[Please be advised this post contains strong language and graphic content – yes, more so than the usual. Reader discretion is advised.]
Dinah and Beth sat at the bar, reeking of Chanel No. 5 and sipping their chardonnays. The Devil’s Cup wasn’t their usual watering hole but they hadn’t had a drink in hours and all the shopping they’d done had left them parched.
The blue collar regulars that happened to have a weekday off sat in various alcoves around the dank establishment, staring on in open disdain. A burly bartender serving the friends sported a surly scowl, a bushy white beard and suspenders over his plaid flannel shirt.
Dinah and Beth barely noticed as they preened and squealed at one another.
“Can you believe what a bitch Sarah is,” Dinah asked. “I totally saw Brad first.”
Beth agreed, “I know, huh!”
“He’s ugly anyways,” Dinah continued, “but totally loaded.”
Beth emphatically nodded as she gulped down another swallow of her cheap wine.
“Oh my god. This tastes like shit,” she complained before upending the last of the contents. The bartender looked up from where he dutifully polished the end of the bar.
Dinah wasn’t listening.
“She’d better get him to take us to Maui with them. She owes me that much for letting her have him,” she whined.
Finishing her chardonnay, a wet belch erupted from Beth’s gloss covered, artificially-inflated lips. She giggled obnoxiously.
“You gross bitch!”, Dinah laughed.
“Bartender, another glass of your shitty wine!”, Beth bellowed, awkwardly waving the empty glass above her head, just in case he hadn’t heard her screech.
The bartender, easily twice their size, uncorked the bottle to fill another glass. “Comin right up, ma’am.”
Beth and Dinah snorted and laughed, pawing each other with brightly painted acrylic fingernails. The barkeep delivered their next round in short order.
The women immediately resumed their keening discussion, only pausing to swallow mouthfuls of their bitter drink. They didn’t notice the rest of the patrons staring at them in contempt, or the furrowed brow of the bartender as he glared in deep concentration.
Dinah cut off whatever banal half-thought her counterpart was spewing, “We should totally go get a mani-pedi!”
Beth’s face lit up as if she’d just re-discovered botox. “You’re a GENIUS!”, she squealed in delight.
The bartenders face was covered in sweat as he continued to bore holes through his two loathsome customers. His thick frame shook slightly from exertion.
“Afterwards we should go get our tan on. Sarah is throwing a pool party at Brad’s this weekend and I need to look hot,” Beth planned aloud.
A vein clearly pulsed form the barkeeps forehead.
Dinah circled the rim of her glass with a perfectly manicured fingertip.
“I’m going to fuck Brad at the part–”
Just then Dinah burst into a raging ball of flame and wailed in agony. Beth joined the chorus as the sleeve of her blouse caught fire from the proximity.
The scent of charred flesh quickly replaced the scent of stale beer, as oily black tendrils of smoke billowed to the vaulted ceiling. Shrieks of agony echoed off the high walls and mixed with the soft twang of country music playing softly from a jukebox in the back.
Dinah toppled to the hardwood floor and flailed wildly in the center of the inferno. By this point, Beth’s extensions were aflame and she fell to the floor to roll about, inadvertently bumping into the writhing torch that was her friend and setting the rest of her clothing ablaze.
A wiry man in the corner grabbed a fire extinguisher from the wall and approached the now charred circle of flailing limbs and melting jewelry. When a figure rolled too close to a table he would quickly kick them back to the ring of fire.
The rest of the men in the room gathered around the bartender, who hunched over the bar, panting from exhaustion. They roughly patted him on the back and offered their own variations of gruff attaboys.
Looking up, the barkeep appraised his handy work.
He caught his breath for a moment and said, “The customer ain’t always right,” another heaving intake of air, “because the customer is on fire.”
The crowd exploded into laughter as the lumps of charred socialite finally stilled.