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Ms. Jeanine

Most nights, when Bill was given half an hour for consumption, he would stroll to Jean's Bar & Grill to have a beer. That's where he met Ms. Jeanine, a bartender, proprietor, and waitress extraordinaire. And since the bar was almost always deserted, Bill became her best customer by default. He would sit and watch sports highlights on the old television, the one with the rough reception and misinterpreted closed captions, nursing his one beer. In between plays and duties, they would steal glances at one another, clearly attracted enough to imagine participation in indecent physical acts. But both had known the pain of desertion, of false starts and broken lives, and hearts still on the mend; therefore, they must not risk again, or want, or desire, or hope. So when Bill's consumption time expired, he'd pay his tab, tip well, and leave, only to return to Ms. Jeanine, once again, the following evening. It was a long standing practice, one that became a habit for them both, and eventually, a tradition. And when their nightly encounters would end, Ms. Jeanine would always want to relate that "she would love to," and that she's "free after eleven," but she'd settle for another shot instead.

Story by:

P. Keith Boran

pkboran@olemiss.edu

submitted at 4:52pm

4 July 2011