I used to work in a bar/restaurant called Roosters in Kiln, Mississippi. (pronounced "kill" and often spoken with "the" in front. Like "I live south of the Kiln", though that article isn't officially a part of the town's name.) Roosters was one of the only restaurants in the small town. The only other one I can think of was a bar called "The Broke Spoke" which was famous in two ways: for being the setting of many high schoolers stories if they owned fake IDs or knew the "right" people, and because The Broke Spoke was frequented by Brett Favre, NFL quarterback who owned a home off the bayou a farsee away.
I was a bus girl at Roosters and worked under four different waitresses that were all thin bottle blondes with skin like stale vinyl. They cursed and smoked in the hall between the restrooms and the cigarette vending machine. Roosters had a gravel parking lot and a corrugated metal roof, but was one of the nicest restaurants in the county. It had two rooms for customers: the main dining room with a grand piano on a stage in the middle and linens and candles on the tables, and the bar area, which had a black lounge singer named Georgette who a voice like velvet in surround sound. I like working the bar because Southerns like to get soused and when they get soused they have a hard time counting out an appropriate tip. Course I only got 10% of whatever the waitresses got, but I'd make out with a good hundred bucks on a Friday or Saturday night.
Though I never served booze as a minor nor was a drinker myself, I got being able to predict the kind of drinks people would order just by looking at 'em when they walked in. The men in jeans with bronze belt buckles would usually order whatever was on tap or a bottle of bud. The ones in business suits would loosen their ties and order "whiskey straight". Women rarely came into the bar area, but when they did, they usually ordered vodka or gin martinis. The just 21 girls usually wanted a mudslide or a naughty root beer or screwdriver, because they weren't used to the taste yet. Either that or a Sex-On-The-Beach just so they could snicker when they said the name. In the restaurant Champagne and red and white wine were served with the seafood menu.
It's been close to 15 years since my short time at Roosters, but sometimes I still find myself wondering what that stranger across the airport, who is all in black except for wisps of thin red hair poking out of her beret, would order at Roosters. Or that colleague who shows up with spit up on his lapel every morning. Or that woman down the street who has limbs like pulled taffy and a perpetual frown even before her father passed.
And I always wonder...
...if they'd be the one to order a Coke.