Nothings hurts more than having to open a bar after a long night of drinking. Senses are heightened beyond those of a pregnant woman. Smells can be immobilizing, and the texture of a maraschino cherry is enough to make you hurl something you ate in the 4th grade. This particular morning, was one of these mornings.
I met my co-worker in the lobby, both of us hissing at the sun as we hid behind our sunglasses; our livers spring-loaded and our hearts pumping more Manhattans than blood. We drug our feet to Ballroom 1, and found an excessively perky concierge gingerly sliding a paper into the slot next to the door that read, “Welcome Regional Bowling Convention.” Immediately, I perked up.
You see, The Big Lebowski is one of my all-time favorite movies and was about to be surrounded by hundreds of them. With this in mind, I sent the bar back to fetch plenty half and half in anticipation for the wave of white Russians (aka Caucasians) I would make. Although my mood perked, my hangover was still more than present. The thought of drinking made my skin ripple.
I was setting up the bar -holding each bottle an arm’s length away from my face- when I saw the door across the ballroom swing open. I popped my head up to see who was coming in and did a double take.
“Do you see that?” I asked my co-worker.
“See what?” he asked.
“Do you see what’s walking over to us?”
We both slowly straightened our posture and focused our eyes on what we both thought was a man in a bowling pin costume. As he got closer to the bar, we realized that the man was genetically pre-disposed to bowl, as his body was shaped like a pin…a six-foot pin. We confused the color scheme of a bowling pin, with the glory of his fashion sense: a white satin shirt with a large red belt and white loose-fit jeans.
“Oh, wow-” uttered my co-worker, as the giant bowling pin approached the bar.
“Good morning!” I squeaked, attempting to sound perky and inviting. “What can I get you, sir?”
The giant bowling pin set both of his hands (each the size of frying pans) upon the bar and gasped for air. I suppose bowlers never really have to walk terribly far nor fast to the bowling alley bar. As he caught his breath, he slowly picked his head up to speak. Given his spacially-dominant presence, I was expecting a deeper voice than the one that hop-scotched out of his mouth.
“Dear God!” he chirped. Pinocchio? Is that you? I asked myself. “This has been such a sssssstressful morning. I need a drink-”
And without skipping a beat proceeded to order the most diabetic-inducing mixture.
“I’ll take a mango Malibu Sea Breeze, extra cherries.”
My jaw dropped and I quickly bowed my head pretending to look for what I knew we didn’t have: Malibu. I could see my co-worker trembling, trying to contain his laughter. There was no way he was going to be able to respond to the giant bowling pin, which meant I had to. I took a deep breath, proving to be a horrible idea as the giant bowling pin had bathed in what must have been moth balls and Cool Water. I refrained from gagging and popped up like a piece of toast from a toaster.
“Sorry, sir, but we don’t seem to have any mango Malibu today.”
“Oh! Don’t you worry you sweet thang you- regular Malibu will be fine,” he sung.
“Ah, you see, we don’t seem to have that either, sir. May I interest you in something else?” I proposed.
“Gee, let me get an amaretto sour instead.”
“Goodness, you are going to hate me! We weren’t stocked with amaretto this morning. Third one’s the charm though…” as I awaited his next request. The top of the giant bowling pin was beginning to furrow. I don’t believe he’s ever had to think of a third option before…this was about to get interesting.
“Ok, let me get Liquid Marijuana-” he ordered, confidently.
Familiar with this concoction that contrary to actual marijuana, should be illegal I asked that he refresh my memory of its contents.
“Oh, it’s yummy. It’s equal parts: Capitan Morgan, blue Curaçao, Midori and pineapple juice, with extra cherries for me.”
I was officially tending to a humongous hummingbird.
The poor giant bowling pin’s eyes were wide with anticipation as I pretended to look for ingredients that only a sweet-sixteen birthday party is stocked for. I pulled the jar of maraschino cherries and the box of pineapple juice and smiled.
“I have two parts of it?”
He dropped his head between his frying-pan hands and sighed. The guy was having a rough day and it was only 11:00a.m.. I turned to look at my coworker, who had taken to avidly jamming bottles of beer into ice buckets to avoid this interaction. I looked back at the giant bowling pin, his head still dropped in defeat. Starring at his balding head, a pop of color from behind his neck caught my eye. I took a step to my left and leaned to find that the pop of color was in fact an electric purple and white scrunchie, slowly sliding down the two-dozen hairs it was desperately trying to hold.
Suddenly, the giant bowling pin’s head popped up with a near joker smile.
“I got it!” he chirped, “I’ll have a cherry coke and rum! You do have that, don’t you?”
Afraid to deny him yet another drink, I nodded and proceeded to pour a pint glass a third full of maraschino juice, 1 oz of rum and top it with coke. I garnished the diabetes- I mean, drink with a straw and cherry and glided my hand towards his. The giant bowling pin’s eyes widened and his face lit up as though the heaven’s had parted and shone upon this celestial moment. A rendition of The Creation; a pint of red 40 and coke between our hands.
Thanking me like a child would Santa Claus on Christmas morning, he took his first sip and moaned with satisfaction. His eyes locked with the pint glass like a pig to a trough. Perhaps it was the maraschino cherry juice, but his face began to regain color. He lifted his head up, his face punch-drunk with love as he seductively asked for extra cherries.
As I filled a shot glass with the only fruit that will survive nuclear fall-out, the giant bowling pin asked how our day was going so far. We made small conversation about the weather and the excitement of the holidays ahead and the possibility of making loads of white Russians for this convention.
“White Russians?” questioned the giant bowling pin.
“Yeah, you know, Caucasians. You’ve seen The Big Lebowski, right?” I asked.
“Oh honey, White Russians are soooooo cliché!” he remarked, spun around and waddled his way back across the ballroom.
I looked at my coworker in complete disappointment. Sooooo cliché? I asked him, as we both stood in shock. We looked at the bar we had set up; rows of light domestic beers, plenty of vodka, Crown Royal and half and half and the only cordial being Kaluhua. The first 15 minutes of our shift had already proven that our assumptions of bowlers, were completely inaccurate.
“Something tells me we may not have properly stocked for this crowd,” I commented.
“You think?” mocked my coworker.
Damn you, Lebowski!