CHAPTER FIVE – Little Prince‘s bar
Tony opened this bar forty years ago, when he was still a young and angry fellow. Forty years later, he is still angry. All his costumers know that, and actually they prefer this bar because of it. Because Tony keeps the vibe alive, this anger of his is a weird kind of fuel that sets everybody’s engines on. Although most of the customers share the same age as Tony, or even older, the atmosphere in the bar has always a cheerful and spicy note. Sometimes some youngsters may step inside from curiosity or by accident, and then two things might happen. Either Tony will scare them off with his loud voice, followed by a very reluctant attitude to serve them, resulting in them leaving as soon as possible even before finishing their drinks. Or, they might prove to be tough cookies, and then the customers take action and after challenging and provoking them, they end up getting beat up in the back yard.
Youngsters are not welcomed here. There is a sign at the door, and another one behind the bar. It is not a joke. Little Prince’s bar is neither for little nor for princes.
Maria barged in one rainy night. She didn’t see the signs. Just asked for bourbon. She was soaking wet and cold. Tony hesitated to scare her off, but then he delayed to serve her, as if he didn’t hear her. Then Maria shouted- a fuckin’ bourbon mister, what’s your problem? And before you know it, she jumped right behind the bar, grabbed the bottle and poured some alcohol in a glass. Then, with the grace of a hunted deer, she jumped right back at her seat leaving everybody speechless and astounded.
Before they had a chance to react, Maria raised her glass and made a toast. To all she said and emptied it. She was in her early twenties, skinny and edgy, always waving her right foot back and forth as it hanged loose from the stool.
Nobody was speaking; they were all looking at her like fuckin’ morons. She started to laugh, what’ the matter? she said. Is this a bar or a lobotomy club? After thirty seconds of pure and crystal silence Tony started to laugh hysterically and with a two seconds time delay, the rest of the regulars followed. Now it was Maria that was looking at them puzzled and confused.
Everybody had a round of bourbon shots, and at the end Tony asked her
– Do you need to work? Do you have a place to stay?
– Yes, no, Maria replied.
– Take this key and go settle in the attic. It is not much, but it’ a start. And have a good sleep because tomorrow you start at 8.
– 8 in the morning? She asked
– Yes, in the morning. Go.
When she left, Peter the old marine guy asked Tony why her.
– Because she is even angrier than I am.
Everybody approved and had another round of bourbon shots. This called for celebration. After forty years, an angry little princess made her way into the bar.