Tending Bar at Redneck Heaven
Redneck Heaven is a bar with mostly white
customers in a mostly black neighborhood. I lived in the motel next
door and my friends were the street people in the neighborhood. I was
the only male bartender. I worked two nights during the week, Friday
and Saturday Nights and a double on Sunday.
The clientele changed slightly when I worked the Bar. The local hookers would come in and some of the drug dealers and other people from the neighborhood. The law was that the hookers did not solicit and the drug dealers did not carry and sell drugs into the bar. When I worked on the weekend the cops would send the drug sniffing dog in to check the bathrooms and vice would watch the bar
The boss wasn't happy but he made more money and the dealers would make sure the customers were safe on the street outside the bar. The dealers knew that street robberies would hurt their business. If they saw a robbery in process they would step in and stop it. I had 2 customers tell me how they were saved by dealers.
One night a guy came in the front door and went into the bathroom. Another guy came in the side door and went into the bathroom. In 5 minutes they came out and left the way they came in.
The boss was there so I told him to watch
the bar and I followed the guy out the front. He went to the back and
got in a car with the other guy. I went to a dealer and told him that
it looked like they were going to stick up the bar.
I went back to the bar and placed to guns at convenient places behind the bar. The boss asked what was happening. I told him that we may get robbed. The dealer came in and said he found the guys and convinced them that it would not be healthy to mess with me.
He and the boss shot a game of pool. He had a black cane with a gold handle. The boss said, "That's a nice cane can I see it." He was looking it over, turned the handle and low an behold there was a sword. (I have one of those for night time in the hood along with a 5 inch butterfly knife.)
They both look at me and I smiled. "I need one of those." I said as the boss was standing there with his mouth open. (That was the bosses I'm drunk on my ass and don't know what to do look.)
When the boss recovered he asked me, "Should I make him leave and not bring it in anymore?"
"This man just saved your bar from getting robbed. He possibly saved our lives. You do not want to piss him off. Shoot the rest of the game and I will ask him not to bring in the cane again. For now I will hold it for him."
The guy shook his head and smiled as he gave me the cane. He played a few more games with the other customers, I gave him his cane, thanked him and he left.
The boss was sleeping with this younger
girl. She was 18 and he was 58. Those behind the bar were told that
she was 21 and to serve her. His wife knew he was seeing someone. She
came into the bar and a hooker was talking to him. She thought the
hooker was the one and jumped her. I tried to get in between the two
and a buddy of the boss (drunk as a skunk) tried to pull the hooker
The girlfriend and the boss are watching. The girlfriend has a shit eating grin on her face and the boss has a blank (What in the hell do I do now?) stare on his face.
Finally I get them apart and the buddy out of the way. She accused the hooker of sleeping with her husband. The hooker laughed and said she wasn't. I told the wife that I knew her and I knew she was not sleeping with her husband.
The sad part about it is that whenever she was in the bar the girlfriend was there talking to him and the wife and the girlfriend were friendly. The girlfriend never got caught because she was so obvious. The wife looked ten times as good as the mistress.
A lady came in the bar. She was very upset. She said," my husband and I had a argument. He was drunk and had a fifth of whiskey before the argument. I got out of there and I think he will come here. Don't serve him he probably had more after I left."
Low and behold hubby came in drunk. I watched him as he went down to the end of the bar where his wife was and started to argue. He asked for a whiskey. I said, "I am sorry but I can not serve you because you have had too much. If you sit at the other end of the bar and I will give you some coffee."
The boss came in (This is always to low point of my evening.) After saying hello to the husband g he goes to talk to the wife. The husband is drunk and irrational. He says to me, "Is he messing with my old lady."
I know that he is hoping that he can get her to go out with him but she doesn't want to trade one drunk for the other. The husband was getting worried and went to the other end of the bar. Thinking he may be in trouble, he says, "Can I buy you a drink and let you two talk over your problem."
I look at her and she looks at me. We are both thinking there is going to be trouble. The boss gave them both a drink and I went to him and asked him to come to the other end of the bar for a minute.
I looked at him and said, "From now on could you please stay away from behind the bar when I am working. Especially DO NOT SERVE DRINKS. He and his wife were arguing at home. He was drunk and she came here. He came in the bar drunker than you and I would not serve him. I convinced him to drink coffee and sober up.
You come in and flirt with her and he starts steaming so you offer him a drink. This bar is a corporation. It is a corporation to protect you if an employee serves someone that is drunk. If the drunk kills someone you may lose the bar but not everything else you own. You served a man I cut off. If he goes out and gets himself killed it will be considered your fault. The wife saw that I would not serve him. She saw you serve him. She can own your houses and your bar.
Please get your butt out of the bar and do not come back tonight unless you want to be the bartender."
He asked, "Will you get me a beer?"
I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. I said, "I am the bartender and you are the owner. I have the power to cut you off and to kick your ass out of the bar. You can fire me but not until after my shift. All I have to do is call the cops and tell them you will not leave and they can take you to jail if you do not get a ride home."
He left and I talked to the unhappy couple. He sobered up a little and they went home.
A lady came in and sat next to a guy at the bar. They kissed and I think they had a hand in each other's lap. After about a half an hour a lady came in on a mission. It was her husband. Before I knew it she smacked him on the head, called him every name in the book and started on the other woman.
The other woman said, "I didn't know he was married. He is not wearing a wedding band."
The wife grabbed his hand and noticed that he had another ring on in place of the wedding band. (The guy wasn't stupid enough to not realize that you can always tell that there was a ring there.)
The wife said, "Get your ass home and pack your things. Do not be there when I get home."
"Where are you going?" he asked.
She said, "Let me see you wallet." He gave it to her and she took the money and threw it back at him. She continued, "Your girl friend and I are going out on your money. Hopefully we will get laid."
She gave me a five and left with the other woman.
The husband said, "That's my money."
I looked at him and said, "No it's mine. She gave it to me. I will buy you a beer."
"Thanks. I guess I screwed up." he said with a hurt puppy look on his face.
I asked, "Is this the first time?"
"No. The third." He said.
"I think it is time for you to go like she said." I told him.
Never saw any of them again. I really don't want to.
When you tend bar you sometimes feel like a cross between a shrink and a preacher. Maybe someday they will let bartenders perform wedding ceremonies.
I talked to the customers. When they were down I could usually help them up. I had some regulars that tipped me very well. A woman, her father and his ex girlfriend would come in. The daughter would give me $20, she would make her father tip me $10 and the ex girlfriend would give me $20.
A gay guy used to come in. He knew that I was straight. He also knew he could talk to me and I would not judge him. He also had AIDS.
He would tip $5 to $10. One time he gave me $50 in food stamps.
We had a Halloween party. The gay customer came with long blond hair and a beautiful red dress. When a guy would hit on him he told them up front that he was not a woman and they were thankful that he was honest.
The best costume was Jason from Friday the 13th. He was about 6'4" tall. He just stood in a corner holding a machete and stared at everyone. You would look at him and shiver. No one could figure out who he was. I had talked to his wife half the night and she said he was visiting family for the week. If you look into his eyes you see deep dark pools. No movement. When you were looking he would not even blink.
He was by the door that most people came in and as soon as they saw him you could see the look of fear in their eyes.
I was helping tend bar but I was mainly a bouncer. The boss was in his usual happy mood. He asked who Jason was and I told him I didn't know. He asked if the machete was real and I said yes but he covered it with aluminum foil to make it look like it wasn't real. He told me to get the machete and I told him if he was worried he could ask the guy for it.
The guy kept his machete and did not kill anyone. He won the first prize and everyone was surprised who he was. He was probably the most gentle man I have ever known. He and his wife were a beautiful pair and they pulled it off so well.
Chris is a regular. Chris is a big man and
when sober a nice guy. When he gets drunk you are not sure what to
expect. He is a good tipper and buys drinks for people. One night he
came in with two guys he picked up on the street.
Both were crack addicts. Joe was about 22. He would come to me a lot to talk about going to rehab. He next day he was going. (He did go in and as far as I know he kicked the habit.) Willy was an older addict and there was little hope for him.
Chris gave them each $10.00 and bought them a drink. Joe kept his and only had drinks that Chris bought for him. Willy spent most of his because he could not wait for Chris to buy for him.
Chris would play the oldies on the juke box and walk around the bar. When I figured he had an hour to go I went to the other customers and said, "I am going to have to cut Chris off soon. When I do it will look like I am going to have a big problem. I can handle him and I want you to sit back, relax and enjoy the fun.
Chris surprised me he ran out of money before I cut him off. He ordered drinks for him and his buddies. I passed out the drinks and he went into his wallet and it was empty.
He said, "I'm out of money, can you put them on a tab for me."
I said, "Sorry Chris, I can't. If they don't get paid for they come out of my pocket. I go without food and I can't do that."
I looked at Joe and Willy and said, "Willy, it seems like you spent your money. Joe, I know you still have yours. I think it is up to you to pay the $8.00."
Before he could say anything Chris said, "He doesn't have to pay my debt."
I said, "Chris, all three of you were drinking so all three of you owe the tab, I don't care who pays as long as one of you pays. Joe is the one with the money so Joe is the one who has to pay."
Joe said, "Lee's right Chris, I will pay it."
Joe paid and they went out the back door. I heard a thud and went to the back door. Chris was out cold. His buddies picked him up and carried him home.
The next night Chris was in the bar alone. He said he was robbed by two big black guys. I told him that he blew his money in the bar and passed out. The 2 black guys carried him home.
When ever I had a problem customer I talked him or her out of the bar. If it was real hairy I gat a standing ovation and good tips.
As the title suggests this is a redneck bar. I am a reverse oreo. The two do not normally mix but the customers liked me and they tried to hold there bigotry when I worked. When I worked there was a mixed clientele. The boss was a redneck too.
A mixed couple came in (A white man and a black woman) The were at least 40 and the boss told me to card them. I looked at him like he was crazy. The customers looked at him like the was crazy. He was crazy.
The lady asked as she pulled out her driver's license, "Why is he carding us?"
I answered, "Do you want the truth or BS?"
"He's a bigot."
The female customers liked me because they knew I dated black women. They could talk to me knowing that I was not going to try to make time with them. They could come to me with their problems that they could not talk to a man about but a man would have the best answer. They knew I would be honest with them.
One customer met his wife and married her in the bar. Here would be nights that the three of us would be the only ones left. One of those nights he said, "If you miss that shot you have to take you top off for the next game. She missed and she took off her top. Hubby knew he did not have to worry about me.
(I am human and she did look good.)
He went out of town for a month and asked me to spend time with her so she doesn't get lonely. I did and nothing happened. We were all friends and nothing would happen. I could not do that with and other man. He was an ex con. Killed someone in a fight. I would not want to piss him off.
One night a Jack was in. He was having a few and another customers son Jim Boy said to his father, Ray Rob, and uncle Jay Job that Jack sold him his first drugs when he was 18.
Ray Rob said, "That guy got my son started on drugs 5 years ago when he was 18. It cost the family a fortune in rehab bills to get him clean. We are not doing anything here but when he leaves we are going to beat the shit out of him."
I said, "I am not defending drug dealing. Jack has been out of the business since then. He recently got out of prison so he has already paid for it. Your son was old enough to say no to his buddies. It was his decision to buy and use the drugs. He has no one to blame but himself. Did you talk to him about drugs or did you have the my kid can do no wrong attitude like you do now."
"Are you blaming me?" he said.
"Not necessarily, I am saying that if any one is to be blamed it is your son and you. If Jack wasn't around he would have gone to someone else."
Jay Job said, If you call the police we will kick your ass.
I ignored him and went to Jack. I explained the situation and he said, "I will go and take my chances."
"No, stay here and I will stick with you. If a cop comes in he will talk to me. I will let him know the problem and you can leave with the cop. In a half an hour Elaine will be in to take over and I will have her call the police from the office. I will stay until they come."
"Aren't you worried about what they will do to you?." Jack asked.
"Hey man, I am going with you. Tomorrow they will have for gotten about it."
When I was tending bar I would cut people off before they caused a problem. There were times that things got pretty hairy. I had to keep my cool and let everyone (including the boss) that I was in charge.
Once I made a decision I could not back down.
© Copyright 2001 Lee W. Gaylord