PREVIOUS “MOUSE” POSTINGS CAN BE FOUND HERE.
Mouse Does Stout
There is no chase scene. I must remind myself over and over that real life is not like the movies. The brave heroine does not easily move on with life after shooting a bullet that most probably killed a man. She sits on a private jet, staring out at blackness for around five hours until the jet lands on a nondescript runaway that is not part of an international airport. One side of her asks why she thought she could wield a weapon with the intent to harm when she can’t even bear the thought of eating cow or pig or chicken. The other part says because she thought it would be just like a computer game. And while not the worst part of all, she has begun to talk about herself in the third person.
I am glad for these moments of inertia, sitting on one mode of transport after another without having to give any input. In the car back to The Compound, Joe tries to talk, but I shut him down. Someday I’ll ask him how he coped in Iraq, but maybe in war it’s different. Maybe the training is different. Maybe I was an idiot to think I could easily kill.
It’s Friday night so, as is custom, we go into one of the nearby towns to “let it loose.” I don’t really drink alcohol. I’m 5’2” and 105 pounds. There just isn’t much of me to absorb it, which mean that five sips of almost any beer makes me tipsy.
Tonight they decide that Wattstone is the town, so I figure I’ll drive myself and stay in my cabin. If I actually drink, I can walk to it from there.
The guys are scattered around the bar when I arrive. Tom is sitting at the bar, drinking what I presume is an IPA, his beer of choice. The brunette I’ve noticed before and have given her the nickname “Crazy Eyes,” which is probably self-explanatory, hangs on him, her fingers tugging at the collar of his gray button down.
I sit at the bar and order the stout that’s on tap as their microbrew special. It’s served in what looks like a brandy snifter.
“Fancy glass,” I remark to the bartender, Barry. “Did you figure I needed a small helping?”
He raises an eyebrow at me. “Alcohol content,” he mutters.
I translate: Mouse will be totally tipsy, worse, probably worse.
I sip. Oh, that’s nice.
Joe sits on the stool next to me. “Be careful of that one, Mouse. Bourbon barrel stouts will knock you on your ass.”
“Hmmm. It’s nice,” I say, resisting the urge to smack my lips. “Just what the Mouse ordered.”
A blonde woman I’ve never seen before slides in between Joe and me. She’s in a fitted camisole that displays her above the waist attributes. She orders a drink then turns toward Joe, practically leaning against him. Maybe that’s because she can’t stand up straight in those stilettos.
After five sips of the stout, I’m feeling more cheerful, but warm. I slide out of my ever-present hoodie. I’m wearing a red corset that I bought for Comic Con as part of a steampunk outfit I wore.
The bartender grins at me and nods his head. “Nice.”
I frown at him. “What?”
He continues to grin and nod.
I look down. Everything’s tucked exactly where it should be. Maybe it’s because things are pushed up a bit more than usual. Ah, well.
A cute blonde guy wearing a tight t-shirt stating he’s a Washington Nationals fan sidles up to me. “Hi,” he says.
“Hi,” I say, always one for the witty repartee.
“Can I buy you a drink?” he asks.
I look at my mostly empty brandy snifter of stout. “Maybe in a few minutes.”
“Do you mind if I sit here,” he asks as a courtesy, because he’s already sat down. “I’m Charlie.”
I shake his extended hand. I’ve momentarily forgotten who I am this week. “Georgie.”
True to his word he buys me another, which I am pretty certain I shouldn’t have. But I feel so good.
He’s slides his barstool closer and is leaning into me, his left hand propped on my stool.
“You smell nice,” he says. “Like caramel.”
He’s looking down at my cleavage and then immediately isn’t. Tom’s grabbed the back of Charlie’s shirt and has righted him on the barstool. My mouth hangs open. Crazy Eyes is standing behind him with her hands on her hips.
Tom extends his hand to me. “Come on, Mouse. You’re done.”
“Wrong. I have most of my beer. Do you want to try it? It’s so yummy.” I offer him the glass but he shakes his head.
“Is this your boyfriend, Georgie?” Charlie asks.
“No. He’s a man I work with who has control issues,” I say, trying not to look at Tom, but when I do, he’s frowning at me. “What? It’s true. You do have control issues.”
“I’m taking you home to bed, Mouse.”
Ah, can’t help the cheeky grin with that one. “Do you promise?”
Charlie decides the current dynamics are not for him, especially since I have a colleague willing to tuck me in. He grabs his bottle of Bud and moves away.
“Do I promise what?” Tom asks.
“The bed thing?”
“Tom, I thought you and me were gonna hang out tonight,” Crazy Eyes whines.
Tom stares down at me, his eyes moving over me. “Put your hoodie on, Mouse.”
I know I’m being immature, but I turn away from him, back toward the bar. I look at his reflection in the mirror there and he’s looking back at me. This seems to be the only way we can see each other anymore, in reflection.