This story contains sexual content, violence, coarse language and consumption of alcohol.
It is rated R and is for readers 18+ only.
Nothing Rhymes With Orange (Snow Angel)
Tray after tray of shots and pints went into six-two. All three rooms were draining the barrel and the rest of the bar was packed including the restaurant side. The weather seemed not to deter the drinkers at all and there was a thirst in the air. After hours of rowdy people who became rowdier and slurry, the patrons started thinning out.
I expertly poured out twelve tequila shots with my right hand and twelve whiskey cherry bombs with the other onto one tray simultaneously.
I set the bottles down and smiled at Locke who looked shooter soaked. “Practice and time management is not especially a talent.”
“Whoa little lady, that is too complicated a sentence.”
There was no hiding the fact the ring was gone. He took it off. Did he seriously think I wouldn’t notice or that I didn’t know it was there in the first place? Perhaps he’d tried his luck with everyone else and was giving up on finding a willing woman tonight.
I continued to fill orders grateful that final call was announced. Locke was adorable and sexy and taken. I do not partake in men who would flirt or worse, when they have someone waiting at home.
“Maybe you should call a taxi or an uber Locke,” I suggested.
The music became quieter and dull to push the last of the drunken toward coat check. They never actually notice the subtle shift in atmosphere. There would be a good crowd of those that double up before heading out.
“Shhh.” He smiled. “Should, would I could angel.” He snickered, “I lost my phone.”
There was no reason whatsoever for me to feel obliged to him at all. “Hey, Marcel any phones turn up lost?”
“Not yet. I’ll let you know.” He gave Locke a disapproving once-over before grabbing the tray of various drinks I had for him.
The last call on a night like this usually meant the not quite fall down drunks would order two or three and drink them far too quickly.
Locke leaned on the bar. “Got any coffee back there?”
I glanced over my shoulder, “Not any that aren’t 8% or more. Here.” I handed him a glass of water. “I’ll see about your phone once the crowd dies. They usually turn up.”
Locke sipped his water and watched me shut down the bar after filling the last of the orders. Gary came by with the tips to count and divide them up. Jordi closed and balanced the tills while I flitted about and started the glass cleaner before wiping the bar. The other servers cleared their areas as a few stragglers waited for rides or the nerve to head out into what is now a blizzard.
“Damn and hell that storm is worse than the network said it would be,” Jordi said as Marcel came up to the bar with a plastic bin of lost items.
The bin held cellphones, lipsticks, chapsticks, packs of cigarettes, lighters, unopened condoms, a couple of wallets of which Gary would contact the owners and return, a hairbrush and a handful of cellphones.
“Is that a vibrator?” Jordi asked with a sneer, “Dude did you actually pick it up?”
Marcel held up a rubber-gloved covered hand, plucked the little bullet-toy from the bin and dropped it into the garbage.
“Yeah because that didn’t touch everything in the bin,” Jordi rolled his amber eyes at his twin.
“Your phone in here?” Marcel held the bin out to Locke who looked disgusted and still very drunk.
“Even if… I’m not…” Locke shook his head and had that ‘I’m about to puke’ look.
I sighed and pulled my phone out. “What’s your number big guy?”
He gave me what I know he thinks is a whopper of a smile, it wasn’t. He told me the number and I dialed. Not one of the phones in the bin rang. Someone answered.
“Oh! Ah… hello?”
“Hello yourself, who the hell is this calling?” A very pissed female voice asked.
“I work at the Lucky Guess-” I was cut off before I could say more.
“Is he with you?”
“Well, you tell my son of a bitch cheating husband to get his sorry ass home now!”
The call was ended abruptly. “I’ll call you a cab.”
Locke furrowed his brow. “Who answered my phone?”
“Um…” I said as I came out from behind the bar. “Hold on.”
I listened as the cab company said it was at least an hour wait. Uber was worse. Locke was looking at the hat I gave him puzzled as he teetered by the door. Either he drank way too much or he wasn’t used to drinking.
“It goes on your head,” I said as Gary shut the lights off. “Come on I’ll give you a ride home.”
Lock stumbled out the door ahead of us.
“Adley,” Gary said with a warning.
I leaned in close and whispered. “Chill, his wife will be ten times more pissed if he stands out in the cold for an hour for a taxi and loses his toes. He’s no harm.”
“You’re too nice. I’ll drive him home.” Gary said as he locked the doors behind us.
“And have Lester tear you a new one for being late? Again?”
Gary was torn. Lester would understand, he always did but Gary wasn’t even supposed to be working tonight. He didn’t leave because we were short-staffed and at capacity.
“I’m fine, I’ll walk. I have a hat and these,” Locke said with a short wave of his cheap glove covered hand and he stumbled into the snow. In dress shoes. At least the hat was a warm one.
“Problem solved,” I said and headed toward my car.
Gary hesitated only a moment before climbing into his pickup and driving off.
I caught up with Locke before he got to the sidewalk and lowered the window.
“For heaven’s sake, Locke get in before you stumble into the road… again.”
He climbed in and took a solid minute to buckle his seatbelt.
“You seem kinda new at this drinking thing.”
“Yup, all-key-hall doesn’t like me much,” Locke said and frowned. “Who answered my phone? The thief I bet.”
I said nothing back. I did not want to hear him go on about his wife or anything I just wanted to get him home.
“Where do you live?”
My car fishtailed three times in half a block. I gripped the steering wheel tight enough to give myself white knuckles and sat forward. This was a bad storm.
“32 Oak Street.” Locke Replied.
I eased the brakes as the streetlights and traffic lights went out.
“Uh oh, that’s not good for seeing.” Locke said and tugged at the gloves, “You’re nice, people don’t do nice much anymore. Everybody is for themselves, me, me, me only me. Not you though, Adley the kind, has spare warm stuff to share.” Locke chuckled and looked at me. “I rhymed.”
“You sure did.”
“Spare, share, care, dare, did you know… nothing rhymes with orange?”
“They should invent a word so orange isn’t lonely. Lonely is the worst.”
Thankfully there weren’t many cars on the road at three in the morning, but those that were, were moving so slowly walking would be faster. Three blocks out, I rolled my window down for the cop with the handheld signal light.
“Evening Bane.” I smiled at my friend from high school.
“Evening Adley.” He shone a flashlight in my eyes. “Are you heading home?”
I would be if I weren’t driving clear across the city. I glanced at Locke as he grimaced and belched, charming.
“Yes, after I drop him off at home. Lucky me; I get to be designated driver.”
“How nice of you. The powers out citywide, how far do you have to go?”
“Not tonight if you’re smart. There are eight accidents between here and there that I know of.”
“Oh,” I frowned. “Bad?” I cringed.
“No.” He smiled kindly. “But they are blocking traffic. The expressway is an ice rink don’t even try.”
I nodded. I was already at the end of my nerves for driving anyway. “I’ll head home.”
“Good idea Adley. Drive safe.” Bane clapped his hand on my car door.
I took a deep breath. “Okay Locke, looks like you’re couch surfing.”
I parked ten minutes later for what should have only been a three-minute drive.
“You should call your wife and let her know.” I held my phone out.
“My…” Locke opened the car door and stumbled out before emptying his stomach into a drift of snow on my neighbor’s lawn. At least he didn’t paint my interior. I dialed as he went for round two.
To be continued…
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