Whiskey Sour

Whiskey Sour by Mick Shane

I met Lola in Austin, Texas at a party after a movie premier. We courted each other a bit then went down Congress Avenue to The Continental Club. Junior Brown was on the stage and he sounded good, like he was playing guitar for his supper. Most of the crowd was near the stage but we hung back by the pool table. Lola did most of the talking, yelling at me whenever the music went up-tempo. She told lies to make her life seem interesting but failed. I tried to keep my eyes on her and act intrigued but I was listening to Junior mostly and sneaking glances over Lola’s shoulder at two pretty ladies dancing together. After she guzzled her fifth whiskey Lola turned nasty and mocked me with some prairie wisdom:

“What’s with you and the club-soda, hombre? Why don’t you drink, huh? What is your story? My daddy always told me never to trust a man who does not drink whiskey,” she said, looking down at my favorite boots like she wanted to spit on them.

“Your daddy said that?”

“He sure did.”

At 10:00 p.m. Lola was an elegant, beautiful, poised woman and I was smitten. At midnight plus five drinks she was vulgar and I wanted to poke her eye out with a pool cue. When she spoke I saw plaque on her back-teeth. I saw brown sweat stains around the collar of her white blouse and gray streaks in her hair where the highlights were fading. Her subtle West-Texas drawl, so soothing when we met, sounded phony. When she raised her right arm to signal the barmaid and order whiskey number six I saw her flabby tricep jiggle. I saw deodorant melting in her armpit. I saw her earring wobble and fall to the floor.

I saw Lola’s destiny.

Fat. Drunk. Angry. Stupid. A bad combination.

I smiled at her then picked up her earring and cleaned it with my shirt. It was a beautiful handmade piece: turquoise and silver with miniscule calligraphy along the edges. Someone with great skill, pride (and small hands) had made it. I stepped close to her then gently moved her hair behind her ear and put the ring back in. On another night it could have been a nice moment, a good time for a first kiss.

“Your daddy is a fool,” I said to her kindly. Then I paid the bar bill and left her there to drink alone.

Wilmington, NC 07.05.07

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