“Are you sure that thing isn’t too big?” asked Jenny as she tied her barmaid apron around her low-slung, barely excusable replica of a kilt. She eyeballed the thing that Drew held in his hand.
He shrugged. “I found the biggest one I could that will still fit into this damn hole.”
Jenny shook her head and smirked. “You’re such a perv,” she said. She pointed to the speaker. “That stack, is what I mean. The cord might fit into the outlet, but that speaker stack is way too big for this room.”
Drew had spent all afternoon piecing together the ultimate sound system for the Valentine’s Eve Party for Stubby’s Tavern. He was finally pretty sure he had all the right cables attached to all the right equipment to produce maximum noise output tonight. He plugged in the main line to the surge protector and flipped the switch to “on.” He chuckled at Jenny. “Aw, you just got your panties twisted because I had to take out one of your tables.”
“Damn straight, brother, and I’m not wearing any panties,” she said, tucking her notepad and pens into her apron.
“Gross, Jenny. Come on.”
Drew rolled his eyes and walked over to the stage, picked up his vintage Les Paul and plugging it in, letting the electric buzzing sound ease over him. It was the sound of the anticipation of sex, drugs and rock and roll. The tease right before the penetration. It would not be a stretch to say amplifier feedback gave Drew McAlister a hard-on.
“I got news for you, little sis. Ain’t nobody gonna be sitting at tables in here tonight. I need you to make sure all the girls are moving the drinks fast. And I want you pushing the higher-end shots. It’s a party, goddammit.”
Jenny shook her head and smiled at Drew as she returned to her party-prep duties. Drew and Jenny were not actually related, but he had a strict policy at work with his servers. No hanky-panky. And he had decided that having all employees of the pub call each other brother and sister helped keep that kind of thing in check. It worked for Drew, anyway.
Jenny propped open the back door leading to the alley behind the bar, and a scruffy, three-legged dog ambled inside. “Hey, Stubby,” she said, leaning over to give the mutt a scratch. “Your boss will find any reason to party, you know that?”
“Don’t need an excuse,” Drew muttered. “This is your bread and butter, too, I might add.” And with that, Drew tore into the first chord of “Sunshine of Your Love,” which, Drew believed, despite its dippy title, was the fucking best guitar riff of all time, in his humble opinion. And not just because it was one of five classic Clapton songs he knew how to play with his amateur guitar noodling.
Stubby, whom Drew believed was a mix of terrier and who-gives-a-shit, ran up to the stage and barked at him, letting him know he had company.
The members of Black Dog, the Led Zeppelin tribute band that Drew had booked for the evening, had parked in the alleyway and were starting to unload their gear. Drew stopped dicking around on stage and hopped down to help the guys get their gear set up, then went back to his actual job of running a brew pub.
He pulled out the blackboard sign from behind the bar, grabbed the chalk and gave it an update for the night’s offerings.
Saint Valentine Red Ale
Big V Strawberry Cider
Cupid’s Butt Stout
Sloppy Seconds Lager
Drew’s brews had won so many awards for the town he could pretty much call them anything he wanted and nobody would say a word against them.
Except maybe that witch from across the street, he thought, as he and Stubby went outside to slap the sandwich board onto the sidewalk. In reality, it was an excuse to steal a glance at Kava. The little coffee shop, owned by the hottest of those freaky chicks from that place up in the woods, was bustling with activity. Good. If the coffee lady had an event going on across the street tonight, it would only mean more customers for him, too.
“OK, Stubs, you hang out here and charm the dinner crowds and do your thing. Give me a paw, hype man,” Drew said. Stubby gave him a doggy handshake and sat in his spot next to the sandwich board. “Good boy.”
Drew and the witch, Alice, had never exchanged real face-to-face words before, but he had seen her at downtown chamber meetings. She, and her penchant for never wearing a bra, was the only thing that kept him from falling asleep at these boredom fests. Why did they have to have meetings to plan things that could easily be planned via email? And why did they have to meet in the mornings, at a coffee shop full of over-caffeinated town boosters? Not the favorite scene of Drew, a dedicated night owl who didn’t much care for coffee or sunlight. Whenever Drew and Alice had exchanged glances, it was usually a result of her seeming annoyed with him. Whether her annoyance stemmed from the look of his ball cap pulled down tight over his dark sunglasses, or because he slouched in his chair and stayed in the shadows, he didn’t know. But he kind of liked that annoyed look on her face. She made annoyed look sexy. Which worked for him, as he was pretty sure he was good at making annoying look sexy.
Alice had also given Drew the impression she was stuck up. He had seen her looking over at his bar with a snooty expression on her face, rolling her eyes at his crude signage.
Drew had often wanted to ask her what her problem was, but she always swirled around with a flourish of those layers of skirts. Fine, he would think. March back into your own little world of overpriced coffee and of figuring out new and different ways to charge people money to see a bunch of moldy old buildings they called a “living history museum” on the top of some creepy hill in the woods.
He dusted the chalk off on his jeans and watched Alice wiping down tables across the street. She was leaning over in her white, flimsy peasant blouse, and he could see the tops of her breasts jiggling around seductively as she cleaned. He may not care for her attitude, or that of any of those weirdos, but damn. He sure did appreciate those peasant blouses.
Not that he was at all interested in anything Alice did with those museum chicks they called “The Sisters.”
And not that he would care to watch whatever it is they did up there on Colony Hill.
Well. Maybe just a little.