She Used to Have Nails

by Kim Chinquee

She stood in her closet, patrons on the other side, and through the half-door, they'd order tap for cheap and tip her. She wore a T-shirt with the bar name, shorts, and the job was easy, just pour and deliver, pour and deliver. She only worked there some nights, just for extra, and this was like promotion; nights before, she had been working tables, though that wasn't hard: remembering drinks, placing them with faces.

Here, there was a jar, where some guys dropped a dollar. Some only left their change there. The girls, she could forget about. They weren't usually very generous and with the girls, she didn't even try hard.

Her nail broke with the last one. A guy she'd served on the floor two nights before--he'd fallen over, leaving her a fifty. Now, he wasn't drunk yet. "Hi," she said to him, and he looked past her.  Behind him was a girl with suspenders.

Another guy who worked there came to check the keg. He tipped it. Then he lifted. "Hey," she said to him. He said, "Hey,” and then he came back with a full one. 

Later things got packed. People eyed and toasted. Some sang about a birthday. She took the orders, poured, took and poured, and here and there made small talk. One guy asked if she was dating anyone, and she was, but she wasn't, was, but wasn't. Was she?

There was a line behind him. She handed him a number. He put a twenty in the jar and got out of the way.