By Melanie Woods, October 27 2015 —
Third-year psychology student Brian Kline was out for drinks with friends in Canyon Meadows last weekend when he struck up conversation with the bartender at the Tipsy Harpsicord.
Kline described the man behind the bar as having “ruffled silver hair, a smile that looked like it hadn’t been used in 11 years and the laugh lines of a man who’d seen a dark kind of horror.”
Despite all that, Kline said he seemed nice enough.
“He said his name was Steve, and that he’d just moved back home after a decade in Ottawa” Kline said. “Bartenders always have good advice, so I figured I’d ask him for some relationship tips.”
The bartender reportedly leaned towards Kline when the student approached the bar.
“He asked what was troubling me, and I told him all about how my girlfriend dumped me last week,” Kline said.
The bartender reportedly grabbed Kline firmly by the wrist, meeting his gaze desperately.
“Son, did she leave you for a younger, hotter guy named Justin?” he asked with pain in his eyes.
Kline shook his head.
“Um, no,” Kline said. “She just said she needed space and —”
The bartender cut him off.
“Well, if she ever does leave you for a younger, hotter guy named Justin, you need to just back away from it all,” he said. “Step back. Forget it all. It’s not your problem. They didn’t deserve you anyway. Let Jason or Michelle handle it — it’s their problem now. You’re a nobody. You’re a simple guy.”
Kline said he tried to back away, but Steve’s vice-like grip held him there.
“You hear me?” the bartender said forcefully, a manic glow in his eyes. “A simple, normal guy who likes doing normal guy things. You like going out for beers with friends, playing with the band, laughing and watching online streaming services. And that’s enough for you. That should be enough. That’s all you need to be happy.”
Kline said that the bartender continued rambling on about someone named Justin.
“I kept trying to rejoin my friends, but he looked really sad,” Kline said. “I just felt kind of bad for the guy.”
Kline asked the bartender if his lover had left him for this Justin.
“She chose him,” the bartender said wearily. “We had nine great years together. Nine years! I was worried she’d leave me for Jack in 2011, but our bond only grew stronger. And then Justin came with his fancy hair and weed and famous dad and scooped her up.”
Kline said the bartender sighed, collected himself and stepped back, releasing his grip on Kline’s wrist.
“But you know what, kid?” he said. “It’s over now. Let Justin have her. I’m just a guy in a bar and that’s that. Nothing more, nothing less.”
Kline hesitated for a moment, unable to move from Steve’s piercing blue stare.
“You’re just a regular guy in a bar,” Kline said carefully. “Nothing more, nothing less.”
He said Steve visibly relaxed his stance.
“Right,” the bartender said, returning to polishing a grimy tumbler from the shelf above him.
“That’s right. I am a normal, regular, human guy in a bar. And you are too. We’re just two normal, regular, human guys in a bar. Now what can I get you?”
Kline ordered a pint of Coor’s Light®, paid and rejoined his friends.