It's unfortunate when you try something new and it all goes to pot. Big Dave is only too familiar with such misfortune, his rundown bar barely covers the rent and its faulty neon sign seems rather appropriate. Although, I kinda like the way his 'Rock Bar' trade name flickers and dies periodically, because sooner or later it always lights up and shines again.
Despite its obvious shortcomings, when out shopping or whatever I often make a beeline for the Rock Bar. There's a warm, amiable atmosphere and I don't get much hassle for being a lone female. Even when I do happen to get picked on by some stonehead or other, Big Dave soon sees me right, we go back years and many is the time I've filled in for one of his work shy barmaids.
The Rock Bar is safe, and in the afternoons Dave softens things down by playing soulful blues, perhaps an Albert King album, or maybe something lighter such as Penguin by Fleetwood Mac. The more reserved tone makes Dave's scruffy, 420 joint a surprisingly perfect venue for quiet reflection or thoughtful conversation.
And a somewhat melancholy environment is exactly what I'm in need of today, because where better than this delightful dive to acknowledge the loss of a friend I never met, one who had his own neon sign, a powerful one, with a light so bright it shined on me all the way across the ocean from America.
My little light shined back, and was always welcomed and often remarked upon. My lost friend knew where I was coming from, we had an empathy of sorts and that's why I'm sure he would approve of my chosen venue for our celestial rendezvous. There's no doubting whatsoever what he'd offer me to drink.
“Lime and soda, Steffanie?”
“Not today, Dave. I'll have a Dirty Martini, please.”
“A Dirty Martini, it's in honour of someone who's no longer with us.”
Dave understands. Dave always understands. He prepares my cocktail and then leaves me alone with my thoughts for a while. I've never had a Dirty Martini before, and everyone knows I'm hopeless with alcohol, so I guess that's partly why Dave doesn't ask any awkward questions when I start happily chatting to myself.
“Cheers, Mr. Martini.”
“Cheers to you too, Steffanie. Now let's have another one,” he says.