I sit down at the bar. I sit down, I order a drink, I order a drink, I drink it, I order another one. I sit here, I look at the bottles, I look at Johnny, I drink. People are coming and going, only Johnny is staying with me. He pours me a drink, he doesn’t say it was enough, he pours it, I drink.
There are other regulars too, sitting at the bar, we don’t talk much, we drink. Johnny drinks too, he doesn’t talk much, he pours and he drinks. When someone is filled, soaked, ready to leave, he leaves. I am never ready, I am never filled.
We don’t get sick, we don’t get bored. We are professionals, the tightest circle of guests around Johnny, we are not guests, we are family. We are an orchestra and our conductor is Johnny . He conducts and we drink.
We are family. We are loyal to Johnny and Johnny is loyal to us. He would always serve us first, before serving the irregulars.
Today I arrive early, there are only two other regulars and one irregular at the bar, Mickey, Elise, and a blind man with a black dog. I sit down next to Elise, she greets me I greet her. Johnny comes and says:
- Hello Marianne, he says, hello hello.
- Hello Johnny, I say, good to see you Johnny.
- Good to see you too, Marianne, he says, good to see you too.
- Good to see you too, Johnny.
The blind man puts a coin on the table, and clears his throat. Johnny pours two glasses of wine, he puts one in front of me first and, only then, he puts the other in front of the blind man.
- Marianne, Johnny says, could you keep an eye on things for a bit? I gotta go to the loo.
- Sure Johnny, I say, and I’m keeping an eye on things. I’m keeping an eye on Mickey, an eye on Elise, an eye on the blind man, and on the black dog. And an eye on the door, where anyone could come in anytime and make trouble. An eye on Mickey, and Elise, and the blind man, the dog, the door. No one moves, I’m keeping an eye on them, Johnny can trust me, there won’t be trouble, I will keep an eye on them, so there won’t be trouble. He can trust me, Johnny.
‘We are the same,’ Mickey says, and laughs loudly, spitting on the bar, ‘Aren’t we the same, Elise?’
‘We surely are,’ Elise laughs with Mickey.
‘We are the same, aren’t we, Marianne?’ – Mickey goes on.
I nod, and I laugh with Mickey, keeping an eye on him. I nod and laugh and I don’t argue so there won’t be trouble while Johnny is on the toilet, but that’s not true that we are the same, we are not the same. Johnny asked me to keep an eye on things, we are not the same.
‘We are the same,’ Mickey continues, ‘We came here first, cause we felt miserable, and now we are miserable.’
He laughs and Elise laughs with him and I’m keeping an eye on them.
But that’s not true, I don’t come here because I feel miserable, I come here for Johnny.