Two guys walk into a bar: a Christmas story

Our plans were set. We would leave early for midnight mass on Christmas eve.

We were 16, juniors at a Catholic high school, and in possession of newly purchased fake draft cards. And we weren’t really going to mass. Mickey and i planned to go instead to a bar a couple of blocks down the alley from where Mickey worked and conveniently in the same general direction as the church.

Dressed like little men wearing jackets and ties and displaying a shaky air of confidence, we arrived at the bar around 11 and went in through the alley entrance – just like one of the regulars.

We walked over to the bar where the bartender was busy washing glasses. There were only two people in the bar when we arrived – a man way down at the end and a bit in the shadows, and a woman about half way down. I sat at a stool. Mickey stood to my left. He leaned into the bar, placed his elbow on its worn leather edge, and glanced at me. I heard him quietly say, “OK. We’re in, everything’s cool, so far so good.”

Just then the bartender looked up at us and asked for our id.

We gave him our recently purchased draft cards.

He looked at us, then at the cards, and then again at us and with a bit of a smirk asked, “What’ll you have.”

I asked for a beer.

As the bartender started to pull my beer he asked Mickey what he wanted. Mickey answered, “Gimme a Sloe Gin Fizz.”

Just then the bartender let the tap slip from his fingers. He looked straight at Mickey, paused for a moment, and asked, “What are you, some kinda pussy!”

Uncertain of where this was going, i looked away. I turned to my right and caught the eye of the woman sitting two stools away. She was obviously listening to what was going on. She smiled, raised her glass an inch or two and said, “Merry Christmas.”

Christmas 1968