Where Were You When

There are five people in the bar, including the bartender, which makes it about half full. I am sat furthest from the door, the back wall against my right shoulder, and a double of Nikka on the bar before me. The woman a few seats down has a beer in front of her, and has been playing on her phone since she sat down. Beyond her, leaning against the other wall with nothing to pour or polish at the moment, the bartender has his nose in a book. I would place the woman in her mid thirties and the bartender in his early twenties, but given the discrepancy in their chosen methods of distraction, I am not so sure. At one of the standing tables behind me two older men in suits, colleagues probably, hold a low mumbled conversation over a bottle of sake and two cups. It is a peaceful place, this, tucked away on the seventh floor of a narrow building on a small cross street. It is cozy, but not crowded; dimly lit, but not dark. I feel the vibration in my pocket around the same time as I see the woman’s eyes widen in response to something on her phone’s screen. And I don’t know what it is – really I don’t – but I know that it’s not good, so I raise my left hand to get the bartender’s attention and my right to drain my glass.

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