As I sat at the bar, relishing the cool burn of the whiskey, she sat next to me. She smelled of cigarettes and bad decisions. When our eyes met, I’m sure I felt a click in my stomach of the trigger being pulled back.

“I know you,” I said with the confidence of the inebriated. She smiled knowingly and brought a smoke out of her tiny clutch bag, the kind of purse a girl carries either condoms or small arms in. This one could be carrying both. Afraid she might not speak the native tongue local to this area, I repeated myself slower and louder than before. “I said, I know you.” She blew smoke out the right corner of her pursed, glossed lips and said, “I heard you the first time. I was just trying to remember if I’ve dated you.” She tilted her head away from me, took a drag from the cigarette then nodded. “No, I haven’t dated you. So how do you know me?”

I took a swig of the liquid courage in front of me and leaned over enough so I could smell her hair, “You’re my next broken heart.” She laughed loudly, too loudly, then drew more fire from her cancer stick, “Now I know why I haven’t dated you.” She reached into her small arms bag and laid a $10 bill on the bar. She stamped out her smoke in the ashtray and got up from the stool. Before she left, she leaned over to me and put her hand on my arm. “Let me give you some advice, sweetie. Never bring your heart to a bar.”

She walked away, grinning. I felt badly for a second then looked down at the watch in my hand. “Let me give YOU some advice sweetie. Never bring your good jewelry to a bar. ” I threw a $20 bill on the bar and hightailed to the exit opposite from the one she left by.

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