A bar in 2053

“When were you born?”

“Why’s it matter?”

“Oh, I don’t know. I’m curious. Come’n. Humor an old man.”

She doesn’t say “seriously, man, please.”

“Come’n,” Tom insists.

“Ya know, it used to be impolite to ask a lady her age.”

“Yeah, right… Like you remember that.”

“I was born in 25.”

“God. Really? Wow.”

“Really.” After her lips tighten to a brow raise, she turns back to the bar panel.

“You’re a baby,” Tom accuses.

“Really? Thanks. I guess.” She looks back up. “What are you having?”

“What do you mean? Isn’t it on the net?”

“No, not what are you drinking. Behind you… We don’t use seat assignments for the bar.”

“I’m having the calamari… Sliders… Are those real beef?”

“Those are for her, and they’re veggie. This place is great, but not that great.” She smiles and points to the calamari plate on the water-powered waiter’s tray, then back at Tom, then to the sliders and the lady on the left.

“I’ve seen you here before. What’s your name?” she asks.

“You mean you don’t have in one of those eye things? Doesn’t it tell you everything about me? Can’t you, like, tell when’s the last time I used the bathroom and whatever?”

“If I were your mother and you weren’t potty trained…Then, again, I’d probably just have you designed with that functionality if you were my child.”

“You’re so young, you don’t even know why that’s funny.”

“What… Determining bathroom visit probability based on facial unease isn’t new.”

Tom thinks a few things, but his stare is blank. “Forget about it.”

“Well, we’re not allowed to wear assistance here. Bar policy. It’s a part of our good-ol’days feel. Do you prefer it this way? It freaks some people out.”

“I’ll tell you what… This place’d have a good ol’ day feel if that Robocop over there was an immigrant.”

“What’s Robocop?”

“You don’t remember Robocop?”
“No. What’s a Robocop? And steward is an immigrant. He was manufactured in the US.”

“If it was the good ol’ days everything still’d be coming from China. I can’t believe you’ve never heard of Robocop.The movie. Seriously. You’ve never hear of Robocop? Robocop.”

“No, when was it made?”

“Robocop… I don’t know… late 80s, early 90s. Come’n, Robocop… Your parents never made you watch Robocop? It’s a classic.”

“Nope. What’s it about?”

“Wow. How could you live… Twenty…”

“Eight.”

“Twenty-eight years and never have been exposed to Robocop? What’s wrong with the world?”

“What’s it about? A robot that’s a cop?”

“Do you even know what a cop is?”

“Yeah, it’s like a thief or something.”

Tim burst into a short laugh. “Seriously?”

“What? I’m not wearing assistance, I told you.”

“Do you have lemon?”

“We have drops.”

“Um… I’m okay.” Tom dips his calamari into both sauces on his plate and takes a bite. “I love that you all serve forks here. There’s something about putting food in your own mouth, ya know. Want some?”

“I would. We’re not allowed to eat behind the bar.”

“Really?”

“Come’n. You’ve obviously never worked at a bar before.”

“I have, but it was a long time ago. Back when people used to watch Robocop and TVs being flat was a good thing.”

“Those things give me a headache.”

“Movies were meant to be played on flat screens.”

“Okay, Mr. Robot Cop.”

“It’s Robocop. I remember we used to talk about black and white movies like you talk about flat screens…Now, I can’t believe that black and white films are actually in style.”

“Black and white movies are vinny.”

“Vinny?”

“You know… Vinny.”

Tom gives her another blank look.

“… It’s like vintage… but, like, modernized… You’ve never heard ‘vinny’ before?”

“Excuse me. I’m going to go out back and hang myself.”

A voice interupts them. “Sir, do you need assistance?”

“Go away, Robocop,” Tom demands. Tom gives the bartender a look. “I hate these things.” He looks back at Stewart. “I was just joking. You can go now.”

“You’re saftey is important. I’m here to help if you need me.” Stewart walks back against the wall.

“They don’t put a lot of emotional intelligence in the waiters here,” she says.

“That’s not a waiter. That’s a machine with software.”

“Whatever you’d like to call him.”

“Can’t you program?”

“Of course.”

“Then, why don’t you put some emotional intelligence in there?”

“Well, Stewart’s an Apple… so he’s closed. So, even if I could, I can’t. They do sell some newer models with it. I have a friend that works at Bar 24. They have a few. But we’re more old school here. We keep it vinny.”

“There are so many things wrong with what you just said.”

“Like what?”

“I’d tell you, but your eye thingies can do that for you. Ya know, maybe you should sneak yours.” He puts US Dollars on the counter.

“Sir, um…”

“What?”

“You do realize…”

“That’s right… I’m ready to go.” He holds up the dollar bills for Stewart to see. “Everybody!” Tom yells to his unacquainted bar mates behind him. “Remember these!? We’ll never get it back… And before they confiscate mine, they’ll have to pry ’em from my fingers! There’s nothing wrong with owning paper! It’s just a symbol, everyone!” The crowd looks on silently. Tom begins to laugh, Bourbon induced. “You’re all fucked.”

Tom looks to the woman on the other side of the bar. “I was going to do this last time, but I didn’t have the balls.”

“Why would you do this? You know they can send you to an American prison for holding? Why do you want trouble?”

Tom hmphs. “Guess I’m from another era… And, frankly… I’ve had enough of this one. Plus, well, prison is vinny.”

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