Trapped at the Bar Mitzvah.
A Short-Story by William M. Noetling
Leonard and Michael sat at the bar, each drinking their favorite beer. Leonard preferred Miller Genuine Draft, and Michael was a Heineken man, though they both a hoppy craft brew every now and again. Michael clearly thought he had better taste in beers, while Leonard had never even clearly thought about which beer he preferred.
The two of them sat on their stools, drinking drafts and pawing the peanut bowls. Every now and again one of them would get up and head to the back of the bar where they had to smoke these days. They virtually never took the same smoke break together. Figured that they spent enough time sitting next to each other at the bar that a few moments alone would be a good thing. You could tell when one was angry with the other by how fast they’d go through a pack of smokes.
Floyd the barkeep would saunter over every now and again to see if the boys needed anything. They rarely did, except for a refill of their beers and their bowls. This time he asked a question, one they expected every once in awhile. Where was Dave?
Dave, the non-smoking third member of the drinking crew was at a Bar Mitzvah Leonard said.
“I didn’t even know he was Jewish.”
“So am I.” Leonard replied. “What’s it to ya?”
“Hey, no offense man, it’s the 21st century, live and let live.” Floyd didn’t like confrontation.
“Yeah, well.” Leonard snorted.
“Why aren’t you there?” Michael asked.
“Hunh? Oh I don’t know the family. It’s Michael’s Uncle’s Kid or something.”
“I’ve never been to one.” Michael said.
“Lucky you. I hate ‘em myself.” Leonard drank.
“Didn’t you have one?”
“Hell no. You gotta go to Hebrew School for like three years, and you gotta learn how to recite the bible in Hebrew. It’s torture. My folks asked me if I wanted one, and my dumb ass said ‘nope’. They sent me to frickken music school instead. Fat lotta good that did.”
Michael took a swing of beer, then said:
“Sounds like you wanted one. But you hate ‘em. How’s that work?”
“You get a FAT paycheck man. And they throw you a huge party; these days they cost more than weddings. You should see the Jews in my neighborhood try to out-do each other. Like if one has a photo-booth, the next one has to have a video booth and a candy bar. Or whatever. Spread’s usually pretty nice though. And they usually have open bars.”
“Hell yes, no wonder Dave’s over there. You know how much he hates paying his bar tab.” Floyd’s ears perked up and his eyes opened wider, almost like a dog that was just told he was going for a walk. None of those three ever paid their tabs.
“Plus some of the older Jewish girls can really get ya, if you know what I mean?” Leonard elbowed Michael in the ribs. The entire bar knew what Leonard meant.
“Still, awful way to waste a Sunday. Could be watching Football.”
“So could we.”
“Yeah, but then we’d have to ask Floyd to turn on the TV.” Floyd dutifully got up and turned on the TV, and then sat back down on his stool. The fuzz finally coalesced into a blurry picture through which you could almost tell a Football Game was happening. It appeared that there was a player dressed in red injured, though neither barfly could tell.
“Who’s playing?” Dave said.
“When did you show up?” Leonard asked.
“I thought you were trapped at a Bar Mitzvah.” Michael added.
“Whoever said I was trapped? It’s not like they locked the doors and wouldn’t let us out until we spoke a brucha.”
“Can you imagine?”
“Being trapped at a Bar Mitzvah? Like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, only you’re trapped at the worst Bar Mitzvah ever. Every time you heard the hora you’d want to stab your ears.” Dave laughed at his own joke. Leonard joined in, but Michael didn’t really get it. Two against one, that’s the way it was. The teams changed, but the paradigm never shifted.
“After awhile chopped liver and hummus would make you want to puke.” Leonard said.
“Uch, can you imagine?”
“Though, the open bar would be nice.”
“What if they didn’t have an open bar? You said it was the worst bar mitzvah ever. Maybe they only had Manischewitz?”
“What’s that?” Michael asked.
“Kosher wine.” Dave responded. “It’s vile. Reminds me of Passover when I was twelve and allowed to drink at the Seder. I got totally blitzed and had to lie down in between the four-questions and the ten-plagues. My Grandmother was pissed.”
“Yeah, that stuff will get you.” Leonard added. “And at Passover you drink like four glasses of wine BEFORE you eat dinner. It’s like they want you to just say ‘forget about the food, let’s get drunk.’”
“Exactly.” Michael said. “Let’s get drunk.”