The bartender, the new one, who didn't yet know who the regulars were or what they drank, the bartender who could have made up any history about himself that he cared to, said he he was from Seattle.
He didn't say what his name was.
"Ah, the rain," I said, not necessarily snagging him into a conversation.
"I got tired of feeling moldy all the time," he rallied back with his back to me, now turning around to see who was ready, and for what.
A good drinker is someone who doesn't say much, either, sits there sipping with perhaps a knowing grin, Edith Piaf, maybe, or Greta Garbo.
I always thought I was Greta Garbo and wanted to be left alone, to be given my space, to be shrouded in my mysteries.
I figured out much later that I looked like a skinny blonde hippie chick covered in freckles.
I looked like a cliche.
But the bartender from Seattle knew I wanted to be Garbo.
All of a sudden one night, there was a big commotion. People were looking up, taking a few steps backward, trying to regain their footing without spilling their drinks.
A bat was circling the room. Honest to God. Honest to Pete.
It reminded me of the time I was sick on Halloween and an owl flew down the chimney and got trapped in the living room for awhile. Now that had been a zappy few minutes.
What might that portend, the bat circling the room?
"Holy batshit, Robin, now what did you do? Where's The Joker? Is it the bartender from Seattle? Is it Greta Garbo over there?"
And then they were gone, the two of them, Batman and Robin, and the noise started up again, gradually at first. People tried not to look up at the ceiling, pretending they hadn't seen anything, that they weren't that drunk.
Business as usual.
A new bartender joined the crew the following week. He was from Indianapolis.
Life went on inside the bar, that bar that was the hub of the universe, the bar where nothing much ever happened.