I almost didn’t go in to LCNH last night, I was tired as I trudged up the hill from Saxova Palačiknarna, and a little bummed out. I had spent the afternoon sifting through drifts of prose fragments, searching for ones that deserved another shot at life. Some were stories I’ve attacked several times, others just little fragments with a nice turn of phrase or an unusual voice. I also made a little list of the stories that are ready to get into print.
When I was done I rocked back and said, “That’s it?” Not a lot to show for all the years spent staring at this here keyboard. No novel published, practically nothing sold, and just a pile of random fragments in the hopper.
I knew if I went home I would probably just end up wasting the evening puttering on the Internet, so as I passed the door to LCNH I decided to make one more go at productivity. I’m glad I did.
I stepped inside and What’s-her-Name was relaxing at a table reading, and there was no one else in the place. I ordered tea and settled in to maybe get some work done. It was Friday evening, so I knew that I would not have the place to myself for long. Still, I entertained thoughts of a bit of conversation with What’s-her-Name. The change of scenery had done my brain a bit of good, however, and I was soon absorbed in my work.
It wasn’t long before another guy showed up, sat at the bar, and began talking amiably with What’s-her-Name. I was a little jealous, I must admit, but I reminded myself that she’s been having conversations with guys for a long time now. Meanwhile, service was getting friendlier.
It wasn’t nearly as friendly for me as it was for the next guy to come in. He got a nice big kiss. Hm. So there you go, then. With the next cup of tea, What’s-her-Name brought questions. She was curious about what I was up to, where I sent my stories, and so forth. We chatted a bit and then she went back for a bit of face-sucking with her sweetie. Any shyness I might have attributed to her was quite absent now. In fact, her ardor for her boyfriend seemed to be growing steadily as the night wore on.
Meanwhile the place was filling up. I was doing pretty well with the writing (or more accurately thinking — not a lot of typing going on), so I held fast in my corner and tuned out the kids playing cards and drinking more than they should. The caffeine was starting to make me vibrate with an audible hum, however, so I thought a nice beer would take the edge off and prepare me for an early bedtime. What’s-her-Name returned with the golden beverage and placed it on my table with a little faux-trumpet fanfare. Brr-pr-pr-pr-pr-pr-pr-brrr!
I have, in all my time in Czech bars, never seen a bartender or waitress do anything remotely like that.
What’s-her-Name hesitated and looked at me. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I’m a little drunk. I’m drinking wine.”
I stayed until closing time, which luckily for all concerned is pretty early there.