Pairs With Life - Chapter One
The rest of the night went on as normal, with the last guests having to be politely escorted out the door and put into an Uber at 11:00 p.m. By midnight, most of the kitchen and wait staff were at the bar, and by the time I was leaving at 1:00 a.m., they had worked their way to the top shelf stuff, with Chef Dan taking the lead.
“Corbett!” he shouted. “Come on, come have a drink.”
“Yeah, thanks, Chef, but I gotta bow out tonight,” I said. “I need to study for my sit.”
“What, at one in the morning?”
“No, at nine in the morning, which means no drinking at one in the morning.”
He waved me off, and the rest of the crew shouted their loud if not incoherent goodbyes. They were an obnoxious group of incestuous, alcoholic vampires, but the only time I’d ever felt the same sense of brotherhood that I had in the band was when I worked in a restaurant.
“Hey!” Andrew caught up with me at the front door, a hundred-dollar bill sticking up like a middle finger in his clenched fist.
“It’s alright. Go ahead and keep it.”
“No, dude,” he protested. “You won, fair and square.”
“So, uh, look,” I deflected, “they gave me a fat, cash tip on the way out, ok?”
“Really? How much?”
I took the hundred from his hand and stuffed it in his shirt pocket. “Enough for you to keep this,” I muttered. “Good night, Andrew.”
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I walked out into the darkness of the parking lot. On these autumn nights, the Milky Way smeared across the sky like actual spilled milk.
“You’re still the man, Corbett!” Andrew drunkenly shouted across the parking lot. “You’re still the man!”
Damn right I am. And yet, even as my arm strained to pat my own back, I knew that a far more important bet—a far more important test—was still ahead of me. And cheating, no matter how I was able to spin it, would not be an option.
© 2018 John Taylor
Chapter One is an extract from my novel, Pairs With Life, published in September 2020. Order your copy from Hurn Publications.
John has been writing about wine since 2012, but his meanderings on life began way before that.
Born and raised in San Diego, California, John moved to Los Angeles in 1982 to pursue dreams of screenwriting and filmmaking. He attended the University of Southern California, where he majored in Shattered Dreams and False Hopes, with a minor in Getting Gut Punched By Reality.
After being handed a degree in Journalism in 1987 as a consolation prize, John dove into a career in music. Because getting gut-punched just isn’t painful enough.
John muses about life and wine on Pairs With: Life.
N.B. You might also like to read other writing John's shared on Tall And True, The Road To Hell Was Built With An Allen Wrench.