In red neon cursive "BAR" glowed in the afternoon shade. Before pushing the door open, he respectfully unrolled the sleeves of the striped blue Oxford down to his wrists concealing the faded lines inked into his skin. The humidity outside permitted a less formal approach, but the small brass sign on the door clearly . . .
Getting to the airport was easy. Elevator to sidewalk. Sidewalk to subway. Subway to airplane. It was a dance and he knew all the steps through repetition. He waltzed through his preferred security checkpoint and made it to the assigned gate in record time.
He preferred a window seat if it was a short flight, like today, . . .
The lock released with a loud buzz and he pushed the heavy outer door inward. He couldn't exactly remember which apartment his friend lived in but he was mostly sure it was on the third floor. Seeing as he took a cab all the way here he figured he might as well climb the stairs instead of riding the elevator.
When he . . .
The bartender didn't seem bothered by his request for a spoonful of absinthe in his martini. Normally he took a martini as any sensible person would: gin with a touch of vermouth and a squeeze of lemon oil to garnish. Today, however, he was in the mood for something slightly different.
To anyone looking at his drink . . .
The time had come. It was do or die. If he dawdled it would all be a waste. The pearlescent liquid winked at him in the bottom of the straight sided crystal glass. "Goodbye."
No longer flirting with freezing temperatures the drink had grown-up. Mellowed. Aged. He remembered only ten minutes ago when it was fierce . . .
He looked over the bottles behind the bar. They had multiplied since he stocked them last, but that was a long time ago. He was a patron now and the last drink of the night was always tricky. Through experience, he had learned what worked for him and what did not. As much as he enjoyed a whiskey before bed it never helped him come . . .
Throughout the years the methods had come and gone. Different bottles. Full to empty. He steadily searched for perfection. Each part of the drink had been examined with the strictest scrutiny. It was his favorite ritual.
The pieces of ice made his fingers look magnified as he held them. A swift smack with the back of a . . .