Saturday, July 29, 2017

I'll Have a Mai Tai

Bunny did have one companion she could always count on - Bootsy her champagne colored tea cup poodle. The pup had been through all the ups and downs of Bunny's life. This afternoon she was walking Bootsy on her afternoon constitutional. Bunny found the daily exercise cathartic. She could enjoy the lovely  streets of Gallagher with the moss draped oaks. The old homes gave her a sense of being. Even though her family never owned one of these once glamorous houses, she could still imagine life inside one.

But quickly reality hit when she saw a poster in the window of Heddie's Hat Shop and Accessories for Fine Ladies. It was advertising the upcoming Jaycees Auction. One of the the grand annual events in town. Anyone could go, but no lady would ever be caught there single. Although no one would dare say anything about it in public, but there would be talk.

Before Kathleen came back to town, Bunny had been convinced that Jeb was going to ask her to the Jaycees Auction this coming weekend. In fact she had told several of her friends that would be the case. Now she had to save face. 

Apparently, Jeb did not care for her as much as she thought. Or, maybe, when Kathleen returned,  he had no choice but to go back to her. Who knows, maybe she and Jeb could meet on the side. Whatever, she needed a date for the auction this Saturday night. She was not going to sit home.

As she turned on Elm, she caught a glimpse of Parker Deuise's Land-rover.  "Hum", she thought."I bet he's available."

Bunny remembered that Parker was a regular at Dot's Dew Drop In, a local watering hole downtown. Located off Oak Street, just one more fixture in the town of Gallagher. Putting her plan in place, at 6:15 that afternoon, she was perched on a bar stool at Dot's ordering a Mai Tai. Ike was the bartender, who had been serving several generations of the town. Everyone wanted to be in Ike's good graces, knowing his position gave him access to more scuttlebutt than the Thursday Afternoon Bridge Club.

He asked her what a "Mai Tai" was. Clueless, Bunny just said, "You know one of those fancy colorful drinks with a little umbrella in it." 

Not having the time, nor the patience, to consult his 1913 edition of Straud's Manual of Mixed Drinks,  his go-to bible of libations, he got creative. Old Jake, the bartender who worked in the establishment that occupied this space as far back as before prohibition had handed it down to him. Since 1945, Ike had been relying on this book to be his mentor, his resource, and his "Rabbit's Hat" from which he could pull fancy drinks no one in Gallagher had ever heard heard of. Besides his personality of a sweetheart hidden inside a curmudgeon, he was one Hell of a bartender.

At 88, Ike's memory wasn't as clear as it once was. He knew Bunny didn't have a clue what was in a Mai Tai, so he just made her one. He added vodka to cranberry juice, then carefully poured some pineapple juice over that to which he threw in a good dose of coconut rum, and a touch of Chartreuse. The effect was a tri-colored red, yellow, and green concoction with an umbrella in it.

Bunny was pleased. "Oh, Ike, this is the best Mai Tai I have ever had." Of course it was, given it was the only one she had ever had. She only ordered it to look sophisticated since she saw someone order one in a movie. Ike had already figured that much out.

Due to her fragile system and delicate constitution, Bunny did not drink a lot, especially hard liquor. However she did not want to be found by some gentleman at the bar with a Diet Coke. Parker walked in and Ike moved to the end of the bar to meet him. He took a seat at the bar and a sip from the cold daft beer Ike had waiting for him.

Bunny wasted no time taking herself and her Mai Tai to the end of the bar to be close to Parker. "Why hello Parker. I haven't seen you in ages. Where have you been hiding?"

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