Bream Gives Me Hiccups: Restaurant Reviews
from a Privileged
The opinions expressed below are of the nine-year-old reviewer’s, and do not necessarily reflect those of McSweeney’s.
The Whiskey Blue Bar
at the W Hotel.
Last night, Mom took me to a bar called The Whiskey Blue Bar, which sounds like a fun blue place but is actually a scary dark place where drunk people wear lots of make up and pretend like they’re happy by talking loudly.
Mom had a date with a guy she called her “Widower Friend.” “Widower” means your wife died and “Friend,” when Mom says it about a man, means someone rich who Mom is trying to marry. I never get to go on dates with Mom, but Mom wanted me to meet her Widower Friend because she wanted to show him what a good Mom she can be to his two daughters, who no longer have a mother.
The Widower Friend didn’t know I was coming when he asked to meet Mom at The Whiskey Blue Bar and, since I am not old enough to go to a bar, Mom said that we had to pretend to be staying at the W Hotel. I told Mom that I didn’t want to lie to the hotel people but Mom said it was okay in this case because it was just a white lie, which I guess is a lie that white people are allowed to say without feeling guilty.
Since Mom wanted to show the man how good she was with children, I knew she would be nice to me the whole night and when the man walked in, Mom put her arm around me which felt strange because she never does that and I never noticed how cold and bony her hands are.
When we all sat down, the man said, “Didn’t know you’d be taking your son here.” And Mom squeezed my shoulder again and said, “I just can’t bear to be away from this guy. I love kids.” I knew that Mom was going to lie about liking children but I thought she would probably think of a more creative way to do it.
The waitress came to our table and knelt down in a weird way like she wanted to show us her breasts. She was wearing a short black skirt and was really beautiful, except up close. She said, “What can I get you folks tonight?”
Mom said that she wanted a Strawberry Mojito and asked the Widower Friend in a kind of babyish voice, “Is that totally girly of me?” The Widower Friend smiled and blushed in a way that made me think he would have preferred to actually be on a date with a young girl instead of an old woman doing a baby voice. Then the Widower ordered his drink in a really serious voice, like it was important to get all the details right: “Dry Tanq Martini. Twist of Lemon. Stirred. Don’t bruise the gin.” The waitress nodded very seriously and I suddenly thought that it was so strange to have a place that just makes drinks. Since they only sell one thing, they have to take it very seriously, and I guess no one ever tells them that what they’re doing is not an important job.
Then the waitress showed me her breasts and asked, “And what can I get for you, little man?” Mom asked the waitress to make me a Shirley Temple, which I didn’t want because it’s named after an old little girl named Shirley, but I decided not to say anything. Then Mom said, “Mix it weak, he’s driving tonight.” And the three adults laughed even though Mom’s joke was a lie and also not funny.
When the drinks came, Mom finished hers kind of too quickly and ordered another one. The man sipped his slowly, which meant he probably didn’t like Mom, and I just tried to fish out the cherry from the bottom of my drink because I was hungry.
The more Mom drank, the more she asked about the Widower’s wife. I could tell that he didn’t want to talk about his wife because he would change the subject, but Mom said weird things like, “Did Debbie ever try Cedars-Sinai? Because my friend Joyce is an amazing endocrinologist over there.” I think Mom just wanted to show the man that she had a friend who was an important doctor but because the wife had already died it seemed like a weird thing to say. The man seemed a little surprised and I thought that maybe he was trying not to cry and then he said kind of quietly, “We never tried Cedars-Sinai.”
Normally Mom would be embarrassed for saying something so dumb but because she was drunk, she didn’t realize that she made the man upset. So instead of apologizing, Mom said, “I’ve been friends with Joyce since college. She’s brilliant. And actually very well read.” The man just nodded.
Mom said she had to go “freshen up,” which meant she had to go poop because alcohol makes Mom poop, and she left me alone with the guy. It was a little strange to be alone with him because I think he didn’t really like that I was on his date. And then I couldn’t stop thinking about his dead wife either and I just tried to not say anything about it but I got so nervous that I said, “I’m sorry that your wife died from cancer.” I knew it was the wrong to say but I couldn’t get it off my mind and sometimes accidents happen even with talking. He said, “Thanks.” And then Mom came back and I could tell that she must have pooped a lot because her face seemed relaxed.
When Mom sat down she said, “Ready for round three, Mr. Mister?” which meant she wanted to drink more alcohol with the man, but I could tell that the man just wanted to go home. I also wanted to go home but I knew that Mom wanted to stay so I didn’t say anything. But the man looked at his watch and said something like, “I’d love to stay, but the girls are probably up worrying about me,” which seems like something a normal parent would say, especially since his girls don’t have a mom. This made me like the Widower Friend.
The man walked us to our car and gave Mom a hug, which Mom kind of held for a long time even though the man tried to pull away.
On the way home, I could tell that Mom was upset with the date and that maybe she thought it was partly my fault. I could also tell that Mom was drunk because she was driving all over the highway and we almost got into an accident with a man who rolled down his window and yelled at Mom in Spanish. Then Mom yelled something mean about Mexican people and I started to cry because the man kept yelling and it scared me even though I couldn’t understand the words he was saying. Sometimes the things that are scariest are the ones you don’t understand. That’s why I’m giving The Whiskey Blue Bar 136 out of 2000 stars.
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