by Jake Christie

a story.

As far as she was concerned, there were two kinds of bars: the kind you made a point of going to, and the kind you made a point of avoiding. "Joe's Garage" was firmly in the latter category. It was a slightly clever name, to be honest, with a slightly clever conceit to match: the whole place looked like a garage. The bar looked like a counter, with the requisite bowl of "Joe's Garage" keychains and "Bill Must Be Paid in Full at Time of Service" sign; the dance floor looked like concrete, with faux grating and faux oil stains; and the drinks all had annoying garage-themed names, like "WD-40" (black and tan), "Windshield Solution" (a blue kamikaze) and "Blinker Fluid" (an overpriced non-alcoholic concoction). If the clientele had been even half as clever as the middling name, she might have enjoyed visiting the place, if just for the novelty -- the "Can you believe I went there?" and the "You'll never believe what happened" -- but unfortunately the regular patrons had IQs somewhere between a bucket of motor oil and an broken fan belt. She only went to Joe's if she absolutely had to, and when a friend gave her a call asking for rescue, she absolutely had to.

She stepped up to the bar and scanned the dance floor for her friend, eager to get in and get out as quickly as possible. The bartender, dressed in his Joe's Garage mechanic uniform, sidled up to her. "What can I get you?" he asked.

She was starting to feel uncomfortable craning her neck at the bar alone and waiting for her friend to appear. "I'll take a Blinker Fluid," she said.

The bartender arched his eyebrows. "You know that doesn't have any alcohol in it, right?" he said.

"Yeah," she sighed. "You know what happens to girls who come here and have too much alcohol, right?"

He tried to look offended but then gave up and mixed her her drink.

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