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Rated: 18+ · Fiction · Adult · #2245286
No Dialogue Contest Prompt Friendship

‘Ship Shape

There are kinds of friendship. Jamison found he favored the casual; where you meet new people, spend time with them, but not enough to get intimate. His favorite places for making friends were bars.

Not a heavy drinker, he just preferred the atmosphere and the people he met in them. It was always interesting to enter a new bar. On the first Saturday of the month, Jamison was scouting out new watering holes; when he was stopped in his tracks by a sign shaped like a whale, swinging from a cast-iron bracket.

In the middle of the whale was written Friend Ship Pub in Old English script. Intrigued, Jamison went in without a second thought, deciding he would test it two or three times before judging it by its sign. Not surprisingly, the décor was from the days of sailing ships and pirates.

More astonishingly, most of the drinkers were dressed accordingly. Heads turned as one when the door slammed behind him. They looked him up and down, obviously sizing him up.

He made his way to the bar that was shaped at one end like the prow of ship. It even had a figurehead of a half-naked woman. Resting one foot on the rail, Jamison looked around with interest.

When the barkeep asked what he could get him, Jamison couldn’t resist and ordered grog. The bartender, wearing an eyepatch, an earring and an anchor tattoo, asked if he wanted old mellow, middlin’ good or young raw. Having never tried it before, he decided you couldn’t go wrong with old mellow.

As he accepted the mug of dark liquid and took a big gulp, he began to smile as it slid down smoothly. Several people came up and squeezed in beside him, introducing themselves as they asked some questions. Soon he was talking to them like old friends and joining them at a table.

It was the best night he’d had in his life in any bar! When he finally staggered out, it was to hearty goodbyes and invitations to come back soon. The bartender had called an Uber for him without being asked.

The next Saturday, Jamison found himself back at the Friend Ship without trying too hard. This time he ordered middlin good grog. Finding it less palatable and with a delayed kick which he wasn’t sure he liked, he merely sipped it.

Almost immediately, he was joined by boisterous, noisy people who were pushy and too nosy from the get go. The people, like the grog, were like a storm at sea, hard to weather.

Remembering his last visit, he left earlier this time with a headache which wasn’t all grog. As he rode home, he realized middlin good drinks and people were not as enjoyable. So by the following Saturday, Jamison didn’t even pretend he would end up anywhere else but the Friend Ship. Third time was said to be a charm or a bust.

Once there, Jamison asked the barkeep, whose name was appropriately, Bart Black, if he would pour him a small tot of young raw. The minute he got it, a group of casually dressed young people joined him, joking and talking mundanities. Since this was his usual choice in people to drink with, Jamison expected to enjoy them and the grog.

How wrong he was! Jamison soon tired of the boring nature of the group, who seemed to spend more time on their phones then conversing. When he almost burned his mouth and tongue off on the raw spirits, he left his grog virtually untouched.

Jamison struggled against a feeling of mutiny before he excused himself by pleading an appointment. Nobody looked up when he left. Going to the bar to settle his tab, he felt more than ready to leave. Bart scribbled something on the back of his receipt.

With a wave, he left the pub. Taking a deep breath, Jamison read the message and grinned. Apparently, the group he found that first Saturday; the one he liked best was called the Old Mellows and met the first and last Saturday of each month.

Clearly, friendships now needed more depth for him. Just like drinks, pubs and smooth sailing.

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