The first time I saw King, he was walking towards the bar, his hair almost neon under the club's purple lights. He was an unusual sight, with his gray dyed hair, black suit, pierced ears, and silver rings. He touched the edge of the bar and leaned towards me, lifting himself on the tips of his feet. His eyes were gray under the transparent frames he was wearing. He looked rich like everyone else who came in. Rich and eccentric.
"Excuse me," I remember him saying that because I was almost certain, he was going to snap his fingers at me. He didn't, so I turned around towards him.
"What can I get you?"
He smiled - a row of perfectly white teeth – "How about another one of those outrageously expensive Sidecars you have?" He asked. It was good to know the man was willing to drop 400 dollars on a glass of cognac.
"Sure." I made him the drink, cognac mixed with Grand Marnier Quintessence liqueur and lemon juice.
"Thank you." He smiled again and watched as I made the drink. It wasn't a particularly crowded night, so I took my time.
"What do you usually drink?" I heard him asking.
"Liar." He laughed. "Everyone drinks. At least, everyone over 25. Something happens at 23, and it fucks us up." He looked around that age.
I looked at him; he was still smiling as if he was slightly drunk already. His hair was quite distracting.
"Fine. JW 1800," I said, just because it was the most expensive drink I could think of.
"Oh." His eyes darted up towards the rows and rows of bottles behind him. "I'll have one of those," he said. I thought I should tell him that a glass costs almost 500 dollars, but I decided to let the fool spend his money.
He smiled white teeth under the neon lights. I made his drinks and placed them on the bar. "880 dollars."
He took out his wallet, black leather with a doughnut sticker placed in the middle. He took out two five hundred bills and put them on the bar. His ringed fingers curled around his cognac gently, as if he didn't want to break the glass.
"Thank you," he said. "Keep the change."
He left, leaving behind the JW1800. I drank if, of course, and pocketed my tip.
The second time I met King was during a late Sunday afternoon. He was the same odd apparition, but this time he wasn't wearing a black suit. He was wearing distressed jeans with a white t-shirt and a trench coat. His shoes were pink.
He didn't recognize me, but I recognized him. I watched him walk down the street, smoking his cigar and talking on the phone with God knows who.
"Oh no," I muttered. "He's hot…"
The third time I saw King was three weeks later. It was a rainy night in the city. He was on the other side of the street, waiting for the light to change. He didn't have an umbrella, but he didn't seem all that bothered. This time, he was wearing a pink shirt with a black leather jacket. The light changed green, and I crossed. He didn't.
"Excuse me," he said when I reached the other side of the road. "You look awfully familiar."
"I don't think so."
"No. I don't forget faces that I like," he said.
How cheesy, I thought, yet I felt the urge to smile. I didn't answer.
He studied my face for a moment longer. His eyes were gray like the autumn sky. "Oh," he smiled. "Oh, yes. You're the bartender. I remember you."
"I'm sorry; I have a lot of clients." It wasn't a lie; it was an excuse.
"Oh, please, don't worry," he said. "I wasn't expecting you to remember me. I'm King. Arthur. My parents had a sense of humor."
"Your name is King?"
"Yes." He smiled. "It's on my IDs and everything."
"King Arthur." I smiled. He shrugged and pushed his hair out of his face.
"Arthur King. And you?" He offered his hand.
"Tristan." I shook it.
"I'm fairly sure Tristan was a knight of the round table."
"I'm fairly sure you are right."
Arthur King was drenched and smiling, and his teeth were white. His clear frames were pushed on top of his head. "How about I buy you another JW1800?" He offered.
"How about a 5 dollars coffee from Starbucks instead?"
"I might have said no just because Starbucks isn't real coffee. But I own an iPhone, and that's the perfect place to show it off." He joked.
The fourth time I saw King was in a hospital bed.
Comments (35)See all