I sat in my parked car outside the bar.
It looked like a bar. It could be any bar anywhere, small town, big city, it didn’t matter. It was just a bar. Bubba’s bar, apparently, for it said “Bubba’s” in blue lettering on a black background in a huge sign at the top.
I looked out the window to my left. There were two Harley Davidson motorcycles parked there.
I looked back at the bar which it would seem might be a bit of a biker bar.
I looked out my window to the right. There was a beat up, old, blue Chevy pickup parked at the edge of the parking lot.
I looked back at the bar which would seem was not high-class and not high-brow. They probably didn’t even have martini glasses.
I looked at the window of the bar. In it there was a sign that said “Help Wanted”. In the little white space at the bottom of the sign was written, “Waitress”.
I pulled breath in through my nose. Then I exhaled, got out of the car and walked right to the door, through the door and into the bar.
I was right. Nothing special. Nothing high-class or high-brow. It could be any bar anywhere.
There was a man sitting on a corner stool at the long bar at the back of the room. He had a ball cap on. There were two other men playing pool at one of four pool tables (two to the left, two to the right, the men were at one of the tables to the left). Evidently, bikers played pool. There was a woman behind the bar. She had a lot of platinum blonde hair. She also had a lot of flesh at her cle**age. I could see this because it was bursting out the top of her Harley tank as well as straining the material.
Her eyes came to the door the minute I walked in and didn’t leave me as I walked to the bar.
“Hi,” I started.
“Chantelle’s about twenty miles down the road. Straight on,” the blonde interrupted me. “Just turn right out the parking lot and keep goin’.”
“Sorry?” I asked and felt the man with the ball cap turn to look at me.
“You lookin’ for Chantelle?” the blonde asked.
“No, I’m –”
“Gnaw Bone?” she asked.
“Gnaw bone?” I repeated.
“Gnaw Bone. Not too far away from Chantelle,” she told me. “That what you lookin’ for?”
I didn’t know what to say. Then I asked, “You mean Gnaw Bone is the name of a town?”
She didn’t answer. She looked at the man with the ball cap. I looked too. When I did, I saw firstly that his ball cap had definitely seen better days and those days were about four hundred years ago. Secondly, I saw that he was staring at my br**sts.
I looked back at the blonde.
“I’m here about the waitress position.”
For a second there was loaded silence. Then the man with the ball cap burst into a loud guffaw.
The blonde’s eyes narrowed.
“Did Bubba put you up to this?” she asked.
“Bubba?” I asked back, at this point confused.
“Bubba,” she bit out then glanced around before looking at me. “This ain’t funny. I got things to do.”
I glanced around too and saw that she actually didn’t have much to do. The two guys were playing pool and didn’t seem all that thirsty. The ball cap guy had nearly a full draft in front of him.
I looked again at the blonde.
“I’m not kidding,” I told her.
“Bullshit,” she replied irately, already at the end of her patience.
This was shocking. It wasn’t like I’d never heard a curse word before, or used them myself, just that I didn’t tend to blurt them out to strangers looking for jobs. Or strangers on the whole. And also I’d been there for about three minutes and hadn’t done anything to strain anyone’s patience, much less push them to the end of it.
“No, seriously. I’d like to apply for the position,” I explained.
She didn’t answer for awhile and took the time she was silent to study me. I decided to do the same.
She’d be pretty, if she didn’t tease her hair out so much and wear that much makeup and look clearly like she was in bad mood and anyone could set her off. Though she really pulled off that tank top. I had serious cle**age too but it didn’t come with a petite, slim but rounded body. It came with a big ass and a mini-Buddha belly and a hint of back fat. Not to mention somewhat flabby arms.
I decided to break the silence and announce, “I’m Lauren Grahame.”
I stuck out my hand. She stared at my hand and didn’t get the chance to speak because the ball cap man spoke.
“Jim-Billy,” he said and I turned to him.
His hand was out to me, he was smiling and this time looking into my eyes. On the left side he’d lost the second tooth in and hadn’t bothered to replace it. For some reason, instead of this making him look like a hillbilly with bad dental hygiene, it made him look a little goofy and a little sweet.
“Jim-Billy,” he repeated. “That’s my name.”
I took his hand and shook it. “Nice to meet you, Jim-Billy.”
I repeated his name because I learned a long time ago at a training seminar to do that when you met someone. It solidified their name in your mind so you wouldn’t forget it. I was terrible with names and I found this worked and I figured a waitress in a small town needed to remember the names of the regulars at the bar. And Jim-Billy definitely looked like a regular.
It also worked that I chanted, Jim-Billy, Jim-Billy, Jim-Billy in my head.
Then again, who’d forget the name “Jim-Billy”?
He gave me a squeeze, released my hand and his gaze swung to the blonde.
“Tate’ll like her. Big time,” he declared. “Bubba’ll like her even better.”
“Shut up, Jim-Billy,” the blonde muttered.
“About the job…” I stated, bringing the matter back to hand and the blonde looked at me.
Then she leaned into me. “Girl, take this as me doin’ you a favor. Boys around here…” she threw out a hand, “they’d eat you alive. Go to Chantelle. Gnaw Bone. Woman like you has got no business in Carnal.”
That was one of the reasons I picked that town. Its name was “Carnal”. I thought that was funny and interesting but that was as interesting as I wanted to get.
I wanted to live in a Nowheresville town called Carnal. I wanted to work in an anywhere bar called Bubba’s. There was nothing to either, except the names. Nothing memorable. Nothing special. Nothing.