Behind At The Bar – “A Human Thing”


Introducing “Behind At the Bar”, which will detail one man’s colorful experiences working as a bartender. As you can imagine, you obtain more stories than the bible when you’re a bartender. And you meet plenty of interesting characters and have lots of crazy experiences selling and serving beer and booze. Tyler Paul plans to detail them here for us, periodically. So without further ado, here’s our first installment. 

“A Human Thing”

She was the first customer of the night.

I had served her a few times but never managed to get her name. She was older and drank imported beer – not that this matters but it is important.

She ordered a sandwich and a few more beers. We exchanged small talk. We chatted about the weather, Trump and drug use.

I could tell by her mannerisms that she had ridden down in the cocaine highway though the eighties. It was hard to tell her age, she was either old and looked good or young and looked horrible. Sometimes, you just can’t tell.

However, she was just another seat paying my electric bill. She offered to buy me a beer. So I drank one with her.

Four or Five Beers Later

It was quiet.

She ordered her forth or fifth beer and told me that back in the day five beers was breakfast.

Suddenly, she was no longer my only customer.

An old man, bald, and shapely, came in loud and proud with two more of his buddies. He talked to the woman before even ordering his drink. He put his wedding ring around her shoulder and pulled her in saying, “I hope you like men.”  How charming.

He continued, “We have a bunch more coming in.”

“I Hope You Like Men”

At first I thought their interaction was premeditated. Perhaps they knew each other – work, a coke den or another bar. But by the worry and uncomfortable face she had, it was clear this wasn’t the case.

The man ordered the same imported beer and ordered her another one as well, even after she refused, “It’s only one drink. Am I that ugly that you can’t have one drink with me?”

The woman laughed and accepted the beer. He put his arm back around her – tighter. The woman was well equipped – this was not the first time she had been in this situation.

Not the First

More came in: it was an ole’ timers’ hockey reunion, or so I was told.

They yelled and cheered. They hollered about old times. They barely tipped.

I tried to keep my eye on the only female, being a somewhat decent human. But realistically, the man wasn’t doing anything wrong.

The woman never complained to me or to the old man. She drank her free drinks and smiled. The man introduced her to some of his friends. I gave her a nod and she would nod back that she was okay.

Watch That Drink

Eventually, she called me over, “I have to use the bathroom. Would you mind putting my drink behind the bar?”

And so I did.

When she came back then man was no longer around. I gave her back the drink. She thanked me.

“I was drugged once.” She said. “It was at a bar not too far from here. ***********’s. Ever hear of it?”

I had.

“Well, I was in there one night and I went to the bathroom. When I came back the bartender told me not to drink my drink. And it’s a good thing I didn’t. My girlfriend blacked out. Good thing her boyfriend was there to take care of her. It was these Russians. They run the brothel next door. I was sure of it.”

I dismissed this notion, the Russian part anyway.

It was of no doubt to me that she had been drugged at least once. I had seen it time and time again. Often times it didn’t take pills, it didn’t take some red illegal substance – no, often times it took a good smile and a bartender such as myself with a heavy pour.

I don’t know what it is, why this happens. Is it love? Is it reluctant morals?

Whatever. She knew. He knew. The Russians knew.


And yet this was all legal of course. I suppose there is no real way to stop this; there is no real way to legislate morality.

Hell, she could have fallen for the old man and they would have been happy every after – he could go home and think of her while laying next to his wife.

I’d like to say that this was a college thing, a social media driven generational thing. But this is a human thing.


Tyler Paul
T. Paul is a local writer and mixologist from Rhode Island. Email him Follow him on Twitter @T_Paul44


  1. Good story. I went to high school with your Dad. I saw him recently at a wedding. Keep writing. I like your style and that was nice that you took care of that lady. Obvious your Dad raised a good man
    Sally Kostant

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