Five Dollars

It’s something I learned from my asshole brother.

This evening I’m sitting in an agreeable bar in San Jose and the party at the table next to mine has been expanding. Before long there were more butts in the party than seats to put them on.

A woman from that group saw the unused seats around my table and put her hands on one of them, while asking “Do you mind if I take this seat?”

“Five dollars,” I said.

This was absolutely not the response she was expecting. She hesitated, her face clouding in confusion and perhaps suspicion.

After a pregnant moment I let her off. “I’m kidding,” I said, “Go ahead.” She relaxed from a confrontation she was not ready to manage, and moved the stool from my table to hers.

Not long after, as the party at the next table grew, another woman asked for another of the seats at my table. “TEN dollars!” I announced.

She laughed as she took the stool. “Hourly, I assume?”


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