Columbus Day Post: Down Mexico Way (From To Fetch A Thief)
I’ve been in dives before – that comes with the job – but never one as divey at La Pulqueria. Dark and smoky with walls stained brown and a floor that stuck to my paws with every step, plus a smell of human urine that was off the charts, if off the charts means the most powerful I’ve ever come across, except for that one time on the freeway when a truck carrying a load of portable toilets wrecked right in front of us.
There was one customer at the bar, slumped over it and motionless, his hand around a glass, drool coming from the corner of his mouth. We stood as far from him as possible. The bartender approached. She was hefty, wore a low-cut top and gold hoop earrings that touched her shoulders, looked kind of puffy and tired.
“Pulque?” she said.
“Cerveza, por favor,” said Bernie.
She opened a bottle, took a glass off a shelf and set them on the bar, said something in that Mexican way I didn’t understand. Bernie laid a greenback on the bar. The bartender seemed to perk up. She said something else. Bernie said something that made her laugh. Did it also make her lean forward, giving Bernie an even lower-cut view? Bernie tried and failed not to look; I’d seen that happen many times. He raised the bottle as though to fill the glass, then paused.
“Salud,” he said.
“Salud,” said the bartender.
Bernie drank, but right from the bottle. I couldn’t help noticing the fly at the bottom of the glass. Bernie was fussy about things like that. That was one difference between us. There may be others, but none came to mind at that moment.
Tags: To Fetch A Thief
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