“I’m gonna switch things up today,” Mike said. “Gimme an Amaretto Sour.”
“Interesting,” Joe said. “My mom like Amaretto Sours.”
“Hair-pulling and the reverse cowgirl,” Mike said, and we both stared at him. “On the subject of ‘Things Your Mom Like,’” he clarified.
Things were pretty much back to normal. It had been four months since...well, everything. We were sitting in my fully-repaired bar. It looks the same as it used to, but a couple of the smells inherent to a building that’s seen its fair share of guests from all walks of life are missing right now. I didn’t think I’d miss those smells. I didn’t even notice them, in fact, until they were gone, but now it’s all I think about when I’m in here. Sawdust and some kind of lemon-scented furniture polisher: that’s not what my bar’s supposed to smell like.
We’ll be reopening the bar tomorrow but, until then, we’re taking the opportunity of an empty bar to sit and drink. A lot of people are excited about the reopening, which is great. Hopefully, we can take care of the awful smell of a new, untouched bar and give this place some character again.
I looked over my friends. To be honest, very little has changed for us, except our uniforms. Joe wears a suit a lot more often now that he’s back to practicing law. He specializes in Immigration Law, fighting for people who came into the country illegally to stay here. A kid’s family is murdered, they run to America, and Joe fights like hell to keep them here. It’s noble, but it’s also exhausting. He doesn’t like talking about it. Every once and a while, he still drives his ice cream truck. He looks great in a suit.
Mike is a mail man now, I guess. He certainly has a legitimate postal worker’s uniform, and I often see him carrying a bag full of mail, but I’ve never actually seen him deliver any. If he truly is a mail man, he is an awful, awful one who never should have been hired in the first place. He will, presumably, keep cashing the government’s checks until he is inevitably fired.
I’m fine. My chest hurts every once and a while, but the doctors say that’s natural and will most likely never stop. I spent a month recovering and the remaining time bartending with Dave while my bar was under construction. It was nice, working with both of my brothers, and for the brief four months while my bar was nonexistent, Dave officially had the #1 spot. I will never stop reminding him of this.
With the Emperor of Spain’s (okay, excessive) execution, the International Mafia underwent a total redesign. A whole lot of smaller factions emerged under leaders that had studied and worked directly with the Emperor or Rebecca. The massive destruction made headlines all over the country and sent the message that the Emperor’s brute force negotiation tactics are a thing of the past. These New Mafias are more businesses than gangs. I don’t really give a shit. They’re staying away from me and my bar, and that’s what’s important.
Joe was reading a Time magazine that Mike should have delivered a few days ago, and Mike was going through his bag looking for checks. We don’t talk about Rebecca or the Emperor too much these days. For one thing, we’re a little busy, what with law firms and mail-tampering and all. For another, this whole situation, with a little bit of time, just becomes another strange thing that’s happened to us. “Remember that Emperor guy,” we might say in a year or two. “He was fuckin’ weird.” Sure, I have the scar from the Emperor’s bullet to remind me, but I have lots of scars, each with their own story. If I dwell too long on any one scar, I might miss somethings that are happening in real time.
“Hey, if I was having sex with a chick that was a quarter black, but we were interrupted midway through, can I still technically say I nailed a black chick,” Mike asked. Mike directed his question to Joe, which just proves that Mike doesn't actually have a clue what a lawyer is responsible for knowing.
“No,” Joe answered. “The non-black percentage needs to be inversely related to the amount of times you have sex. So, one-fourth-black chick....you’d need to have sex with her three full times before you can say you nailed a black chick.”
“Dammit,” Mike said.
These are the things I would miss.