Work Hours

This is in response to Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie‘s wordle prompt, which can be viewed here. 

The Stygian lived up to its name. Though, Jacob doubted, not in the way its owners intended. The building’s front advertised its name with technicolor neon, casting the sidewalk in red and orange. The owners had probably hoped this would bask a line of eager young dancers in flame colored light, a hint of infernal fun to come. But there was no line, and it was already a quarter to midnight.

Security work was easy and mostly involved standing around being big. That wasn’t a problem for him, he was a big guy. Jacob usually liked his job, but that was before he’d started at The Stygian. It only took a few hours for the loud silence under the thumping music to grate.

The few guests slouching at tables like puppets with their strings cut were not giving anyone trouble. Jacob decided to go patrol the bar. It wasn’t allowed, but the neither was his phone he’d been on all night.

Britney hid a smile as Jacob scowled away the patron who’d been unsuccessfully attempting to chat her up. “Hey, is it as slow all the way over there as it is here?” She asked. Chelsea, one of the other bartenders slipped past her and snapped Britney’s bikini top. Britney shrieked and caught the straps deftly. Jacob politely looked away while she secured the ties.

“Yah.” He looked towards Chelsea who was taking shots. “That happen a lot?”

“She was getting me back for earlier. We have to do something to keep ourselves entertained, and it’s tempting in these things.” Blonde bangs flipped in front of her eyes as she looked down pointedly at the bikini and schoolgirl mini skirt all the bartenders wore.

Jacob hoped his expression was sympathetic and made sure not to stare. “The hell theme is pretty stupid.” The bartenders were supposed to represent lust and there were other even less than subtle themes thrown haphazardly around the club.

Britney nodded. “Especially as it’s called The Stygian.” She pulled out two glasses and Jacob winced. Britney couldn’t make a whiskey sour to save her life. The owners hadn’t sought skill when they’d hired bartenders. This resulted in a lot of good looking, but inept, girls trying to push razorwine.

She was already pouring though. It was rare for Jacob to like the people he worked with. He was willing to knock back an acrid drink or two to keep a friend. “Why?”

“Huh?” She asked and pushed the glass over to him.

“Why is it weird to call it The Stygian?” He looked over the cold, almost empty club. “Hours of this kinda feel like hell.” He picked up the drink and took the smallest gulp his ego would allow. He felt the liquid all the way down.

“Well.” Britney sipped her own drink and frowned at it, as if she hadn’t expected it to taste the way it did. “Stygian refers to the river Styx, which led and bordered hades in old mythologies. But hades is an underworld, but not necessarily a hell. So the devil horns and fire motif don’t make sense. So …you’re right, its stupid.”

Jacob was interested enough that he could almost ignore the taste the drink left in his throat and torsion suddenly in his stomach. Britney was a horrible bartender. “Oh. That’s pretty cool.” He wheezed a little.

She grinned and downed the rest of her drink. “Yah.”

“How do you know all that?” Jacob asked.

“I read a shit ton of mythology as a kid.” Britney said. “Still do. It’s pretty neat, I could tell you more about it if you wanna hang out after this.” She looked at him from beneath thick black eyelashes. “If you’re not busy.”

Jacob finished the drink right there. “I’m not busy after this.”

“Cool.” She said.

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