Vodka Chaser at an Irish Wake

McGowan’s Pub was a spiritual clone of almost every other Irish pub found in Dublin, except this one was in the heart of the lower east side of New York City.  It had a long dark wood bar top that gleamed in the dim light.  The brass accents might have been tacky if the light had been any brighter, but in that light they complimented the leather topped bar stools and small intimate tables scattered around the small interior.  It had started its life as a gathering place for afterhours Irish police officers in the early 1920s before they went home to their wives, but as the times changed so did McGowan’s clientele.  This change was not particularly evident tonight though, as redheads made up the majority of the crowded bar’s patrons.

Tatiana tucked a loose blonde lock of hair behind her ear as she sipped her vodka.  She sat at a table by the wall, as secluded as you could get in a bar of this size as it neared the maximum number of occupants.  Her long white dress amplified the paleness of her blemishless skin, but somehow acted as camouflage to the tipsy, and getting tipsier by the minute, crowd that inhabited the bar.

She studied the young rust haired man at the bar who seemed to be taking in all the festivities, but he didn’t participate in the toasting of the recently departed.  As a matter of fact he didn’t even drink a drop.  He just smiled, laughed, and nodded in all the right places, but silent as a ghost.  Every once in a while he would turn to the picture of the deceased on the counter and smile before turning back to the crowd.  Tatiana desired to move in on the man, but for now she kept her distance.

Finally Tatiana’s dress failed her and one of the mourners/revelers noticed Tatiana drinking alone and decided to stumble over.  He was average in almost every way except for piercing blue eyes.  He put on his million dollar smile, but he had had too many drinks and it ended up only being worth two fifty and some change.  Tatiana gave him bonus points for trying though.

“Hi there, I’m Tom.  Are you here for the bride or the groom?” he asked, leaning forward and dropping his gaze from Tatiana’s eyes to her ample bosom prominently framed by her dress before returning back to her eyes.

Tatiana took away the bonus points.  “I thought this was a wake,” she said dead faced, adding in a good amount of Russian accent.

Tom waved his hands, spilling some of his dark amber liquid onto the well watered floor below.  “No, no, that was just a joke,” he said.

Tatiana stayed neutral.  “The wake is a joke?” she asked.

Tom put his glass carefully on the table with both hands before continuing.  “No, no, the bride or groom was a joke,” he said.  “The wake is real.”

Tatiana pretended to think about this for a moment.  “So you are saying that marriage is a joke?” she asked.

“Oh damn,” he said.  “No, no, marriage is a joke, but that’s not what I’m saying.  I mean I…”

Tatiana put her hand on Tom’s arm to put a stop to his rambling.  “I understand.  That was my joke,” she said, dropping most of her Russian accent.  “I just was messing with you.”

The man pointed at her, then put both hands on his knees and breathed out before standing up and pointing at her again.  “That was a good one,” he said.  He then turned away from her and waved in the direction of the young man Tatiana had been studying at the bar.  “She’s a funny one, Sean.”  The young man smiled and waved back.  Tom turned back to Tatiana.  “How do you know Sean?” Tom asked.

Tatiana handed Tom his drink and then took a sip of vodka as the next toast shouted out.  Tom slammed back the rest of his drink before slamming the glass upside down on her table.  Tatiana gently swirled her vodka, watching the Tom’s drink push his blood alcohol content into the stratosphere.  “How did you know Sean?” she asked.

“He was my uncle,” Tom said.  “Actually my god-uncle.  He was my godfather’s brother.  Coolest guy you ever met, of course you already knew that,” Tom said.

“Of course,” Tatiana said.  “What did you like the best about him?”

Tom tried to snag a chair and missed, almost pouring himself onto the floor.  He recovered barely and instead leaned against Tatiana’s table. His eyes drifted back to her chest as he continued.  “He really appreciated a fine woman and a strong drink.  We have a lot of that in common,” he said.

Tatiana pushed out her lower lip in a mischievous pout.  “Really, that’s the best story you have of your god-uncle?” she asked.

Tom smiled.  “Oh, stories?  I’ve got a million of them.  I was living with him once, quite a few years ago of course,” he said.

“Of course,” Tatiana said.  “Please continue.”

Tom stared at her breasts for a couple seconds more before blinking and continuing.  “He wanted to give me a challenge.  He said Tom, you’re twenty eight,” Tom said.  He stopped and changed it up a bit.  “I mean eighteen.  Anyway you need to get out and experience the world.  So he drove me to Hoboken to this really raunchy night club.  He gave me a hundred dollars in ones and sat me in the front row.  He told me to enjoy.  Boy did I.  When I was done with my ones I looked around and Sean wasn’t there anymore.  He had left within like ten minutes of dropping me off.  I didn’t have any money for a taxi since I had given my money away to the ladies, if you know what I mean.”

Tatiana nodded, willing him to finish his story.  Tom drunkenly obliged.  “So that was before cell phones and all that shit.  The nightclub bouncer wouldn’t let me back in to use the phone.  I was stuck, so I used my head.”

Tom paused, looking at Tatiana for some input. She finally figured it out and said, “So how did you use your head?”

Tom smiled, then frowned after trying to figure out what Tatiana had just said.  He shrugged and continued.  “I managed to catch one of the girls coming out of the club that I had given some of my money to.  I convinced her to give some back so I could get home.”

Tatiana gave Tom a critical look.  “How did you manage that?” she asked.

Tom put on a leering smile.  “That’s a secret I would be happy to reveal over breakfast tomorrow,” he said.

Tatiana didn’t rise to the bait.  “I thought you were telling me something about Sean,” she said.

“Oh, well when I got home I found him sacked out with two of those bimbos at the nightclub with a ton of empty bottles of booze scattered around the place.  Claimed he had slipped them a little something something for their time, if you know what I mean.  Like I said, fine women and strong drink,” Tom said.  “So what about it baby, want to see how I seduced that stripper?”

Tatiana leaned in real close to Tom, giving him an even bigger view of her chest.  “I will make sure to take you up on that in a few years,” she said as her blue eyes glittered extremely cold.  “You can count on it.”  Tom took two rapid steps back, tripping over his own feet and crashing to the ground.

Tatiana gracefully stood up, pounded the rest of her vodka back and stalked her way to the bar.  The festivities were winding down and the place was now half empty.  Still the young man standing by the picture remained, and when he saw Tatiana he gave her a million dollar smile that evaporated the closer Tatiana came.

Tatiana picked up the picture and held it next to the young man.  “The resemblance is amazing,” she said.  The young man looked for a way to run, but Tatiana stared him down, freezing him with those ice blue eyes.

The bartender noticed Tatiana standing there holding the picture.  “Be careful of that picture,” he said.  Tatiana never took her eyes off of Sean as she placed the picture gently on the bar.  “Thanks.  Can I get you something?”

“I think I’ll have another shot of your top shelf vodka as a chaser,” Tatiana said.

The bartender did a double take.  “Chaser?  What are you drinking first?” he asked.

Tatiana still didn’t take her eyes off the young redhead. After a moment of silence the bartender shook his head and moved back to the bar.  “One top shelf vodka shot coming right up,” he said.

Tatiana smiled a predatory smile.  “You’ve been a bad boy Sean,” she said.  The young man waved his hands in a negative gesture.  Tatiana laughed.  “No denying it to me.  You grand-nephew collaborated the story.”  The young man looked at Tom with pure venom.  Tatiana laughed.  “Don’t worry.  He’ll get his soon.  Goodbye Sean.”

With that, Tatiana sucked in the shade of Sean O’Grady, removing him from existence.  The bartender placed the vodka at the end of the bar just as she finished consuming the ghost.  Tatiana, without looking, reached out, grabbed the shot glass, and threw it back feeling the alcohol burning the bad taste from her palate.  She slammed the glass upside-down onto the bar.  “Thanks, I needed that.”  She peeled off a fifty from a stack of bills that mysteriously appeared in her hand and placed it next to the glass.

As Tatiana made her way out the door and into the frosty night she made sure to blow a kiss at Tom that made him shiver.  That was a promise she was looking forward to keeping.