by Eric Shun (エリック旬)
illustrated by pearljamz
One Christmas Eve (and coincidentally, on his 23rd birthday), Norton found himself in a bar a lot smaller than the ones he usually frequented after his shift. This one was the size of a tiny outdoor shed, much too small to be a bar, really. He took his seat by the bar, ordered a Seven and Seven on the rocks, watching as the bartender expertly mixed Seagram’s Seven whiskey with a can of ice-cold 7up. This was a classic bartender tending to a classic bar. There was no disco ball, no loud thumping music. The bartender was dressed in a crisp dress shirt, his black vest wrapped around him with vintage flair. Under the dim light of the suspended lamps, Norton could see he was the only customer here. The bartender discreetly focused all of his attention on Norton, eyeing his police uniform, his badge, and the pouch on his side that held his heavy gun.
Norton stifled a laugh. ‘He probably thinks I’m checking out his bar, praying I won’t cite him for safety code violations.’
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