Just a Bar
Disclaimers Etc. Got on a bit of an Alias kick and this is what happened. I don’t own Alias or Buffy or any of their characters. The idea belongs to the voices in my head, which I might not I own either. Just for fun and what if. Spoilers for all of the TV show.Just a Bar
Sydney pushed the door open with her shoulder, too weary to use her hand. The years needed to go somewhere and the bottom of a bottle was a good enough place, just once. She’d been smart enough not to do this before, but the job she had just finished had been the proverbial straw. To top it off, it was the anniversary of Danny’s death. So she had left the hotel and wandered around the waterfront until she saw the neon sign advertising “Billy’s.”
The bar inside was empty save two customers and the barkeep. The floor said there had been a bit of a ruckus. Sydney wondered what had caused such an empty bar on what should have been a full night. She almost turned and left but remembered why she was here in the first place, to get away. An empty bar was probably the best she was going to find.
The man who should have normally been rushing back and forth along the bar to keep drinks filled was merely drying a glass and eyeing his newest customer. His movements betrayed him as the nervous sort, a perfect fit for the stereotype always in Westerns. Sydney’s spy mind dismissed him as a non-threat.
Walking up to the bar, Sydney assessed the man sitting the back left corner. Dark hair, rumpled clothing, an odd black line on his head like he had something tied to it and bent over a bottle. Sydney’s mind again made quick decisions. He was either too far gone to notice her coming in or he wasn’t worried about her presence in a could-take-care-myself way or he was trying to be under the radar for surviellance. Sydney saw his foot moving in a slow beat and ruled out the first option. No drunk could keep up that steady of a motion.
With a bar like this, anything could happen. So she kept the last two options open and sat down at the right bar corner facing the stranger. If he made a move, the vantage point and distance ensured that she would be able to react in time. As she sat down, the man’s shoulders shook as though he knew what she had decided and were chuckling at her.
Sydney’s mind moved on to the blond woman occupying the adjacent corner stool. She would be short when she stood but her body language, even muted by the alcohol, said she could take care of herself. She was a few years younger than Sydney and looked for all the world like a little lost sorority girl, but Sydney knew looks could be deceiving. For a brief moment, Sydney wondered is she should have sat in an isolated corner away from both of the customers.No, I am too tired of always looking over my shoulder. I just want a drink.
Sydney didn’t recognize the label on the woman’s bottle. Curious and partially to guage her fellow drinker, Sydney asked, “What are you drinking? Is that the microbrew for this bar?”
The blond didn’t look up but she laughed, a hollow sound. “I guess you could say that. Sure won’t find it anywhere else. S’got a kick though.” She took another hit off of her bottle and coughed.
“I can take a kick.” Not being a lightweight was one of the requirments for her job. Too many situations where not holding one’s licquor meant not keeping one’s life. “I will take what she’s having.” Sydney directed the barkeep. He gave her an “Are you sure?” look but wordlessly reached under the counter and opened a new bottle. Setting it in front of her, he scurried to the far end of the bar.
Sydney took a drink. And nearly choked. “Thought you said this stuff had kick. More like a tazer to the throat.”
The blond looked up and across at her. “That’s why I save it for special occasions.”
“What special occasion is this?” Sydney wondered what story the young woman had and if it could possibly be worse than hers.
The woman’s eyes darkened and her face hardened. A few moments passed. Sydney started thinking she was going to be ignored, that whatever it was hurt too much to share with a stranger.
“I am forgetting. And I’m remembering. Kind of like that country song?” She smiled a broken smile. Her accent pegged her as American, Californian.What was a woman like her doing in a place like this? Probably the same as me,
thought Sydney as she returned the smile in kind. “I know what you mean.”
“That’s what everyone says. If they really knew…” she trailed off.
“They wouldn’t even talk to you in the first place.” Sydney finished for her. At the look of askance, she added, “Not just saying it.”
“That so?” A wild look crept over the blonde woman’s face like a shadow. “You want to test that? Billy!” She didn’t wait for an answer. “I want a shotglass and a bottle of your extra special without the additives. We are gonna have us a game.”
“Are you sure?” Billy the bartender looked anxiously at the woman and, Sydney thought, oddly at the man in the corner. What sort of place had she landed herself in that this kind of woman knew a seedy bar well enough to specifically ask for the hidden stash from a bartender obviously afraid of her.
“Yes, Billy, I am sure. Don’t worry it wont be the same game I played earlier.” The woman pounded the bar. “Glasses, bottle, here, now.”
“What do you mean, a different game?” Sydney asked. She was beginning to get wary. It sounded as if the blonde was the reason the place was deserted, although how that could be was a little hard to grasp. Unless her job had followed her again. No, please not again. Just one night, I’d like to leave it all behind.
The woman must have read her thoughts because she said, “Just a quiet drinking game for two with nothing but thoughts of the past to interfere.”
Why not? I don’t want to go back to the hotel yet and the plane doesn’t leave until tomorrow lunch. Sydney thought. “What’s this game of yours?”
“We each tell a story. No particulars, no names, no lies, just basics. Worst story drinks a shot.”
“How do I know you won’t tall tale me?” Sydney’s resolve to get drunk solidified irrationally at the woman’s challenge.
“Couldn’t if I tried. I’ve got some wacky ones but promise they are all true. Can still drink your bottle if you want. But shots only for winning. You first.”
She set the “extra special” bottle and the shotglass between them on the bar. And the drinking game of the century began.