Story By: anonymous
When I was 19 I had the worst job in Port Elizabeth, next to cleaning the prison showers. I was the sole bar tender at a restaurant dwindling into bankruptcy. To boost its clientele, we sold cheap liquor and offered free peanuts (this was considered a marketing gimmick by management). After a while the restaurant closed and they stayed open as a bar, which was fine with me— I kept my job. The only people who came there were alcoholics and abalone poachers, anyways.
I would arrive at half past eleven. By then most of the regulars had already ditched work and were waiting to be served their first round. 22 sets of thirsty eyes calling me obscene names and yelling for beer or brandy would be the morning chorus I knew well.
After a couple of rounds, the party would get started. Everyone would school together and tell the most outrageous stories; it became a competition. Bert the fish tank salesman would tell a tale of bedding 4 nymphs after he’d downed a bottle of brandy and beaten up twenty five guys, when Jonas, an army vet, would interrupt.
“ That’s girlie stuff – let me tell you a reeeeal story!”
he’d shout, and so the next round of “Ripley’s believe it or not” would begin.
The worst part of the day came when someone ordered a shot. It was always Jurgermeister or Tequila, and heaven help me if they weren’t poured right. I would be crucified. To this day I cannot pour a shot without hearing a voice screaming at me:
“Remmemer! You just bloody remember to pour mine with a meniscus! Else there’s gonna be big shit, got it?”
After a while I became immune to it and laughed with them, but for the first two weeks it was more terrifying than satanic animal rituals.
I will always look back at the one time I told Bert that he’d had enough jurgermeister.
“No more Bert, you’re too drunk,” I said shyly.
He took off all his clothes and then threatened to tear my throat out with his dick – I don’t even want to know how he would done that. When Ronnie the manager came in to close up shop later, I was curled in a ball near the ice machine, covered in tears and snot, wailing for help.
Abalone poachers were the nightmare of nightmares. Back then, selling abalone on the black market was very, very lucrative, so these trashy criminals were loaded. They’d come in and startle everyone, drink four shooters, and then race away in a souped up Monza. And there was no way in hell I would have said anything to those guys. I would have paid for their drinks all night to avoid any sort of confrontation. I once saw three of them take two shots of tequila, snort a nose-full of salt and then squeeze lemon into their eye. They all threw the shot glasses at me and left without paying.
“Thanks guys, come again soon, I’ll get this one”
I said as they walked out.
I prayed for a bouncer to get hired. I got down on bended knee and asked my heathen gods to send the bar a protector who could save me from certain death. But alas, nobody was dumb or desperate enough to take a job there.
Anyhow, I quit after 3 months, vowing to burn the place down if it didn’t fold before I had the means to. I’m not entirely sure what I can take away from my days as a day bar tender. Yes, I gained priceless knowledge in the department of pouring a shooter with a meniscus- which is a shooter poured to the brim, so that it forms an oval on top. But what did I really learn as far as life lessons and morality goes? I’ll figure it our eventually. I’m just really glad Bert didn’t get hold of me when he had the chance.