A Strange Request at a Piano Bar
It was a cold, dreary day in December somewhere between Christmas and New Years Eve when Jason found himself outside this new, pretentious piano bar that just opened up outside the movie theater. Jason couldn’t complain too much, the season had
Jason heard that this place had “THE BEST WILD MUSHROOM AND SWISS BURGER” from his friend, Matt who seemed to always be out and about. Since it was right outside the theater that was playing this random movie he was supposed to review tonight Jason figured, “Why not?”
Jason hated places like this. Who was he kidding? He hated leaving the house lately. There was a time he was the life of the party. “When he was young and unafraid” as the old song goes. Really, it was a slow, systematic separation from his life when he was with his ex that did it. Not that I was important now. The ex has been gone for three years.
Jason sat at the bar and waited, and waited, and waited. It would have frustrated him, but at five foot six it happened so often that he became accustom to it. Not to mention, the bartender was pretty easy on the eyes and from this vantage point, Jason had the time to admire how amazing the bartender’s tailor fit the pants so that they showed off both the front and the back while looking like they were barely skimming his body. Jason was still lost in that thought when he felt the guy next to him nudge him.
“Hey,” the mysterious guy said and nudged his head forward, pointing out the bartender standing in front of me with a pad waiting to take
“I am sorry man,” Jason said. “I must have zoned out there.”
“Happens all the time,” the bartender who’s nametag read “Puppy” said. “What can I get you?”
“I hear the wild mushroom burger is good.”
“Yah it is fantastic,” the guy who nudged earlier interjected.
“Then it is decided,” Jason said. “Now, what to drink?”
“May I suggest the Sassafras Sidecar? They make their own sassafras syrup here,” the guy next to Jason said even before Puppy could get a word in.
Puppy walked away as if it was decided and Jason went back to admiring the tailoring when the guy next to him spoke up again, “I’m Ben.”
“Hi,” Jason said almost dismissively without even looking at the guy.
“I usually don’t do this but, I promised myself I would actually go out and talk to people today,” he continued not picking up on the cue but Jason understood how it is to force yourself to leave the house so he turned to face him.
Jason thought about it. He wasn’t half bad looking. I mean, I am not winning any beauty contests myself but Ben was somewhere between a tall leprechaun and a homeless lumberjack. There was something about his eyes though, strikingly blue and he had beautiful bone structure. Then it hit me who he looked like…
“Has anyone ever told you that you look like Percy Weasly, Ben?”
Ben just looked at me and chuckled. Wow! That was a smile I thought to myself. The room somehow seemed a little brighter.
“I am Jason,” I said a little more warmly and even managed a smile.
“Hi Jason, don’t think anyone has made that connection other than the Facebook games.”
“Well they are pretty dead on there.”
Puppy placed a drink in front of each of them before spinning on his heal and walking away. If Puppy had longer hair it would have smacked them both in the face.
“He is something isn’t he?” Ben asked.
“Yeah he is worth the price of admission though.”
Jason took a tentative sip.
“This is pretty good. Thanks for the recommendation.”
“No worries. So what do you do if you don’t mind me asking? Never mind, your face tells me you don’t want to talk.”
“No, it’s ok.”
Ben’s shyness made Jason smile. He didn’t know what it was about him, but there was something there. Something that Jason wanted to explore.
“I am a designer but I took a job with a news site and am reviewing movies. It isn’t a bad job and it is paying the bills. The movies just suck right now.”
“That is cool. I design video games.”
“Anything I ever heard of?”
“Have you heard of the Flying Monkeybots?”
“Actually, I have. My niece was playing it at the last family dinner.”
“Really?” The level of surprise apparent in Ben’s eyes.
“Yeah, she said she was bored and was searching the app store. She loved the logo and the game itself is pretty addicting. All you could hear all dinner was ‘UNLEASH THE MONKEYBOTS’.”
“I had so much fun getting that voice down.”
“It was distinctive.” Jason said genuinely impressed. “I tried to play a bit but I am not great at video games.”
“So I guess you can’t be perfect.” Ben flashed his killer smile making Jason stutter.
Just then Puppy came over and put two burgers down in front of the guys and sashayed away.
“Did he even ask you what you wanted?” Jason asked Ben.
“Nope but the wild mushroom burger is really good. I love the homemade chips.”
Jason took a bite of his burger and thought he might have an orgasm right there. The perfect earthiness of the mushrooms sweetness of the garlic and tartness from the Swiss made him actually moan around the bite.
Jason looked at Ben and he too had a blissed out look on his face. They each nodded at the other as two co-conspirators in on a secret. Nothing had to be said.
Now that he wasn’t talking he noticed the music for the first time. The player was extremely talented pianist but his vocal skills left much to be desired. So much so that when he asked for request, a table close to him asked him to stop singing and let someone with talent do it. To which the player nodded and a stately woman stood up and started singing the Billy Holiday tune the pianist was slaughtering.
As Jason put the last couple bites of his burger down he noticed the time. “Fuck! I got to hurry up.”
“Where are you off to?” asked Ben as Jason tried to flag down Puppy while shoving the last of his burger down.
It took a couple seconds for Jason to swallow before he answered, “I have to see a movie tonight and the last showing starts in less than a half hour.”
Ben looked a little down. To be honest, Jason wasn’t quite ready to leave but this movie was only playing at limited times and he waited till the last show to even go.
On a complete whim Jason asked, “Want to come with?”
Jason didn’t know what came over him. Who does that – meets some random guy in a bar and invites him to a movie? Is this how they did things before apps? But seeing Ben smile somehow made everything ok.
“Yeah sure,” Ben replied trying to look cool.
“I guess that isn’t such a strange request in a piano bar,” Puppy said obviously overhearing the conversation on his way over with the checks.
“No, asking the singer to stop singing is though.” Jason said making Puppy pout as he whirled around to cash them out.
Jason and Ben were still laughing when Puppy came back.
Ben lifted the last of his drink and said, “A toast to new adventures.”
“To new adventures,” Jason replied clinking glasses.