“You should be careful,” I say to Jackopolis. We call him Jackopolis because he’s enormous, as big as a city, a six-four, 300-something pound, body builder, ex-college football player from Florida.
“Why?” He asks looking curiously at his pint of straw-colored DUIPA in front of him. A hoppy, flavorful piece of work from California that is wonderful, but dangerous.
“Well,” I say, “It’s over 10 percent alcohol. I have two of these and black out.”
“Yeah,” he says looking over my five-foot-six-inch frame with pitiful disregard. “But look at you. And look at me.”
I say, “Suit yourself, but you’re no match for the DUIPA.”
Before Jackopolis can respond, a guy in a golf hat with hair shooting out of the top of his head around the brim of his hat and raccoon eyes from a bad tan interrupts me, “Got a match?”
“Yeah,” I say, “My butt and his face.” I point up at Jackopolis who smirks at me.
Queue laughs. He’s back here too. We’re working the weekend together so the girls can have a day off. They’re at Janet’s bachelorette party in the mountains. Janet found her perfect, white, suburban male who works in an office and makes money. She’s happy. We’re happy.
“Is that why Janet’s not working?” A regular of Janet’s asks. “We’re engaged,” he says pointing to a lovely girl next to him. She’s all smiles.
“Marriage,” I say. “Worst thing you can do to a friend.” The girl’s smile melts. They finish their beer and leave without tipping.
“Every weekend I hate people a little more,” Queue says.
Kay, a freckled face, blue-eyed girl with black curly hair from Virginia who normally works this shift leaves her book in the well to check her table. I dash over and tuck her book under the trays.
Kay returns to the well; looks back and forth and realizes her book is gone.
“Oh shit. Come on, guys. I’m busy. Which one of you took my book?” She looks right at me. “What did you do with it?”
“With what?” I mock.
“You know,” she says. “My book. My table is ready to close. I need those tickets.”
She grabs her remaining beers and races back to her table. Queue writes poop on all her tickets while she’s gone. He returns the book under the trays.
Jackopolis comes around again. “I’ll have another one of those DUIPAs.”
“That’s three,” I say. “It’s gonna kick you in the ass.”
Jackopolis looks at me like I’m a fool, then he lumbers to the other side of the bar.
“It’s gonna smack him and hard,” I say to Queue.
“Yup,” Queue says.
“Seriously,” Kay says at the well. “I need my book. Table Two wants to close.”
She eventually finds her book under the trays
“Is it a full moon?” Queue asks.
Cause people are especially stupid tonight.” A girl at the bar says to another girl, “I used to have a Vietnamese boyfriend with a large penis.” I can’t help myself. “What was his name? Dong Real Long?” The girls laugh. Queue gives me a look that reads, ‘Stupid.’ “Last Call,” I hear Queue’s electric voice announce over the speakers; finally. We finish the last orders, close tabs and hustle people out. When the overhead lights come on, people continue to linger with half-finished drinks. The staff presses people to finish. “Time to drink! You got three minutes then we gotta pullem.”
“Dude. Who wrote this?” Kay raises a food ticket for us to read. Circled is the word poop and a note: “I don’t find this appropriate.”
“Seriously?” Queue says, “Fucking people. Can’t take a joke.” The tip also reflects how the author wasn’t happy about it, which makes us all laugh a little more; even Kay.
“Fuck’m.” I say.
“Yeah Fuck’m,” Kay agrees.
“Pay check!” I announce and pour her a shot.
“Must have been a full moon tonight. People sucked,” Kay says.
We take our shots.
“Hey,” Trick says at the door. “Who got Jackopolis fucked up? He’s on the stairs puking.”
After several hours, we finally finish. As we leave, we pat the giant on his back. He drools over a puddle of vomit and mumbles.
“Good night big guy,” Queue says. “We warned you.”
Jackapolis groans and mumbles something with long, strings of clear saliva hanging from his mouth.
“Want another DUIPA, Jackie?” I whisper in his ear. “You can handle it. Look at me. Look at you.”
Jackapolis ralphs anther pint of vomit between his huge legs.
“There’s the rest of your tip, Kay.” I say.
Bryan Jansing’s works include, “Like Clumps of Dried Dirt,” “Bridge Party,” and “A Number on Reality,” in Fast Forward Vol. 3, The Mix Tape (2010), which was the finalist for the Colorado Book Awards. He was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2019. He has written for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. His book Italy: Beer Country is the first book about the Italian craft beer movement.