Tales From the Gay Bar – ”The New Years Eve Party That No One Would Attend” or ”If You Host It, They Will Come”

Posted: August 20, 2013 in TFTGB
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The backroom of a gay bar somewhere in Scandinavia, November 2012

Four people sit around a scarred wooden table. Decades of beer dregs, hard liquor spills, sticky cordials run down the sides of bottles, soda foaming over the edge of glasses, has made the raw surface resistant to anything short of a stick of dynamite. Right now it’s taking a pounding. It is under vicious attack. It has been before, this table has seen more than you can imagine. It has lived through truly horrible experiences and it is still standing.

People have fought like mad dogs over his tabletop, they have shouted obscenities the like of which he would never have been able to think up in a lifetime. The most disgusting things have been thrown upon him, rotten fruit, oily, dirty tools, rags that have been used for god knows what. And worst of all, worse than all these terrors. Is something he desperately wants to forget. Something so debasing and humiliating, so utterly shameful even the other inhabitants of the backroom won’t speak of it for fear of Table breaking down.

He knows they whisper of it when they think he sleeps. The new coffee maker, who only arrived a week ago, already has that pitiful look in his glowing red eye. He knows, they all know. And Table knows too. Knows how they came in the backroom, their voices slurred by drink and lust, how they pulled each other close and suddenly clothes were flying through the air. A shirt landing on a case of empty beer bottles, a pair of pants on some old cardboard boxes waiting for the container. How one of them pushed the other down, down, down on his tabletop. The sweat on his back seeping down into the cracked wooden surface, the moans and grunts taking over the room. The thrusts that made Table’s legs nearly buckle, the final gasps of air before the finishing stab and the sweaty, grinning afterglow that seemed to envelop everything around.

He felt so dirty! They didn’t even wipe him down afterwards. They just left him there stewing in the warm backroom until their sin was part of him. And the shame when one of them, a week or so later, commented to the other with a grin, “I think we may have been a bit rough on it, seems more rickety”. If he could, he would have turned bright red. They put an extra screw in one of his legs and he was sturdy as ever, but on the inside he was still a rickety wreck. Broken and only holding on for dear life.

How could they?

But now Table was once more under attack. This time the culprit was a woman. He knew her well; she had worked at the bar for 4 years and had made her way through the ranks quickly. Table liked her, she always made sure he was clean and wiped up any spills thoroughly. She didn’t sit on his tabletop, the most she did was lean on him to rest her feet a bit. Table had been the work surface for many of her projects and he was glad to see many of them become successful. The woman had once yelled at someone for standing on him. He liked her! But this constant hammering she was putting him through. The tap tap tap of her pen against his grain as she argued aggressively with the owners of the bar. It was too much!

• Neomety: “But I really believe this could work. I think we could draw a lot of people!”
• Owen (Owner#1): “It’s out of the question Neo, we won’t discuss it anymore!”
• Neomety: “Owen, come on, have I ever failed you? Name a project of mine that wasn’t successful.”
• Eugene (Owner#2): “It’s not that we don’t trust you Neo, we’ve just been here a long time and we know what works and what doesn’t”
• Owen: That’s right! We have never been open on New Year’s Eve and we never will be. Our customers prefer being with their close friends at home, they won’t come to the bar.”
• Ray: “May I make a suggestion? What if we were willing to work for free if we don’t make any money?”
• Owen: “You would spend your New years in an empty bar, just the two of you?”
• Neomety: “If that’s what it takes, yes!”
• Eugene: “Well all right then. But if you don’t make any money you won’t be paid.”
• Owen: “And any decorations or champagne you will have to buy with your own money.”
• Ray and Neomety in unison: “DEAL!”

Finally the tapping stopped. The meeting over and everyone gone, Table could relax once more. Relax and try to forget.

Same gay bar, 31st of December 2012. 17:04 Standard European time

Table hears the door open, the woman turns off the alarm, the man is with her.

• Neomety: “Let’s get everything set up quickly, I wanna see the queen’s speech!”
• Ray: “It’s not for another hour, well make it.”
• Neomety: “Yeah but we gotta get the bigscreen set up and the champagne needs to cool and there’s the…”
• Ray: “Calm down, we’ll make it, just like we always do. Everything will be just like you planned it, now go count the till. Go on.”

The man starts dusting of the champagne glasses, examining them for spots or scratches. Table likes it when the humans are thorough, so many of them are sloppy and careless. This man may be all right.

Whoah! He’s grabbing Table, what’s he doing?!? Where’s he taking him? Is he going outside? Gravel under Table’s feet. He’s in the courtyard behind the bar. It’s so cold, is that SNOW? Dear god! The man has gone back inside. Has he been left to die out here? Oh, no here he comes, dragging a big steaming bucket and a rough sponge. A bath? Table hasn’t had a bath in years, and in this freezing weather?

He gets soaped up and scrubbed down and he is enjoying it immensely. So long since he had a bath! All that grime and dust and booze free from his pores, he feels like a new Table. A younger Table. The woman comes out in the courtyard. The man wipes the sweat from his brow.

• Ray: “Look what a bit of hard work will do, huh?”
• Neomety: “Like new! You know, I always liked this table, it seems so, I dunno, safe and sturdy.”
• Ray: “Let’s get it back inside before it starts to snow.”

Table is carried inside again, but he’s not put down in his usual spot in the backroom. They carry him past the shelves and through the door to the bar area. Table has never been out here. He is awe stricken. It’s beautiful, the wooden bartop seems to shimmer and the chairs are black and lacquered. Everywhere there are New Year’s decorations in gold and silver. It’s as if the whole place is a treasure chest filled with jewels and doubloons glinting in the sun. Table is in love, in love with this room, in love with the promise it whispers to him “This night will be unlike anything you have ever experienced”.

The woman starts setting the champagne glasses on Table. The man stops her.

• Ray: “Do a pyramid!”
• Neomety: “That is such a waste of champagne.”
• Ray: “Come on Neo, it’s New Year’s!”
• Neomety: “All right, but you get the bigscreen ready then.”

Table enjoys watching them work together, it’s like they read each other’s minds. The man hands the woman a dish towel seconds after she spots a smudge on a glass. The woman presses the right button on a remote before Table even realizes the man couldn’t find it. They work like two parts of a whole.

The woman silently hands the man a glass of champagne the moment the bell on the screen goes DING DING DING DING DING DING. They sit in silence. There are soldiers in dark blue uniforms on the screen, Table thinks they look silly with their big furry hats on. A woman sits behind a desk, she looks old and frail, but her gaze is strong, commanding even. She speaks, she speaks for a long time and about a number of different things, but mainly about how the people of her nation can better themselves. She ends her speech with the words: “Gud Bevare Danmark”.

The soldiers come back on screen and a song starts to play. The woman stands up looking somber and her eyes glaze over as she loses herself in the moment. The man stays seated and looks at the woman with a smile; he thinks she’s a little silly. She doesn’t even notice and as the song fades she turns back to the work still left to be done.

At eight o’clock the man unlocks the front door. Everything is ready and both the man and the woman have changed clothes. Both wear black dress pants, a black shirt tucked neatly in and buttoned all the way up and to top it off; butterflies! His is white, hers red. Table gazes at them tenderly. They have already given him so much!

Same gay bar, 31st of December 2012. 21:12 Standard European time

• Neomety: “Do you think Owen and Eugene were right?”
• Ray: “Don’t worry. Why do you always worry? You know we were right, people will come”
• Neomety: “I dunno R, I got a bad feeling”
• Ray: “You always do. Trust me, people will come”

The door opens. A guy Table has seen a few times comes in. Table knows that this kind of guy is called a bear. It’s something to do with his beard. The bear is loud! He is ecstatic and wants to dance with the woman. More people arrive; they actually flock to the bar. Table is having a grand old time. Some guy with a lisp keeps running his hand over the tabletop and saying “Mmmmm the tecthture ith amathing, feel thith Henry, the tecthure!”

The man turns the bigscreen on and there’s an old black and white movie on. It’s about some old lady, it’s her birthday, but all her friends are dead, so the waiter has to pretend he’s them. He keeps stumbling over a tigerpelt on the floor. Table doesn’t understand why everyone is laughing, that poor lady, her friends are all dead! Now the image changes. There’s a building on the screen, it’s big and it has a tower. Everyone rushes to Table, the man pours the champagne over the glass pyramid. They all grab a glass. They are all quiet, no one speaks or laughs, they all look at the screen with open, honest faces. Oh how young they all look! And then:

BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG BONG

All hell breaks loose! Everyone is hugging and kissing and shouting “HAPPY NEW YEAR” across the bar. Some are even crying! The woman’s powerful voice is heard over the noise “I would like to say: thank you all for coming. The bar will be closed for about 10 minutes, so everyone grab a glass, drink up; the champagne is on the house! And happy New Year, SKÅÅÅÅÅL!!”

They all rush into the street to see the fireworks and Table has a moment to himself. He’s slightly tipsy, he’s never had champagne before and all that is spilled is more than enough to make the room spin a bit. What a lovely evening, he thinks; I hope I get to experience more of these.

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Comments
  1. Craig says:

    You are an excellent writer, you should write a book! I <3 table :)

    Like

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