing to worry about on her part and wished us a good evening. “I’ll check in on you later to see if you need anything else,” she added with a grin. All three of us left a generous tip for her help.
The bartender, a guy named Dave who appeared to be of college age, saw us walk into the empty bar and said, “So you guys are the troublemakers I’ve been warned about?”
“That’s us!” Jeff laughed.
“Well, sit up here at the bar, why don’t ya?” Dave told us. “Anybody who pisses off the boss like you did is alright in my book.” We each took a stool at the bar with our glasses and asked him to fill them up.
“Where you guys from?” our new friend asked.
“Indiana,” Lloyd answered. With that we were in a full blown conversation that lasted a couple of hours and several more glasses of beer.
We started to take note of the fact that we weren’t in all that bad of shape for the amount of beer we had polished off. We all had a nice buzz that leveled off at a good point before we might be considered drunk. It was an unusual feeling for us. We took advantage of it.
It was about an hour into our time at the bar that Cindy, one of the girls from our group, entered the bar. “Hey, guys! Mind if I join you?” she asked. None of us were all that fond of Cindy. Under normal conditions we would have been cordial to her. This was not a normal condition.
“What are you doing here?” I asked, barely concealing just how much it bugged me that she showed up.
“Yeah,” Lloyd added. “What happened to the ferry ride?”
“I changed my mind and decided to come back to be with you guys,” Cindy said. None of us were happy about that turn of events. “Can I get a beer?”
Jeff turned back around to the bar and told her, “Sure. Get a beer.”
“I thought I might have one of your beers,” Cindy explained. She was trying her best to be cutesy and flirty with us. We weren’t biting.
“Hell, even I know you can’t do that,” I told her. “Right, Dave?”
“That’s right,” Dave answered. “You’ll have to order your own beer, sweetheart.” I gave Dave a questioning look over the “sweetheart” comment.
“Well, I guess I’ll just go back to the hotel then,” Cindy said. “Can you guys escort me back?”
The laughter echoed through the entire restaurant. “Are you shittin’ me?” asked Jeff.
“No. It’s getting late and I’m not sure how to get back,” Cindy pouted.
“Bull. Shit,” I called. “The hotel is just on the other side of the Coke sign.” I pointed out the window and down 47th Street. “It’s less than a two minute walk straight down this street.”
“I’m not leaving without one of you guys,” she admonished.
Lloyd had about enough of this and tried to end it quickly. “Dave, if we take her back to our hotel and come right back could we continue drinking without paying?”
“Sorry, guys,” Dave said. “My boss would have my ass for that.”
“There you go, Cindy,” said Lloyd. “You’re on your own.”
Cindy was starting to get pissed. “I’m not going back alone.”
I pointed out the window. “There’s a cop. I bet if you asked him nicely he’d take you back.” Jeff started laughing.
Now Cindy was really pissed. She stood there giving us the evil eye. It did no good. She fumed for a few minutes while we continued our conversation with Dave.
Pretty soon we heard the door open and turned around to see that Cindy was gone. We looked out the window and watched her as she crossed the two avenues back to the Hotel Edison. We lost sight of her then went back to our beers.
“I thought she’d never leave,” said Dave. Our laughter once again filled the restaurant . The manager poked his head in to see what the ruckus was all about. He saw Dave pouring three more beers, curled his lower lip, shook his head, and then went back to his office.
“Guys,” Dave said, “you’ve almost killed this keg. You have time to finish it off?”
“Hell yeah, we do!” Jeff proclaimed. He held his glass up for a toast. “To Dave!”
“To New York!” Lloyd toasted.
“To Cindy!” I added with a straight face.
Jeff grabbed a handful of peanuts and pelted me in the face. The four of us laughed for a few minutes before settling back down and spending the next hour swapping stories comparing life in Indiana and New York City.
Dave topped off our beers one last time before pronouncing the keg dead. We downed our drinks then thanked Dave for a fun evening. He thanked us back. We each grabbed a few dollars to leave a tip.
“You guys don’t have to do that,” Dave told us.
“Oh, no. We learned a hard lesson about that a couple of days ago,” Lloyd told Dave. “We’re not making that mistake again.”
“I can imagine,” Dave chuckled. “Welcome to New York, guys.”