Sunday, January 28, 2007

One of us is moving on so it was one of those thanks-for-the-memories type of things on Thursday after work. Only he's not going far and he's still going to play poker with us so we were actually just using his situation as an occasion for gluttony.

We met at my usual place and hung around long enough for Jen to come in. Jen's schedule had been changed and she lost two night shifts. Bartending is Jen's only gig until she gets her nursing certificate, or whatever nurses get, so she wasn't having a good day.

Jen's the first bartender to ever really get me drunk. I was a late bloomer. Jen introduced my group of guys to the other bartenders. Jen's been really good to me; it bothers me when Jen's having a bad day.

We hung around a couple hours and then left to get Chinese food and after dropping two hundred there, the decision was made to go a bar that is across the street from our regular spot. I told the guys that I would meet them there.

They wished me luck on my cannoli plan.

At the second bar we ran into a braggadocios nurse, played and lost at Keno, and had a few more then left. The next day, we did our normal Friday thing and met at our regular bar, Jen was there again not having a good day.

I usually get there before the other guys, so I get any news first but the trouble is sometimes the news is of a private nature. And on that day I was hearing things that weren't for my whole group, it might even have not been for me.

When I first arrived the owner was there, when I sat at the bar he said that he would call to continue the conversation. About four minutes later the phone rang and Jen disappeared for twenty minutes; the waitress was left to serve my arriving friends.

I was asked what was going on, I merely stated that I would fill them in later, which was buying me time to figure out how much I could tell my friends without betraying any trust Jen affords me.

When Jen returned she was quiet. I was worried. I knew if I had asked her, she would tell me what was going on but I didn't want her to have to tell the whole bar, so I sat quiet.

Normally when there is a lull in my conversing with my friends I'll look the bartender, on this day I just looked mostly down. She wasn't meeting any gazes either. Then she stood in front of me, I had a friend on either side, she stared out the window with her arms crossed and began with "The thing is…"

She filled us in. She said there was yelling and crying. I heard the muted yelling and when she escaped the upstairs for the downstairs I heard a sniffle so I guessed at the crying. Sometimes, where she works sucks, often the veterans get moved around to accommodate a newcomer's schedule.

After she finished we both felt better.

"Oh wait, look what I still got," she said as she went to the cooler and pulled out a box of six cannolis. She asked if I wanted one. I felt a little disappointed that I hadn't hit the mark the previous night. I thought the little ricotta cheese filled delights would have been a nice distraction for her but obviously they went uneaten.

I don't really like mixing beer with sweet things but there was a slight moment going on so I took one. Jen brought over three small plates and then offered each of my friends a pastry as well.

"This cannoli is probably going to be the best part of my day," Jen said.

"Tim, I love your cannoli plans," my friend to the left said.

Surprisingly, I liked the cannoli and beer.

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