A Story by Ookpik

“What’ll it be?” asked the Bartender to his recently seated clientele.

“Malice,” was the response, “neat.”

This bar had an exceptionally notable grain, fine ebony, with curls and lines befitting of the varnish. The newest customer wasted no time in christening its top with dulled elbows, covered as they were in a worn, wool jacket... grey, to match the bar-stool and a grimace to match his order. 

The Bartender upended a plum bottle and not a drop was lost as it streamed hastily into a waiting crystal glass.

“Women trouble?” The Bartender followed, as bored bartenders are often want to do.

“Not particularly,” came the abrupt answer, and with the short emphasis of someone that didn’t want to further the conversation.

The liquid took a shine as it was raised beneath impatient lips and the light seemed to smile as it wound its way over the tongue.

“Another then?”

The glass rediscovered the bar with a satisfied clink, missing completely the welcoming, cork coaster. 

The Man nodded and again, the bottle made its serenade - deep purple falling seamlessly before the stranger’s carved eyebrows. This was a clever trick made by the most experienced of bartenders, whatever the drink, lips tended to peel with the more poison that passed behind them.

“Work trouble then?”

Again, the Man drank and again, his glance indicated nothing, though his nostrils took an unmistakable flare. 

He blinked.

“Where am I?”

It was just then that the Man noticed he was completely alone, save for the Bartender with his cotton shirt, burgundy suspenders and agile hands. 

“This is The Golden Gate Son.” He pointed at a hanging sign that appeared to have fallen from nothing along the intricate rafters of a cream colored ceiling.

The Man blinked again.

“It doesn’t seem to be very busy.” 

He glanced behind him with an anxious suspicion - again, where his eyes fell tables materialized, befit with scarlet cloth and luxury silverware.

“That it doesn’t.”

Behind the Bartender was an assortment of bottles, ranging from lemon to pink, sienna and charcoal, while the distinctive plum remained ready by a waiting elbow.

“Feel like a change then do you?” he asked with an earnest sense of interest, gesturing at the wall with a wave. 

“We have a little of almost everything.”

The Stranger pointed at a deep red, crowned with an obscene cap.

“Ah,” said the bartender, a look of disappointment crossing his nose.

With a flash the bottles were replaced and a fresh glass sat atop the coaster.

“Rage,” the Bartender identified, as again, the liquid wound it’s way into the glass, this time slowly and with threatening methodology. 

“Why does it do that?” the Stranger asked, a curious kind of smile forming at his cheeks.

“I’m afraid you’ll have to ask the bottle,” came the response, a little less humor then before.

The Man lifted it cautiously and cast the bartender a narrow, sidelong glance before polishing the red - he coughed somewhat as he gulped.

“Strong.” His voice had that tight echo that comes from a throat attempting to close on itself.

“I should imagine so,” the Bartender's eyes were losing their initial glitter, “another?”

The Man shook his head and pounded his chest before glancing up and pointing at a pink.

The glitter returned momentarily and again the bottles were switched.

“Love,” he said calmly.

The Stranger’s hand dove for it, eagerly, and with the urgency of someone needing to cool a burn - the sense of relief was self evident as he poured the rose down his windpipe.

“A little better,” the Bartender commentated, “I imagine.”

The Man nodded. He was curious now, a cornucopia stood on the other side of this bar and the temptation to try them all was near unavoidable. 

The Man raised three fingers and pointed to a blue, a brown and a green.

The Bartender’s glitter disappeared completely and again, three glasses appeared on three separate coasters.

“Grief,” a finger touched a glass edge, “Pity”, the other, “And Greed,” the last.

The Stranger drank them all, his eyes spinning as he did so.

“What’s your name?” The Bartender asked.

“What the f**k is yours?” Came the response.


“My name is Peter.”

In an instant the Man was falling, falling into black, falling into a deep, timeless and never ending black - he grasped at nothing as he fell, confusion echoing in a desperate holler, trailing as it went.

Behind his fall the floor closed, and another occupant found his seat.

© 2020 Ookpik

My Review

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You kept my interest all the way through. I don't often wander into story telling as I'm a poetry freak. I enjoyed your detailed writing style very much and felt satisfied when leaving. Good job Ookpik.


Posted 5 Months Ago

This was very clever. I enjoyed the details-- the appearance of the bottles, how each color liquid acted upon pouring, the grain of the bar. Thank you for posting this.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 Year Ago

Thank you for reading - really glad you enjoyed it
Seems to me a metaphor for the gates of heaven. He chose all the wrong drinks(Life paths) and the tender eagerly awaited a change for the better. When he chose love, there was a spark of hope. Apparently the love didn't work out? And was followed by grief, pity and greed. He once again strayed the wrong path in his life. All along the bartender (Or saint/gatekeeper) keeps hoping he will choose better, but he doesn't and at the end of his life falls into the open gates of hell..
The bar is empty because the path to salvation is narrow and straight. Not many people walk it.
At least that's what I saw.. Could be wrong. It was, either way, an entirely intriguing story with a perfect balance of description and dialogue as well as a brilliant aspect of mystery. Thank you for sharing.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 Year Ago

Just another take on St. Peter's vetting process, the allegory is open to interpretation but you mor.. read more

1 Year Ago

No problem, you're not in debt, please don't worry about it. Have a great day/night
Hey Ookpik, did I mention that i'm a massive fan? Loved the plot twist. Brilliant writing. I was captivated to the end.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 Year Ago

Always appreciate your visits Andronicus, hope things are well on your side of the word :)

1 Year Ago

lol world****

1 Year Ago

Things are pretty good on my side. Considering everything is upside-down and all. :)
I kinda like your sense of humor.

Posted 1 Year Ago

heh, nothing like a little nip before and after you go... I enjoyed the twist. Fun write.

Posted 1 Year Ago


1 Year Ago

Glad you appreciate it

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6 Reviews
Added on November 19, 2018
Last Updated on March 5, 2020



Vancouver Island, British Columbia , Canada

... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGkh1W5cbH4&t=33s more..

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A Poem by Ookpik

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A Poem by Ookpik

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A Poem by Ookpik

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