Brig sat down in the chair of the young woman he’d almost decapitated.. The seat’s cushion was still warm and the scent of her perfume lingered. Brig patted his backpack with his hand, reassuring himself that his pack was safe. It felt good to be off of his feet.
He looked up to get the attention of a waiter and saw the couple that he had harassed out of their table standing at the bar’s cash register paying their bill. Brig should’ve felt ashamed, but the effect of the opiates allowed him to be carefree and less inhibited. He closed his eyes for a moment and let the white noise of the bar wash over him.
“Welcome to the Hard Rock! Can I get you something to drink?” Brig opened his eyes. A young man with striking red hair and an acne problem magnified by a pale complexion began clearing the dirty plates from the table. Brig had promised himself he wouldn’t drink tonight, but he was in a bar and felt required to order something alcoholic. He quickly readjusted his expectations of himself, rationalizing that he had earned himself one beer. How he had earned that beer never came up.
“Yes, I think you can. What beers do you have on tap?”
“The usual. Carlsberg, San Miguel, Blue Girl, Tsingdao, Budweiser, Bud Light, Tetleys, Guinness.” As the waiter wiped the table off with a towel, he continued, “We also have a few good locally brewed micros. Fat Rooster, Lion Rock, Gwailo, Typhoon…” the man paused to see if Brig was interested in any of the beers he had mentioned or if he needed to continue.
“Do you have a good pale ale?”
“The Gwailo pale is pretty good. They make an IPA as well, but it’s too hoppy in my opinion.”
“I’ll start with the Gwailo pale, and some water if you don’t mind.”
“Comin’ up.” The waiter walked off to place Brig’s drink order.
Brig picked up the menu to see if anything looked appetizing. As usual, he wasn’t hungry, but knew that he needed to eat to keep his energy up. He wanted to start putting on some weight so he didn’t look like a drug addict. He decided to try and force down a burger and some fries and placed the menu aside. Looking out at all the people in the bar, he felt lonely again, and he had to pee.
Fuck it Brig thought and gave in to the urge to take another pill. He worried that this next dose might send him over the edge, especially if taken with alcohol, but old habits die hard and this habit felt ancient. Brig looked around to make sure that nobody was watching. As he reached into his pack, he spotted the man he had just seen a few minutes ago outside on the street. The man wasn’t in the bar proper, but stood in the central area of the restaurant. A stained glass logo of the Hard Rock Cafe hung from the ceiling, and obstructed his view, but Brig was positive it was the same guy.
Brig stood to get a better look just as the man turned and walked away. He started to follow, but remembered his pack and looked down to make sure it was where he had left it. It was, but when he looked up, the man was gone.
Damn it! Who is that? Brig wondered to himself.
“Here you go. One Gwailo Pale Ale.” The waiter had returned with a large glass of beer. “Have you decided what you would like to eat?” Brig sat back down, still looking in the area where the man had disappeared. “Is everything okay?” the server asked.
“Yeah. I thought I saw somebody I knew.” Brig gathered himself and picked the menu back up.
“What can I get you?”
“How are your burgers?”
“Excellent, and I’m not just saying that. They taste like they came right off of an American barbeque.”
“Well, alrighty then. Medium rare, with swiss cheese and no onions please.”
“You got it.” The waiter took the menu and walked away. Brig lifted his beer and toasted himself. “To Everest!”