Billie made her way through to the front of the bar. Giggling, she sat down her diamond studded purse and tapped on the bartender's shoulders. 'Makers and soda. Neat! See that grey haired lookin' Grandpa behind me? He's gonna pay for my drink. Watch.' The bartender tended to the confident bubbly figure in front of him -- in an instant. He was trained to be the fastest drink-shaker in all of New Orleans -- her drink was ready before the next Jazz musician even got to clear his throat.
'I like how you play with that fiddle, honey.' Billie tipped the bartender, and reminded him 'Grandpa got me, 'member?' And then she moved through the crowd like a gamer who had played this level over and over again a hundred times, and disappeared into the patio. The bartender signaled over to Grandpa but surprise, surprise: the man didn't rush to open his wallet. He was waiting for his wife to return from the restrooms and did not even chat with any golden haired vixen at any point of the night, let alone agreed to buy anyone a drink. Anyone but his wife of twenty years, that is.
She got me. The bartender shook his head in disbelief. She really got me, that one.
Billie appeared thirty minutes later like a fairy sparkling in a dark forest. 'Makers and soda. Neat please! See that chick by the door with the long braid? It's her treat!' But the bartender was no fool. Once? Maybe. But twice? Nah... He took a step back to get a better view of the door: there was indeed a woman with a braid there, and she was waving to him. 'I'm happy to make you a drink, but see... after the last one? I will need to be paid upfront.' The bartender made a 'I gotta do what I gotta do' type of a gesture, which made Billie flaunt her pouty lips like Lindsey Lohan in her Hey Day, but he was NOT going to be fooled twice no matter how much she'd pout. 'You're no fun. But 'kay. Take my purse! I think it should cover it.' Billie sat down the purse again on the bar. It thumped and nearly rattled the glass of bowl of pretzels. It was heavy, it seemed. 'Ma'am, no need for... a card or cash would do. It's twelve for this one, and the last one... forget about that, all right?' 'I don't have cash or card with me. Take it! I'll come back and we'll trade then, 'kay?' Billie flashed her trillion dollar smile. A smile sometimes stores more power than any words. Reluctantly, but curiously, the bartender followed along, and made the drink. 'Oooohh thank you for the extra bite in there.' Billie sipped and made her way to the door. The bartender watched as Billie conversed with the woman with the braid, making her laugh uncontrollably. Were they laughing at him? He wondered. He then took the purse into his hands. It was heavier than expected. Why do women always carry heavy items with them? He wondered.
An hour passed. And no Billie or a woman with a braid have come along to claim the bag. An hour passed and now it was close to closing. Soon the bartender will have to count the register and tips and close for the night. 'Damn, she was good. She got me that one. She got me good.' The bartender thought to himself. He reached for the bag and figured 'I might as well see what's in there, maybe there is an address I can mail this bag to.'
He opened the bag, and to his surprise - there was something in the bag: A GUN.
In timing straight out of a film noir, the door opened and there walked the grandpa from earlier and the woman with the braid. They came rushing in waving guns in their hands, demanding the bartender give them all the cash from the register. The bartender was fast with his hands, after all - he was the fastest drink-shaker in all of New Orleans - and he now had a gun of his own to tackle these robbers with. He swiftly got hold of the gun from Billie's purse, took a single shot up to the ceiling - a shot that will scare off any invader and notify the crew from the police station next door. Grandpa and the woman with the braid didn't see the gun coming. After all - they scouted the bar all night and a gun was not a part of their plan. Nor the fastest shaker in all of New Orleans. The freaked out and fled the bar.
They made it only as far as the entrance before the were arrested by the cops from the station next door.
The bartender put the gun back in Billie's star studded purse. Who knew that would be far better than any cash or card would. Who knew... Billie. Billie knew.
'Sometimes when angels stop by to protect ya, it may be in unexpected ways.' The bartender thought to himself. And Billie? Billie sent her wink from the heavens. She never did return for that purse. She never did pay for those two drinks. But she played her part like a pro.
In April 2020, while experiencing her first ever global pandemic, Tamar Pelzig pledged to write something every day, even if it's only a word, so she welcomed to the world a daily blog to keep her creative writing wheels rolling.
Header Art: Daniel Landerman