Er-ly in the Mor-nin’

I slid onto a stool at the end of the bar and set my hat and jacket beside me. I looked down the wood to my left. Someone was parked in my usual seat. The morning girl smiled at me from behind the taps. She set a menu down in front of me.

“Having breakfast?” she asked.

“Bushmills,” I replied. “And a Bass.”

I gestured in the size of a shot with two fingers. It was 9:45 AM.

My work week had ended Saturday morning at the tail of a 24 shift. By the time my elbows settled onto the bar, I’d been up for the better part of 30 hours. My head hurt from the caffeine. My stomach groaned.

The couple at the other end of the bar were having mimosas.  I heard the waitress on duty asked for two Bloody Maries. The bartender set a rocks glass in front of me and poured it three fingers deep. She went down to pull a pint.

I needed to shut my brain off. I ordered eggs and hash and hunkered down for some peace and quiet. Outside the streets filled with racket. All of the major intersections and cross streets had been blocked. I took a detour to get home before walking down to the bar.

The door opened and a group of men in costume poured into the bar. They were singing a sea shanty. They elbowed up beside me. They made a lot of noise about rum drinks. The bartender looked at them, confused.

“This is an Irish pub . . . “

They ordered a round of Bud Light bottles instead. I hung my head in my hand and sighed into my glass. The crew clinked their beers and shouted:

“To the Davey!”

My food arrived. I made quick work of it. The bartender motioned silently to me, asking if I wanted a refill. I lifted my shot glass and motioned for a double. One of the phony sailors leaned his head over my shoulder.

“Boy, ya made quick work o’ that! Guess you was hungry!

I leaned away from him and glanced at him in mild irritation.

“Yeah.”

The bartender came down to my end of the counter and refilled me on whiskey. She asked if I needed anything else. I rolled my eyes to one side, at a burly man in a wig and wool coat. He must have started drinking an hour or two prior. My nose told me he was overheating in his costume. He bumped me half off my stool with each of his wild gesticulations.

To the Daveyyy!

“Just the check, hon.”

She smirked. I put down my drink in one. She brought me my tab. I scribbled the math and signed. She smiled and set one last shot in front of me.

“On the house . . . “

I tipped my glass to her.

“He’s drinkin’ Aaarish whisky in an Aaarish bar . . . but is he Aaarish!?” One of the pirates bellowed over my shoulder.

“My name’s on the fuckin’ bar. Does it matter?”

I put back the drink and pointed at the wall across from me.

“Oh,” he replied.

I hung my hat over my eyes.