Game Night at The Bull's Feather Pub

Game Night at The Bull's Feather Pub

A Story by Kees Kapteyn
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NEED CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM- PLEASE REVIEW HONESTLY

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The football game is too loud in the hotel pub. It fills the room  from flat screen televisions placed everywhere,  behind the bar, over the beer sign, over the deck, raised higher than the floor.   The game explodes perpetually about the room, pyrotechnics waxing and waning. It’s the air, the atmosphere, the light and the banter. There are waves of ardour from the cheerings and shoutings of the crowd, but there is also a time honoured order from the commentary. There’s comfort in their knowledge, soothing to the men at the bar. In their power suits, they look keen and crisp. They are power brokers. They break power, build power through hostile takeovers. They monitor their quarry, conspire them towards their demise, conquer them, swallow them, then make them theirs. They break them.
They’ve come to the pub tonight, ties loosened, wanting to drink.   They congregate at the bar at the end of the night to put the day away. They’d been crunching numbers all day, sealing deals and shaking hands and now they need to let loose.   They all talk above the din of the television, keeping a conduit of conversation through them, keeping it light, drawing illicit laughs from each other. The conversation has to be simple, basic, quickly picked up and not missed, like a lateral pass in football, like a drop pass in hockey. This is their leisure, where they step out of their world and strip life down to its lowest common denominator. 
“Wrecked ‘er? Damn near killed ‘er!”
“Wrecked ‘em, wrecked them, not her. You know? Rectum?”
“No, just her. I’m strictly monogamous.”
“Is that how you like it?”
You, behind the bar, you pour their drinks, ply their food. You have a sense of propriety here. This is your establishment. You are good at what you do, you know your job. You give a hospitable persona and they appreciate that. You match their banter, talking like you’re one of them. They like the glow of your face, the smile. They like the liberty of your breasts, your cleavage showing from the open V of your sweater. It makes you the carnal center of the room, the prize. Their eyes dive into your cleavage from every corner of the room, where you, behind the bar, are at its head, its center and fulcrum. They take this as license and you offer this license for gratuities to augment your meagre server’s wage.   It is the flow of currency between you, the pursuit of gratuity.  They step closer, lean closer on the bar. The bars stretches between you and them like a fence.  
You smile and laugh at their jokes and the line gets drawn closer to you, the front moves closer. They are more forward, they make that movement.  You don’t give them everything from behind the bar. The bar stands between you and them. You don’t react to their comments, so they populate that silence with innuendo.   They look at your naked finger and this is a state of undress to them. You’re open and vulnerable and it excites them. They sense pursuit and it incenses them.
 
What they don’t know is that your rings are sitting at home, where at that same moment, your husband is giving your daughter a bath; her last activity before retiring clean and warm to bed. Your ring, that circle of solid and pure gold that belongs on your third finger, the finger that has a direct carnal line to your heart, sits on your dresser while you work. To wear it to work would turn away gratuities, burst the illusion. It sits in the dark waiting for you, in the bedroom where your husband will be sleeping, ready to wake to your return and welcome you home. The patrons will never know this in their fleeting dalliance with you. They may enter the softness of brief association, but would never touch the solid unmoveable truths you hide. You would never let them close enough. 
“So how old are you?” one of them asks.
“27.”
“27? Darryl Sittler.”
“Frank Mahovolich”
“Shane Courson”
“He was a bum!”
“Jacques Villeneuve was number 27 too.”
“Same as his dad.”
“You know who should be wearing 27?” the first man asks, looking at you.
“Who?” you ask, knowing by the smirk on his face something is coming.
“Me.” he says.
The look is passed and the other men react with laughter. It has struck the right chord and now the laughter rings like a harmonic. You laugh along and shake your head. With impeccable timing, you offer another drink and they accept. It’s a toast to good times and more tips for you. At the till, you check on the balance and without warning a toonie sails across the bar and bounces off your breast. The quarter test. You catch it after it bounces off your chest, before it hits the ground and they are amazed, laughing and clapping. They are indeed impressed. You then press your breasts together and they each toss coins at your cleavage, none succeeding, but each having immense fun in doing so. You laugh the hardest , at the irony of it all. When you return to the till, they moan and protest, but you need to get back to work. You pick up the coins from the floor and more are tossed into your shirt, which you shake out from the bottom when you stand back up. They all go into your tip jar. As you busy yourself with your work, the patrons return their attention to the game and their drinks. They see the fun is over and they fall into the next available form of entertainment.
 
You consider closing early tonight. You’re tired, too tired in fact. This is not where you want to be. It’s too busy tonight, the waitress that was supposed to come in had not and you are doing the pub alone tonight. You know your daughter is having a bath tonight and normally, in the old normalcy before taking this job, you would draw your own bath after your daughter would be asleep. After that bath, you would go to sleep as well. You’ve worked too many late nights now, with too little sleep between them. Bills need to be paid and pounds of flesh need to be served. You think of pounds of flesh; yourself served on a platter and devoured. You know your husband would explode with anger if he knew what had just gone on tonight and you feel pangs of guilt. Your guilt is richer than the change in the tip jar. They are gratuities, tips, but they are not without price and they are not making you any wiser. You frown privately.  You shiver. The pub is always so cold, the door always opening to the winter air. You want your warm bed, your warm husband, the real humanity of rest.
A food order comes from the kitchen . You avoid looking at the cook as you take it and wordlessly pass it to a patron although the cook stares at you, hoping for your attention. The cook is a diva, has been making too many suggestions beyond his scope, beyond the kitchen and into your personal sphere. You won’t go beyond that door into the kitchen tonight because there are too many corners, too much heat from the grills. You feel the heat coming from the kitchen but still the cold from the door makes you shiver. You don’t accept that heat. Let him sweat it out alone back there, you think. You decide to close early tonight. You know how to subliminally ease the patrons out of the bar, keep new ones from coming in. The cook will be leaving soon. You will rush him out as well and after he leaves, then you can close up and go home. You intend to do just that.

 

 

© 2009 Kees Kapteyn


Author's Note

Kees Kapteyn
NEED CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM- DON'T KNOW WHAT TO THINK OF THIS

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Featured Review

Well.....it isn't the kind of pub I'd hang out in or work at for that matter, but there is a certain truth to the going-ons of social drinking and serving outside the house. It is very well written and descriptive, you definitely captured the bug on the wall feel to narrative and also put some thought behind the action....though a thing I'm pretty sure of, especially having been a bartender and waitress in my past, one if married would be wearing their ring. Great piece of writing though maybe a touch too subjective, possibly if you focused on one of the men you might get across more on the reasons for their behavior and some insight as to why they can act this way, when they truly love a woman who still serves in this time and age. I'm going to post a poem I wrote quite awhile ago about the same kind of thing but with less words.

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.



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Reviews

You have this ability to draw my attention in a fashion that makes me want to dig so deep into your story and look for its heart beat in a sense. I love that can paint so a powerful visualize in my head that allows me to almost experience something through someone else's eyes. I am grateful for you sharing this glimpse of your life in a way that we as the reader can feel as we have learned as well as lived a part of it with you. Always a pleasure reading your words.


Great Job!!!!!!!!

Posted 11 Years Ago


This was a very good story. I don't think there was a fault in the way you told it, but there were some slight things that might be changed to make it less confusing, especially in the first paragraph.

"It fills the room from flat screen televisions placed everywhere, behind the bar, over the beer sign, over the deck, raised higher than the floor." The last phrase seems to be a little out of place.

"There are waves of ardour from the cheerings and shoutings of the crowd, but there is also a time honoured order from the commentary." Consider the word 'commentators' instead of commentary.

"In their power suits, they look keen and crisp. They are power brokers." At first I didn't know that this was referring to the patrons at the bar, I thought it was still referring to the commentators. Maybe clear this up somehow?

""Wrecked 'er? Damn near killed 'er!"
"Wrecked 'em, wrecked them, not her. You know? Rectum?"
"No, just her. I'm strictly monogamous."" This conversation is brilliant. I can imagine the complete characters from these three lines.

The 'harmonic' line that Spoken already mentioned- I would agree with her.

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Well.....it isn't the kind of pub I'd hang out in or work at for that matter, but there is a certain truth to the going-ons of social drinking and serving outside the house. It is very well written and descriptive, you definitely captured the bug on the wall feel to narrative and also put some thought behind the action....though a thing I'm pretty sure of, especially having been a bartender and waitress in my past, one if married would be wearing their ring. Great piece of writing though maybe a touch too subjective, possibly if you focused on one of the men you might get across more on the reasons for their behavior and some insight as to why they can act this way, when they truly love a woman who still serves in this time and age. I'm going to post a poem I wrote quite awhile ago about the same kind of thing but with less words.

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

It has struck the right chord and now the laughter rings like a harmonic. (harmonic-a?)

I really enjoyed the third paragraph that followed the first short conversation. It was written in a way that really pulls the reader into the bartender's position and helps them understand that point of view.

I love the idea behind this piece. With the addition of personal detail (the family aspect) you give a depth behind a character that is typically seen as just part of the background. Refocusing the bartender as, in actuality, the hub of the activity. You've shown how cameleon they must be. I got a fish bowl sense of this person, like they are looking out from behind their glass at everyone and everything. This protective bubble allows them to see all, while never showing who they really are.. mantaining that illuciveness.

I'm not sure what to think of the repetative narroration. At first it slightly put me off, but after rereading I believe it was your intention to have this style of description in the narrorative and it kind of works for me but slows the read down a bit which runs the risk of losing the reader's attention if it were any longer than it is.

This is their leisure, where they step out of their world and strip life down to its lowest common denominator.

really love that line.

All in all, I really enjoyed this. It's creative and has a uniqueness to it. Your descriptions, at points, were spot on sucking me right into the scene. Kudos from me :)

Posted 11 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.


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4 Reviews
Added on January 7, 2009
Last Updated on January 23, 2009

Author

Kees Kapteyn
Kees Kapteyn

Ottawa, Canada



About
Resides in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Self-published his zine 'rhododendron' and two chapbooks: 'grubstreet' and 'coffee salt.' Has been published in ditchpoetry.com, blueskiespoetry.ca, Novella, Corv.. more..

Writing
Aphelion Aphelion

A Story by Kees Kapteyn