The bartender held a glass in her left hand, twirled around on one foot and grabbed a bottle of scotch off the shelf. She held the bottle in her right hand, high in the air as she poured the scotch down into the glass, every so often pumping her right hand downward, quickly, like rapid fire, never spilling a drop. She plunked the bottle back onto the shelf, added water and a twist to the glass, set it in front of a guy in a suit who thanked her, then stepped to her left and turned off the blender, just before grabbing a wine glass and a bottle of Cab.
"Being a bartender's like being a performance artist, you know?"
The front door of the restaurant opened and a group of guys rolled in, shaking off the cold of an early December night. They made their way to our side of the bar as the bartender cleared away our dishes and gave us the check.
I said, "You want to drive around and look at Christmas lights? Our neighborhood's exploded. Like Clark Griswold."
The Skimmer said, "Sure. Wonder where that all started? Putting up lights on your house?" He signed the check and tucked his wallet back into the pocket inside his jacket.
"Who knows. Probably some marketing effort by GE a hundred years ago."
I got up to put on my coat and one of the guys who had rolled in asked if we were leaving.
"Yep, they're all yours!"
We had kept their seats warm. It was our gift to them.