Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Rex Quits Dogging It

(This is Part Two of "Rex Backs Off" immediately below.)

The bar was still in low gear.  He had sent Rex back into his dog house and gestured  to Winston, asking him to bring her a beer.  He chatted with the Golden Retriever about how she came to choose his town for her exchange program, how long she'd be studying here, how much she liked sailing, what her favourite colour was, if she got stranded on a desert island what book she'd want with her, did she really want to spend her spare time working in a bar like this one...

She wasn't your average female canis familiaris, this one already knew she had the job.  He thought he was being engaging; she was just killing time, waiting.

She wasn't egotistical, far from it, it was just that she could figure things out fast and her brain had processed the incoming information: free beers, intense eye contact, earnest engagement, his role in the business and the way he kept touching her upper arm and 2 + 2 had added up to 4.6.  With the part-time job secured, her brain moved on to more interesting things.

"So what's your pay amount and the number of hours I must work?" she asked in her 'English-as-a-second-language'.  He stopped, his mouth closing and his head pulling back.  "I, ah, well, IF you got the job..." he said and rattled off the basics, sweetening the deal by offering what he was paying his longest-serving employees.  She nodded, a demure look on her face as she looked around at the gradually growing crowd.  She met his eye.  "I like it here, I will take your job.  Should I start now?"

Rattled was the only word that came to mind.

He cocked his head and looked behind the bar to where Winston was now frantically trying to manipulate a martini shaker while a glass overflowed under an open draught tap.  A crowd two people deep thronged the bar trying to get Winston's attention, his white apron was already looking like Joseph's technicolour dream coat.  He looked back at her.  She smiled.  He smiled too, wryly.  He took her hand and helped her off the bar stool.  She looked quizzical.  "Come with me and I'll show you around."

Winston's ego could use the dressing down and the customers weren't going anywhere soon.  He led her down the stairs, through the sparsely populated restaurant below, past the appraising gaze of "Pepe", the French stoner Maitre'd, who was so busy undressing her with his eyes that he collided with a bus boy, then down into the basement where the ice maker was.  It was quiet down there in the ancient space, save the creaking of the floorboards above their heads.  Rex stirred, his head suddenly popping up from its prone position. 

"This is where you'll have to come to get ice, but mind your head on the beams."  She looked around at the potato slicer, the restaurant supplies and the furnace which was rumbling faintly.  She turned back to him.  Rex was looking at her hindquarters.  "Do you bring all your women down here?" His eyes jerked up to hers.  "Ah...  The new girls, waitresses, well, I don't usually do the hiring/training, actually..."  "So you're new to this?" she said with an unreadable expression.  "Ha!" Rex blurted, "Actually I'm an old hand at this."  He grinned and filled a two large white ice buckets with a large aluminum scoop.  She took the opportunity to look at his ass. 

"I'll get these... Ladies first!" he said, picking up a bucket in each hand.  She headed up the stairs, handling the worn wooden treads quite handily in her calf-hugging boots.  Rex was treated to a view of hip swaying perfection atop a pair of legs that would make a wannabe runway model green with envy.  Pepe was hovering, Rex glared him down.  By the time they reached the second floor he was having trouser-trouble. 

Over the growing din he stopped outside the bar entryway and explained that all she had to do was carry a tray, take drink orders and bring back empties.  Not brain surgery -- he was pretty sure she could handle the challenge with aplomb.  He handed her a tray and she disappeared into the crowd with a look of serious determination on her face .

He felt he had little to worry about, though stepping behind the bar to find a sweating, muttering, frantic Winston he changed his mind.  He tied a fresh apron around his waist and let Winston finish his last orders as he began banging out beers and cocktails in rapid succession, laughing and bantering with the crowd about the debatable potential for a new career for the recently ejected "Winston, Your Bartender".  

All things considered, as he closed out the last few tabs in the wee hours, the final stragglers summarily ejected by Adamo, the doorman, the evening had gone smoothly.  He'd been impressed with her ability to handle the orders, the ass-grabbers, the bitchy girls who wanted to know who she was and where she'd parachuted into 'their' bar from.  She'd learned how to pour draught quickly and took over much of that responsibility while he mixed cocktails.  In the tight space behind the bar she'd met his eye with frequent beguiling looks and had brushed his backside with hers more than had been strictly necessary.

Winston had turned his stint behind the bar into a rousing tale of bar tending skill rivalling that of Tom Cruise in "Cocktail", a story that he shared with every woman who paused long enough in his vicinity for him to begin his delivery.

His senior partner in the bar, James, always the paternal watchdog, had argued against leaving before the girl did.  He assured the older gentleman that they'd be just fine on their own.  Eventually she did the same, putting a reassuring hand on James' shoulder and kissing him on the cheek, urging him on his way.  James  knew something she didn't, however, which worried him for the sake of her situation -- alone and new in town.  James knew Rex was lurking, working handily at manufacturing an opportunity, offering a ride home, but wanting a very different kind of ride first, the pool table beckoning.  James pointed a stern finger at Rex before descending the stairs. 

Van Morrison played softly and he left the lights very low.  She perched on a bar stool, he stayed behind the bar.  He made her a 'melon ball'.  She liked it.  He made her another one.

He came around the bar and leaned on the counter top beside her, one foot next to hers on the rail.  His knee brushed hers, lingering, one hand resting on the back of her stool.  He asked her for a dance.  She acquiesced, easing off the stool and, with some curiosity and purpose, brushed her rump assertively against trouser-trouble.

They danced, touching tentatively, the candlelight flickering, Van the man singing about moonlight and romance, circling slowly, gradually tucking into each other.  Rex nuzzled her neck and let her know in no uncertain terms that he really, really liked her.

She pulled away slightly and looked into his eyes, that hard-to-read, yet playful look crossing her face, then put her mouth against his ear and whispered: "Oh, you are going to have sex with me soon, but not tonight."

Rex felt deflated, but his human side sensed a challenging, exciting adventure ahead.
The bar had a new waitress.
And, with the infinite improbabilities of happenstance and serendipity coming together in a small candlelit bar, after many years of 'dogging it', 
Rex was off the market.
(No, girls, this is NOT his last post! Read how this particular Rex story ended here.)

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