It was a very rough day at work. Instead of working 8 hours, I put in 12. Countless deadlines, aggravated clients and misguided negotiations boosted my stress levels beyond tolerable levels. By the end of the day, though, everything jelled and worked themselves out to everyone’s satisfaction. But my nerves were still shot.
On the way home I stopped at a bar for a drink. The mood here was festive as a live band played its string of contemporary hits. I sat at the counter and saw dozens of bottles on the shelf along the mirrored wall behind the counter where the bartenders worked. Curiously, there were also lit candles along the bottom of the shelf.
A bartender walked up to me and placed a coaster on the counter in front of me. “What can I get you?” she smiled.
“I’d like a Bloody Mary, please.” I replied.
The bartender leaned forward and said, “I’m sorry, it’s really loud in here. What did you say you wanted?”
“Bloody Mary,” I repeated.
“One more time?”
“Bloody Mary!” I shouted.
Suddenly the candles behind the bartender began to float as bottles began to fall off the shelf. The entire bar fell silent as the lights began flickering. All eyes were focused on the mirrored wall that was now trembling and shaking to the point where it almost looked ready to break. Suddenly a ghostly woman with deathly pale skin and long black hair leapt out from the mirror with her hands trained on my throat.
As I lay on the floor weakened by the attack, I could see the bartender take a piece of chalk and draw a diagonal line over four short vertical lines on the chalkboard behind the counter.
“That’s the fifth time tonight,” she announced. “Now taking bets for number six.”