A Taste of Nothing

Ale was an icebreaker. The good ones asked me if I wanted another–the rest bought me what they thought I should be drinking. I only took on the good ones.

Dark brown liquid currency. It’s a buy-in. A down payment. The lifeblood of the game. Buy a girl a drink. You know she’s a professional. Buy her a drink, then she’ll ask if you want to get out of there.

Can I buy you a drink.

If you can afford it. Dont go out of your way.

I can afford it. She’ll have a moscow mule. Old fashioned here.

The bartender brought me an ale. Guy looked at it and almost said something, until I thanked the bartender by name. Big smile. Guy didn’t like that.

Said I was gonna buy you a moscow mule. You can pay for the beer yourself.

Sure.

He went away, to one of the other girls. The girl accepted the moscow mule with a chiclet-toothed smile. Maybe guy wanted a specific taste on his girl. Didn’t matter. Mouth would be dirty by the end anyway. Took a lot of lime juice to clear it away. There was always that thick musk hiding in the pockets of your gums. When you burped you could taste it again and sometimes you threw up.

Another man sat down at my side.

Buy ya a drink?

Please and thank you.

A girl with manners. I’m charmed.

He looked at my beer, which I was just draining. The bartender came by again.

Yeah I’ll have a big rock. Or two?

I nodded. The bartender nodded back and brought us two ales.

One of the good ones. The man clinked his bottle to mine. I put the rim to my lips and thought about what a clean mouth used to taste like. Not listerine or lime juice or even ale. Nothing, maybe. Tasteless saliva. Liquid air. Just nothing.

I gave the man a chiclet-toothed smile and asked him his name.

John, he said.

 


 

Day 148’s three random writing prompt categories were, “Lifeblood,” “Ale,” and, “A prostitute.”

Different from my usual stuff, but I like how it came out.

– H.

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