A Wise Monkey… The Barroom Chronicles Pt. 1

“A wise monkey once told me don’t mess with another monkey’s monkey unless you’re holding the banana.”  I’m not sure what it means but considering it’s written on the lady’s room wall at my place of employment, I believe it’s a reminder to the inebriated which monkey keeps the bananas. You see, I own a small town bar in rural Montana, and these are my stories (Cue Law and Order Theme.)

We’ve all seen obnoxious drunks, the kind of ogre that just pisses you off. When you’re the customer, you can tell him to shut up, remind him that he is a rip roaring anal aperture and wish him a painful hangover. You’re lucky, you’re on the fun side of the bar.

Behind the bar, such dealings call for a bit a diplomacy, a heaping of patience, and when worse comes to worse, an eye for retaliatory measures.  As an owner, I have to bide my time and take my shots when I can. Being a small town, customers are not in unlimited supply. In other words, even though I hold the bananas, it doesn’t behoove me to piss off too many monkeys.

When that magic moment comes I can assure you we’re not slipping Visine into drinks – that’s downright cliche’.  For those unfamiliar, that’s an old bartender’s trick. A dash of the eye drop into a libation and obnoxious customer is suddenly puking up his guts. What follows are my favorite acts of vengeance:

1)  What’s that, you only have a dollar ten in pennies and nickles?

Regular number 1 walks in, orders a bottled beer, pays for said beer. Drinks beer, orders second beer, pays for beer, drinks beer, orders third beer, whips out a bunch of nickles and pennies and says this is all the money he has.   Hey, I’m a nice guy, under normal circumstances I’d let it slide.  But remember the law of the jungle: give a monkey a banana, and he thinks he’s entitled to two.

But this isn’t the second or third time it’s happened with dear #1, it’s become habit.  What do I do to get even?  I open his beer, pour half of it down the drain and slam the bottle on the bar.

“You can’t do that,” he says with wide eyes.

“You bet I can,” I say as I dump out a little more.   “You’re paying for a dollar ten cents worth of beer,  you’re getting a dollar ten cents worth.”

It worked,  he’s never short changed me again.

Regular #1 again…  There’s a pattern developing, people receiving such actions are beyond diplomacy.   Said patron was cut off for the night and refused to vacate the bar. You must understand #1 is a harmless fellow, his worst offense is getting in people’s space, playing air guitar while articulating delusions of being in Van Halen.

For such circumstances we keep a valuable tool behind the bar. Technically the act could be construed as chemical warfare, and as far as I know it may violate the Geneva Convention or whatever laws govern warfare.  I walk behind him and apply  a liberal dose of  Liquid Ass upon his backside.  If you haven’t experienced this joy, think of fat ole’ granddad letting it rip… on steroids.   Of course I risk clearing the bar, but because #1 smells like #2 peer pressure quickly mounts. Everybody thinks he  shit himself.  The remaining customers harangue the confused customer till he leaves. Not to mention, next visit he gets his balls busted for shitting his pants.

3)  Regular #2   aka   The Crankiest Prick in Town.   He is also a recipient of two acts of barroom karma.   #2 is such a prick that revenge is justified with every sip.  Words just can’t explain this wonderful human being. If you ever met him, you would be instantly creeped out.  Imagine an old, defrocked priest and you have an accurate picture.

The inspiration for these acts of retribution aren’t even remembered, but I can assure you they were just another clash of symbols in a very long parade of hostility.

On a summer night, #2 irritated me sufficiently to slip out into the parking lot and urinate on his driver’s door and a tire.   An act of silent vengeance that allowed me the honor of serving him with a smile the remainder of the evening.

4)   #2 plays his own trick. The man is so despised that if customers see his rig in front of the bar, they go to the next bar, or simply turn around and go home. #2 has figured this out and parks his truck in front of the bar he’s not drinking in.  One glorious afternoon, #2 parks in front of the bar and walks down the street.  With afternoon business shot, I sat on the deck and watched the local riding club trot their steeds down Main St.  Remember, this is rural Montana.  Along with the horses comes pucky, and lots of it. An evil smile crosses my face and I set off to find a shovel.

Within minutes not only have I found a shovel, I’ve found help. We load #2’s pickup bed with #2.  I get a good laugh. Apparently, my help dislikes #2 more than I do. He asks if I have a pair of gloves that he can keep. Notice, he didn’t ask to borrow a pair of gloves. I say, “but, of course.”  The help proceeds to don gloves and spread some of the horse’s cheer over #2’s windshield. I”m wondering if it was a shitty ride home?

The moral of the story? Even if your bartender is an ass, he often gets the last laugh!

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