“Remember this,” Lily slurs, waving her beer bottle at me and squinting with the enforced concentration that only the truly hammered can master. “There are two types of men.”
I nod; I’ve heard this rant before. I drain my beer and look around to see if our next round is coming. The music is so loud and the bassline so oppressive that I can feel it reverberating in my chest. I make eye contact with the dark-haired waiter; he treats me to a crooked smile.
“Hey! Little sister, pay attention!” She clicks her fingers at me, sensing she is losing her audience. “I am older and wiser and I will tell you all you need to know about men.” She over-enunciates the word men, imbuing it with layers of meaning that I am really not in the mood to unpick.
I try to distract her by gesturing at the hot waiter, approaching with a tray of goodies. “Look Lily, more drinks!”
“We didn’t order all that.” She scowls at the tortilla chips and dips that he is unloading onto our table.
“Tex Mex happy hour. Chips, dips and tequila shots with every beer until eight o’clock.” He flashes me another wonky grin before departing.
“Woo! Tequila!” Lily reaches for a shot. “What?” she adds, when I hesitate.
“Tequila? Doesn’t it taste like…” I raise my eyebrows. “You know?”
She looks at me blankly until understanding dawns. “Oh!” Primly, she adds, “Well, I’m sure I don’t know.”
“Yeah, right.” I reach for mine and try not to grimace at the salty aroma.
“I don’t! I’ve never tasted…tequila.” She laughs heartily at her own joke before downing it. “Now, I was telling you about men.”
I sigh. “Lily, please.”
“Look, look, look, I’ll show you.” She lines up the dips. “The salsa here, he’s your bad boy. Red for danger, lots of spice, lots of flavour.” She scoops some up on a tortilla chip and feeds it to me. “Delicious, huh?” she demands, a gleam in her eye.
“Hmmm.” I figure it’s easier just to go along with it by this point. “Yummy.”
“Whereas the guac, he’s your nice guy.” She digs another chip into the creamy guacamole. “Not so hot, a bit less flavoursome.” She winks at me. “But he’s got hidden depths. And he’s reliable.”
I taste it and nod along. “Also delicious.” I look over to the bar and smile at the waiter, who is watching us.
“So, which do you pick?”
“I don’t know, I thought you were teaching me.” I shrug. “Which one was Toby?”
Lily shudders at the mention of her ex and swigs her beer. I slip off my stool; I’m ready to find out which one the waiter is.
“Hang on, I’ve got it!” Lily grabs my arm. “Toby’s sour cream. He’s bland, tasteless and adds nothing but fat.” She stabs a chip into the flaccid whiteness. “Go on then, go find your own saucepot.”
I smile. “Well, as long as you’re not bitter.”
Emma Robertson (she / her) is a dance tutor and writer from London, UK. She has recently been published in Eucalyptus & Rose, Idle Ink, 101 Words, Free Flash Fiction, and Café Lit. She has been longlisted by Cranked Anvil and has upcoming pieces in Fudoki Magazine and the Pure Slush Lifespan: Friendship anthology. Twitter: @emmadancetrain