I went to the Greg, the Bartender, also a filmmaker, and whispered, “Anything Man is buying Liver Lady a drink!”
“Fuck, man, that is perfect,” he said, and made a note in his notebook. He was making an indie film about a bartender in one of New York’s old, authentic, disappearing neighborhoods, and he was always making notes about interesting things that happened at Nick & Eddie.
“I know,” I said. “Maybe they’ll get married.”
“Fuck that is so perfect!”
“I know,” I said.
“Doesn’t it make you love him?” Greg said.
“It makes me love both of them more than I already did.” I said.
“You’re a freak,” he said, and made another note.
“I’ll keep you posted.”
I went excitedly back to Liver Lady’s table and told her, “the man at the next table would like to buy you a drink.”
“Oh?” she said, brightening visibly.
“He says get whatever you want.”
The model-to-be, oblivious, turned a page in her magazine.
“Oh. Oh!” She said, straightening the quilts of her coat. “I guess I will have a Diet Doctor Pepper, then.”
“That’s it?” I said.
“Yes, that’s it. And tell him thank you,” and she went back to the window.
“Anything Man bought Liver Lady a drink!” I told Kimberly.
“Huh,” she said. “Do you want me to close up tonight, I could use the extra few bucks.”
“Okay,” I said. “Kevin! Liver Lady and Antything Man! A match made in heaven.”
“Awesome,” he said. “Nice work.”
Greg put a little umbrella in the Diet Dr. Pepper, and put it in a small glass – tell her free refills so she doesn’t think I’m trying to rip her off, he said – and I brought it to her. She beamed, epically, innocently, thrillingly. I nodded at Anything Man, as if to say, My Work Is Done Here, It’s All Up To You Now, Tiger, and he nodded back and turned around to look.
And when he did the look on his face made me realize what I’d done.
Liver Lady was straightening herself again, unnecessarily, for nothing would make her completely straightened, no amount of primping could hide that showing slip of soon-to-be-wacked that would always peek out from behind whatever veils of normal she tried to erect. She stood, carefully, with purpose, beaming like the sun and walked over to Anything Man’s table. “Aren’t you a gentleman,” she said. “May I?” And gestured at the table.
Anything Man was still looking in the direction she’d come from, to the table behind Liver Lady’s, at the model, who he’d meant the drink to be for. The model turned another page, still oblivious and sipped her drink. Eventually she signaled Kimberly for her check. Anything Man turned, faced me, and I looked down. He looked down slightly, at a loss, and then something happened. (c)2010, all rights reserved.