Orange Grove Chronicles Part 1
February 1st, 2016
Jon needed a drink more than ever. Today had been one hell of a day. A crazy man threw his friend off a cliff, and he had to dive off the cliff to save that friend. Plus, he saw some other guy get shot off a cliff. That was always fun. He needed alcohol.
Jon scuttled into the familiar Orange Grove Bar and Grill. He ambled over to the bar where he saw the stool he usually sat in. He plopped himself onto the stool and waited. The place looked dead. There were two guys and two girls in the back of the bar chilling and playing pool. There was another that had passed out on the other side.
The TV blared above with highlights from the Denver Broncos, and their AFC Championship win over the New England Patriots. It also displayed clips from the Carolina Panthers, and their NFC Championship win over the Arizona Cardinals. If Jon still cared about sports, he would have placed a bet on the Broncos to win that game. It was likely Peyton Manning’s last game, and that defense would likely crush Cam Newton.
Instead, his eyes went round, looking for service. It was usually around this time where Scotti would show up. He would insult her, she would insult him, and they would exchange beer and money. That was their thing. He checked his phone. The time read 11:47 P.M. Maybe she was off work tonight?
A moment later, a large black man with dreads and a goatee appeared before him. The man wore a black t-shirt and black pants, and there was a large ring on his finger. He scrunched up his face when he saw Jon.
“What can I get for you, friend?”
“Scotti off tonight?”
The man nodded. “Yup. She was here earlier.” He picked up a glass and wiped it. “Now what can I get for you?”
“Give me a whiskey sour.”
The bartender did as requested and created a whiskey sour. Jon reached into his pockets, pulled out a wallet, and revealed a $20 and handed it to the man.
“Keep the change,” Jon told him as he happily accepted his glass. The bartender watched curiously as he clamped onto the glass and swigged it. This amused his drink-maker, who extended his hand.
“The name’s Hunter. You sure can hold your liquor down friend.”
Jon slammed the glass down. He looked at Hunter and briefly shook the bartender’s hand but pulled off quickly.
“When you’ve seen the shit I have seen, you tend to drink it all away.”
“I know the feeling,” Hunter replied. “You said you know Scotti, I have never seen you in here.”
“I just got back to town a few weeks ago,” he informed Hunter. “Knew her a child. Saw her again when I got back.”
“Interesting,” Hunter polished the glass. “Appreciate the tip.”
“I need another,” he said, as he pulled out yet another 20 dollar bill. The drink cost $11, and he had already given the bartender a whooping $9 tip. Hunter’s jaw fell as he saw Jon pulled out the cash.
“With pleasure,” Hunter beamed as he went to make the drink.
The door swung open, and a woman walked in. She was an attractive woman, with light brown hair and brown eyes. Her face twisted as she walked in, almost as if someone had thrown a weight on her. She ambled toward the bar and sat down on a stool near him, but neither paid attention to each other.
Hunter returned with his whiskey sour. “Here you go, friend. I appreciate your generosity.” The bartender turned toward the woman and he gave a lop-sided grin. “Well, look what we have here, my favorite assistant district attorney.”
The woman forced a smile. “How are you, Hunter? Have you gone a few hours without breaking any laws?”
Hunter beamed. “Oh, I swear to you Megan, I have been a good boy today.”
Jon tilted his head curiously at the both of them. That was the weirdest exchange he had ever heard in his life. His hand grabbed the glass, and he took another shot of the whiskey sour. He reached into his wallet, and he suddenly realized he left the rest of his cash back at the safe in his apartment.
“Fucking shit,” he cursed to himself, but loud enough for Hunter and Megan to hear him.
“What’s wrong, friend?” asked Hunter.
“I’m still not drunk enough,” he displayed his empty wallet. “And I got nothing left. Goddamnit,”
Hunter and Megan briefly glanced at one another, and they seemed amused. The bartender grabbed another glass and filled it with whiskey and lemon and handed it to Jon.
“On the house, since you have been so generous.”
“Holy shit thanks, man.”
“Anything for such a good tipper and one who can hold his liquor. I respect that Mr.—”
“Jon. Jon Drake.”
He had not planned on socializing. But the bartender had given him a free drink. Jon always appreciated when he got free alcohol. To Jon, the only thing better than free food was free alcohol.
The woman extended her hand. “Megan Clayton. I am your future district attorney.”
He looked at her, attempting to study her face. Her expression softened when he shook her hand.
“Long as you’re better than the current shit bag who calls himself D.A.”
“I think I found another reason to like you, friend,” Hunter gushed. “That guy is a shit bag.”
“Tell me about it,” Megan added. “I’m just waiting for him to lose office, or die, or something like that.”
“He keeps going the way he’s going, then one of those things will happen,” said Jon.
Hunter and Megan both looked at him, shocked at what he said, and then they both started laughing.
Megan sat up properly. “Hunter my dear, please get me a Tom Collins. And, another Whiskey Sour for our new friend Jon Drake.”
Jon forced a smile. He may have had a shit day, but these two were giving him some joy. Maybe the world was not such a shit place? Or maybe he was just drunk? He enjoyed the company of a lawyer, and what appeared to be a criminal. But neither seemed to have a connection to Alexander Caine, so it was all good to him. And they kept buying alcohol. That was a win in his book.
Hunter prepared the drinks and then made one for himself. They all clutched their glasses and Megan again positioned herself correctly in her booth.
“A toast to the three of us, finding our ways and drinking all our problems away.”
“I concur,” Jon said.
“Amen,” Hunter added.
They all slammed down their shots at the same pace. It amazed Jon. He had found no one that could keep up with him with drinking.
“Let’s keep this thing going,” Megan told Hunter.
Hunter poured more drinks. This was so far four whiskey sours. A normal person might have blacked out. But he was no normal person. Again, Megan held her drink, while he and Hunter held theirs, and she made the toast.
“To the end of the shit-bag named Dan West. May I become district attorney and we can all have everything we want.”
“Here-here,” Hunter roared.
“I approve,” Jon added.
They all swigged their shots with aggression. After this, Jon did not remember what happened the rest of the night. He supposed he did blackout at one point, but he somehow found his way back to the apartment.
When he woke up the next morning, he groaned. It was not the alcohol itself; it was the headache. The hangovers used to be worse. Now he had gotten used to them. He walked to his makeshift kitchen and drank some water.
The previous day had started with his friend getting held hostage. It ended with Jon getting hammered at a bar with two new friends. It was a good day.