I am feeling a bit overwhelmed today with life stuffs…praying to my God for strength. Until, I realise his grace is enough for me, I am not sure the creative juices are flowing…therefore, I will leave you with the first chapter of a novel I am writing- this is a first draft so be gentle:
Dorian’s view of the world was skewed. It was understandable since he could not remember a time when an authority figure was not deferring to his suggestion, asking for his advice or praising his insight. What compounded the issue further was that Dorian only recently got his driver’s license and is yet to have tasted a “cold one”. In fact Dr. Dorian McFarland is very much aware of his condition as he has a PhD in psychology at the ripe age of eighteen.
It was because of this that Dorian was more than qualified to analyze his present predicament. The clinical term was depression but as he would tell you, these days that could mean anything from teenagers trying to score narcotics to full blown suicidal patients that require monitoring. For him a better word would be apathy. Dorian was just disinterested with everything.
His theory was that it all happened too soon. Enjoying the stages of childhood and adolescence before embarking on the responsibility of adulthood provides proper grounding that Dorian missed out on. Dorian’s dad had died before he was born on some forgotten war front but his life insurance left more than enough to take care of the family he had left behind. However, the money could not replace the man that had been the center of Catherine McFarland’s life especially when she was eight months pregnant with her firstborn. As a result, Catherine was busy trying to put her shattered life back together for the first few years of Dorian life. So it came as a blessing to Catherine when her little baby was way ahead of the pack… in everything. Dorian was speaking by the time he was eight months and he was only two when he was reading his own bedtime stories. Suffice it to say, Dorian was a genius with an IQ way above 185 and although they had the money to ensure he could get the education he wanted (and did), his first patient was ultimately his mother. In fact, helping out Catherine was the reason he pursued psychotherapy.
And now, his mind, which thrust him into the world of adulthood before he was even five, had betrayed him. On the upside, Dorian felt it was now time to take a break. As a psychologist and not a psychiatrist, he had always preferred therapy to medication and his fascination with people required him to find a solution that still allowed him to fulfill his need to observe people and occasionally solve their problems.
That was why Dorian was outside McLarren’s in the rain talking himself into going in as he clutched the help wanted poster. A fair amount of talking was required because beside the whole depression thing, Dorian was underage; however he was pretty confident that his appearance and comportment would convince the proprietor. Despite all his reservations, Dorian was convinced that being a bartender was a low stress job that would allow him interact with people and manage his condition without his brain being medicated into submission. He rationalized the criminal aspect of his decision as a necessary evil to prevent his depression from escalating to suicidal tendencies – proving that psychologist fall prey to all the follies of the mind.
“Are you coming in? Or maybe you are not wet enough yet.” asked the bald man with the wire rimmed glasses who was holding the door open. Dorian raised his head, taking notice of the rain for the first time, and said, “Yeah in a minute just working up the courage for this interview.”
“Oh you best be prepared the owner is a real ball buster.”
“Actually, I heard that he has everyone fooled. He has a gruff exterior but inside his all mushy.”
“Ha ha ha! Never heard that before. No need to be afraid kid you are off to a good start. A bartender needs to be able to make conversation and a good joke always wins people over. I’m Bob McLarren. The owner. Come in kid let’s talk.”
Dorian stepped into the bar and said, “Thanks. I guess we have moved passed why I’m here. Let me be upfront with you I have never done this before.”
“And what exactly is it that you haven’t done before: interviews or bartending?” asked Bob.
“Bartending.” answered Dorian.
“Well anybody can pour a drink. In this bar you need to know the patrons. You need to remember names and faces, what people like to drink, the stories they want you to remember and the ones they want you to forget. You know how to have a conversation but real bartending is listen and observing. People come here to unwind yes but they also come to unload. But I think you will be fine…you already got me talking and that’s an achievement”
“So I got the job. That was a lot easier than I thought it would be.” Dorian injected.
“Part of being a bartender is sizing people up. And we both need each other. Now look around while I get the paperwork…my daughter Alise usually handles this part…I’m terrible with paperwork.”
It seems Bob was more astute about people than Dorian initially assessed as his comment implied he had picked up more about Dorian’s state than he let on. Dorian concluded that Bob probably could teach some of his fellow professors and former colleagues a thing or two.
Dorian took a slow circle around the pub before strolling closer to the bar.
At first glance the bar felt simple and understated but a closer examination showed the detail and craftsmanship of the wooden fixtures and furniture. Walls were a dark earthy green that appeared embossed and coupled with the dark brown wood gave a comfortable earthy tone that made people feel at home. As Dorian approached the bar, he noticed that the place was old but spotless. It spoke to the care and attention Bob paid his bar and his customers.
“I’m not really sure about what documents we need…we can figure that out later with Alise…I just need you to fill out the employee form and show me your ID.” Bob said as he returned from the office. “Let’s get this done so I can show you the store and maybe even a few cocktails.”
Dorian handed over his driver’s license smoothly and took the form back to the bar to fill out.
“Just turned 21 a few months ago and already decided to work in a bar huh…ha ha ha.” Bob joked.
“I will much rather be earning money pouring the drinks than spending money drinking it…Can I get back to you on references?” Dorian replied.
“Hmm…yeah sure we will sort all of that later. Let me show you the store. I carry the finest whiskeys in North America.” Bob said as he handed back Dorian’s ID.
Dorian returned the completed form to Bob and they proceeded to the back room.
“Hey Bob! I know it’s pretty early on a Sunday morning to be getting a drink but I’m half up shit creek and my paddle is broken…Lauren is screwing my boss and I’m most likely going to lose my job and my kids.” said a scruffy man in a wrinkled brown suit as he barged into the bar. “Oh you have company…um…maybe I should come back.”
“Nah Clarence have a sit…I will fix you up a glass of 12 years Powers John’s Lane. This is…umm.” Bob looks down at the form. “Dorian…the new bartender…he starts Tuesday. We will start you off in the deep end, 6 to 12 shift…it’s sink or swim kid. Alright Clarence let me see the kid off be right back.”
Bob and Dorian retreated to the exit and Bob addressed Dorian in a lower tone, “Guess we will reschedule the tour. Alright see you Tuesday ki-…sorry Dorian.”
“Hey it’s alright… if the shoe fits right. Thank you for the opportunity…I needed this.”
There was a brief awkward silence as Dorian acknowledged Bob’s magnanimity. Bob looked at Dorian pensively then chuckled.
“You’re going to be fine here… kid.” Bob said as he squeezed Dorian’s shoulder just before he walked out the open door, “give me a call on Monday if you can’t make the shift or something comes up.”
Dorian stepped into the clear light of day as the Sunday morning shower was spent. He left Bob to hurry back to his customer as he had reached the limit of his ability to fake interest. He was placing a lot of hope on this hair brain scheme so he needed to secure all the other components, like a new apartment and even a change in wardrobe… after all he couldn’t appear to be rich. His phone buzzed again for the tenth time this morning.
“Hello Mother!” Dorian answered without checking the caller ID.
“You don’t have to answer me like that. I’m just worried about you. You haven’t called me back. Why did you leave me? When are you coming back?” Catherine barraged.
“I didn’t leave you mother…I need sometime for myself. I’m not sure when I will be back. How is Darren? And Lydia?” Dorian replied trying to segue into conversation that makes Catherine manageable.
“That’s why I’m calling you. Your step dad is driving me crazy and your sister isn’t helping matters. I need you to talk to them for me. I don’t know why people listen to you and not me.” Catherine interjected.
“I’m sorry mum I have to go…I will talk to everyone later.” Dorian said as he hung up, not listening to Catherine’s attempts to drag him back into her quagmire.
Dorian sighed as he made his way back to the projects. There were some rent controlled apartments just before you left downtown near an outreach program he was hoping he could go in for counselling. His reasoning here was two fold: not only could it help him but as a trained psychologist he could enrich the group therapy- plus he was less likely to be recognized as the teen genius psychologist. As much as the bar was his self medication, he knew he needed some outside help as well.
“Here we go Dorian. I guess it’s sink or swim.”