It was a quiet, rainy night. Windy and dark and damp and the perfect evening to spend curled up on the sofa with a cup of tea.
At least, that's what I would imagine. I wouldn't know. I was at work.
God knows no one else was there, though. We had live music and a fun crew working, so it was OK that it was slow - gave us more time to work on small projects, do some side work, and get out of there nice and early in order to rush home and put on some sweatpants.
The kitchen closed at 8pm. The band wrapped it up, the customers went home, and we were cleaning up and getting ready to hit the road. On quiet nights, we try to get out early, to keep the payroll under control. We're thoughtful like that. So when a small group of people - who may or may not have already been intoxicated - wandered in, we were halfway through our sidework, with one foot out the door.
"Can we come in and have a drink?" one of the group asked from the door way, noting that there was someone (a band member) sitting at the bar.
"Hey there." I greeted them with a smile. "Sorry, we're just cleaning up to go."
"Yeah, we're almost out of here."
"Oh." There was a flurry of movement, a few more people had come in from the foyer, and they were looking at me suspiciously. I smiled, and went back to resetting the table.
On a quiet night, you would think we would be happy for the business. But three people who want to come in and have a beer will not cover the cost of the electricity and the 3 staff that would be required to stay open and wait for them to finish their drinks. So, yeah. No. Sorry.
They weren't going quiet into that goodnight.
"REALLY?" asked another of the threesome. "We can't just come in and have a drink?"
"We're done for the night." I was friendly but firm. No late night drinkers in an empty bar for me, thanks. Been there, done that.
They glared with eyes, all the while smiling these tight fake smiles. They were not pleased.
As they turned to go, one stayed behind."Thanks for your hospitality!" she said sarcastically.
"Good Night" I said with a smile.
And as the door swung shut behind them I muttered to myself, darkly.
"Fuck you very much!" someone called out from across the room.
"BuhBYE" chimed in another.
And for the rest of the evening, which really only lasted for another 15 minutes, we traded barbs. "Hey, thanks for your hospitality!" "I'll show you some hospitality." "Yeah, that's what your mom said last night."
Closing time. It's not for the faint of heart.
4 hours ago