Where am I? The last thing Rodrick remembered was a judge granting him early parole. Looking up to the heavens for guidance, he noticed a wooden sign. “Harold’s!” Pleased to see something familiar, Roderick entered the establishment and made a beeline for the barkeep.
“Where’s Harold?” Roderick asked as he sat on a stool – the padded black leather made him feel like he sat on a cloud. When did that happen?
“What can I get for you?” the man behind the bar asked, placing a coaster in front of Roderick.
“Whatever you have on tap is good.” Roderick cocked his head, unsure what to make of the barkeep’s hat. “Is Harold taking a day off today?” he asked, looking around for his good friend.
“Sorry, Man. I’m not sure who that is. Do you want to open a tab?” the bartender asked as he placed a glass of ale in front of Roderick.
“Sounds good. What’s your name?”
“Well, Scott, Harold – as the name on the sign says – is the owner of this bar… And… with the age difference between us, I think it’d be more appropriate if you didn’t treat me like your peer and instead called me ‘Sir.'” Roderick took a sip, two and three. It had been a while since he tasted freedom. “Another,” he pointed to the empty glass.
Scott shrugged and then raised his eyebrow but chose to say nothing. For now. He poured another glass and handed it to the stranger. “Enjoy. Sir,” he said before moving to another patron and taking their credit card to settle the tab.
Are there alcohol vouchers now? Roderick did not recognize any of the clientele, which made him want to find Harold even more. His friend would let him sleep in the back for a couple of days before he figured out where to go. Sarah might not accept him with open arms right away after what he had done.
Roderick motioned at Scott, but the bartender pretended not to notice. Instead, he waved to Harry – the owner – who just walked through the door. Oh, thank God! Scott rushed toward his friend. “Yo, this old guy over there is pushing my buttons. He’s a little… cuckoo. You mind taking over for me?”
“Well, hello to you, too, Scott.” Harry said before handing his jacket and backpack to Scott. “Can you take care of that at least?” For the most part, Harry loved owning a bar, but sometimes he wished to not have to deal with difficult patrons.
“Another one, Sir?” Harry asked Roderick, taking away the empty glass.
This one at least has some manners. Roderick nodded. “Can you tell me how much I owe?” He ironed the bills from his pocket with his finger. He hoped he had enough to settle the entire tab.
“Well, this is your third beer, so-“
“No, I mean from before, too.”
Harry furrowed his brows. “Not sure I understand, Sir. I’m sorry, but we don’t take cash.”
He might have manners but is as clueless as the other one. Roderick had been telling Harold to get help at the bar for a long time, but he wouldn’t dream of Harold hiring such clowns. “Is Harold sick or something? I’d like to speak to him and settle my debt. Just check the notebook under ‘Rod.'”
“Notebook?” Harry began to think that Scott had been right about that guy. “Harold?”
Roderick closed his eyes and inhaled loudly. He was getting tired of having to repeat himself and getting nowhere. “Yes. Harold. The owner. The guy whose name is on the sign.”
“Sir, Harold was my grandfather. He died ten years ago.”
Nothing made sense. Harold didn’t even have kids, let alone grandkids. And he was certainly alive three years ago…
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