HE entered the bar at 10pm, when it had just opened and when management had yet to put on shows. But his presence was no big deal. He could wait, the managers thought, or he would have to wait. They knew him and whether he knew they knew him he had no idea. What mattered to him that night was that he was in the bar to watch and enjoy his stay.
The entertainers saw him. Those who had just come in and had walked past him did recognize the familiar figure occupying one of the seats fronting the stage. They twitched their lips, raised their eyebrows and shook their heads. There must be something about this customer that elicited this kind of reaction from the strippers. The floor managers seemed to share the same view. What could it be? Even the in-house disk jockey could not contain his displeasure the moment he saw the guest. The music in-charge, as the DJ was also called, began mouthing euphemisms directed at the latter, who unfortunately had no idea he was the target of his utterances.
One of the waiters reluctantly went to get his order. The guest said he would get a drink in just a moment and waved the server away. The good waiter winked at his fellas and chuckled as he left.
At last, after what seemed like a fifteen-minute wait, the bar folks started to put on a show courtesy of a pleasant-looking, gym-toned macho dancer of average height who danced to the tune of Usher’s OMG. And that was when he ordered his obligatory first drink, consisting of two San Miguel Beer Light bottles, which set him back one hundred eighty pesos. Between sips, he seriously watched the dance show, occasionally flashing a smile or two at the performer, and appeared glued to the stripper’s crotch, at one point when the macho dancer started taking off his white tank top. This guest was interested in the dancer’s thing.
As the clock struck 11, the bar began filling up, and it would not be long before it would be full house at this small, popular macho dancer bar. At midnight, it was difficult to accommodate new arrivals and management had to be ingenious. Strippers took turns performing, waiters were busy taking and delivering orders, managers had their hands full with regular guests who could not even table their favorite macho dancers and the masseur-cum-janitor was busier than ever, hoping to cash in on the crowd. It’s a Friday night, mind you.
While the rest of the customers continued to order drinks after drinks, including food, our first guest stuck with his first beverage order and never ordered anew – to the dismay of the waiters and managers. But then they knew it was stupid to get him to order a second round of drinks because they knew he would not do so. To the suggestion “Would you like some company”, he answered a firm “no.” Whether he was a spendthrift or not nobody knew. They always speculated he was but just could not prove it. “Hayaan mo na ‘yan! (Just leave him alone!), shouted one dancer.
The disk jockey began his mockery again, eliciting chuckles from the strippers and waiters. He was hoping the guest could read between the lines of his statements. The DJ was disappointed again but not surprised.
It was now 2am. Five hours had passed since he came in. It was time to leave. He was seen going to the restroom and, afterwards, conferring with the waiter who took his order. The cash he left was enough to cover his expense and the change, a few coins, was intended for the waiter.