Conversations In Bars: The I.R.A.


Today’s Music: Neil Young – Keep On Rockin In The Free World

*Note on today’s post: As with everything that happens to me in a bar, this is as true as I remember it. However, unlike most of my bar stories, I was sober for this one.

Ah yes, here we are again...

Ah yes, here we are again…


It was a Tuesday afternoon when I showed up to hit on the bartender.
I’d seen her a few nights before, working the Sunday night shift. This particular bar, in a working class neighborhood, was an Irish hangout. Saturday night, the place was awash in uilleann pipe music, cameraderie and pints of Guinness.
A friend of mine brought me there. I had a blast. That night ended early the next morning at someone’s apartment, with a rum-soaked dash into the neighbor’s pool for a quick dip before the neighbor came out in his boxers to yell at us.
But that’s another story.
This is how it always starts.

This is how it always starts.


So after a bit of discreet investigation, I found out the bartender also worked the Tuesday day shift. I got there around 1 pm. The place was just about empty. I ordered a pint (mmm…afternoon drinking…) and waited for her to come back over so I could strike up a conversation.
While I was waiting, the guy who was sitting a bit down the bar wandered over and started talking. He’d started his afternoon drinking while it was still morning.

What followed was quite possibly the strangest real-life conversation I’ve ever had.

The Other Guy: Hello. Who are you?
El Guapo: Hey. I’m [name redacted].
TOG: Did they send you?
EG (looking a bit confused): Sorry?
TOG: Did they tell you where to find me?
EG: (Even more confused): Sorry, who?
TOG: Would it be easier for you if I turned around?
EG (Bewildered): Would what be easier?
TOG: To shoot me.
EG: (Lonnnng pause) Sorry man, I’m just here for a beer.
The guy makes one of those “oh, so that’s how it is” expressions. I, still bewildered go back to my beer, trying to figure out what the hell just happened.
But The Other Guy wasn’t done.

TOG: I’ve been here over ten years, but I knew they wouldn’t forget. Now with all these peace talks, I knew they’d send someone over to clean up.
EG: Listen man, I’m just here to hit on the bartender
TOG: Sure you are. I guess it wouldn’t help if I tell you about my life here since I’ve been gone…

So for the next while, we chatted. He told me stories of the old country, of his kids. He told me about the construction business he’d built up.
The drink flowed freely.
I must have opened my mouth and spoke at some point, because eventually, he realized I was too much of an idiot to be anyone’s hit man.

The evening (yeah, we were there for a while) ended when he said he had to head off. I told him I needed food. He offered to give me his construction business.
I heartily agreed.

And that was the last I ever saw of him.

I could have built my very own Assassin HQ!

I could have built my very own Assassin HQ!


And the bartender? Apparently The Other Guy scared here and she didn’t want to mess around with any of his friends.
Meh.

155 responses to “Conversations In Bars: The I.R.A.

  1. I LOVE IRELAND! Have a few awesome stories myself!

    Like

  2. Truth is always stranger than fiction, right? People make think I’m sweet and innocent-looking…but, I may have really messed with that dude given the chance. It’s fun to think about anyway.
    Mmmmm….Guiness…

    Like

  3. oops! “”Made””…up too late. Jennie creeped me out with her latest post on flesh-eating spiders!

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  4. I did wonder where this was going lol But at least I know who to ask now if I need someone done in lol

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  5. Poor bartenders. The target of my desperate, youthful lust. Trapped. Nowhere to run and hide. Underpaid.

    The drinks flowed freely or the drinks flowed for free? One is better than the other.

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    • I know of very few bartenders that didn’t do really well.

      If you’re in the right place, they flow freely and for free.
      My kind of place…

      Like

      • Do you know that I’ve never gotten a “knock.” Not ONE! The fact is that I’m not much of a drinker. Two or three and I’m done. I’ve never drank long enough to get a knock. Maybe someday… A guy can dream.

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        • Ha! I was trying out a bar once, seeing if it fit.
          Went in a few nights, two beers, head off.

          finally, I as down the third or fourth night, bartender drops a beer in front of me, says “You keep leaving before the buyback”.
          Drank at that joint for years!

          Like

  6. This is a fun read. Sort of makes me think of the first cruise I ever went on (so far only, but I will go again dangit!)
    Cruisers hit me with their fascinating life stories because I seemed genuinely interested. I was a captive audience, much like someone at a bar with a full beer in front of them (or the bartender, as someone pointed out above)
    loved reading this slice of life…

    Like

    • For years, neighborhood bars ere my natural environment. There was even a time I gave out the bar’s phone number when people wanted to get a hold of me.
      You hear the best stories in bars!

      Like

  7. Huh…mistaken for a hit man…excellent.

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  8. Do you think his stories were true or was it all in his mind? … Meanwhile, so tell us about the bartender!

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  9. Your story makes me want a Guinness. It’s 7:33am.

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  10. It’s a shame about the bartender, but
    then one hit is enough for some nights :) lol

    This is a great story Guap
    and thank you for sharing it…

    Andro

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    • Ha! the “one hit is enough” is going to be my punchline next time I tell this story!

      Like

      • I was thinking about your brief encounter with the bartender, those ladies usually have a very distinct appearance, well they do where I come from :) lol

        I enjoyed reading your story and I will be back later to catch up with some of your previous postings too. Have a great rest of morning Guap :)

        Andro

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        • When I was younger, I had weaknesses for women driving convertibles, and female bartenders.
          God bless and keep em! ;)

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          • Hey never mind the reference of being younger, those ladies still look incredibly beautiful and wear even less to entice the weak, well I have been known to glimpse the odd cleavage but I refuse to be called weak :) lmao

            Have a superb afternoon and evening Guap :)

            Andro

            Like

  11. Leave the gun. Take the barmbrack.

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  12. So YOU’RE the one who helped him escape! I was hunting that dude…

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  13. Come to a bar near us – you attract interesting peoples

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  14. Bwahaha!! A lovely story, El G. Shame about the bartender, but you’ve got a gorgeous lady now, by the sound of it. :)

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  15. “he realized I was too much of an idiot to be anyone’s hit man.”—Haha, sometimes it pays to appear dense. Sorry you missed out on the bartender though. Then again, it was probably fortuitous given you got a good thing going on with Ms. Guapola now.

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  16. I think you could call that a genuine Rod Serling episode. Hola, WEIRD!

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    • This was in teh days when we could still smoke in bars, so Rod could have easily been stuck in a corner -
      “For your consideration: An idiot, looking for a date, finds something else entirely…in the Twilight Zone.”

      Like

  17. You don’t fool me… and you certainly didn’t fool the bartender.

    But, what did he do to warrant his firm belief? I mean, for a guy to think someone, a paid someone no less, is out to kill him, he’s either got to be psychotic, or he’s got to be psychotic.

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    • He alluded to many troubles and incidents that forced him to leave the Emerald Isle, but either he wasn’t specific, or I just don’t recall.
      Sounded like he’d done well in construction though.

      Like

  18. …” rum-soaked dash into a neighbor’s pool…” =) Ah, the good old days ! =)
    Great story, sorry you did not get the business… I can only imagine what insanity you could have created ! =)

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  19. Did you ever find out what he did, that he was hiding from? :) Guapo the hit man, I like it! Better yet, Guapo the Sunday Chef Hit Man! LOL.

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  20. And you didn’t take him up on his offer of the construction company?? What is wrong with you??

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  21. You lead such an interesting life and have a great talent for writing about it!

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  22. I love this! As someone who has occasionally found herself at a bar, sitting next to someone who wants a chat when I’m not feeling it, I’ve got my new exit strategy. “Did they tell you where to find me?” oughtta do it.

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    • It took several times of him asking variations of that question to make me realize he was serious.
      And then several minutes of claiming I just wanted a beer to get him to relax.

      Like

  23. Spies before… not-guys?
    I’ll work on it…

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  24. Love your bar stories. Put the day in much better perspective. The end reminded me of the country song about beer and people ..I can’t think of it..do you know the one I mean?
    Hi TMWGITU
    What? You wrote about hitting on a bartender.. ;-)

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  25. Doesn’t every good story start in a bar? This is great :D. You should have played along though, that would have been great ;)

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  26. Guap – always take your Balaclava off when you go into an Irish Pub. Firstly you wont feel the benefit when you leave the place and secondly you won’t be confused with “Mad Dog”, “Terrier Teeth” or whatever name the freedom fighters/drug dealers gave themselves!

    Like

    • He had no idea who I was. Apparently, I have the perfect face for anonymous killings.

      And I love balaclavas. Balaclavas are cool.

      Like

      • We all have a calling! Balclavas are a throwback to me childhood and waiting at the bus stop with mum to go to school in a hand knitted one several sizes to large for me (I would “grow into it” as they used to say) so that those dark dank winter mornings were complete with me walking into lamposts, prams, bikes and being scolded by me dear old mum for being so clumsy. The fact that I could not see was not a recognised defence in her autocratic world. Happy days….

        Like

  27. Guiness. It’s what’s for breakfast. Or lunch and dinner too in the case of your story.

    You should pay it forward someday and start up the same convo with an unsuspecting guy next time you’re in a bar on a Tuesday afternoon.

    Like

    • It’s a well known fact among those in the know that a Guinness with a proper head contains all the vitamins and nutrients for a full days drinking.

      The bar I hung out in through my college years was known for bizarre conversations.
      Or for being full of idiots. it’s hard to say… ;)

      Like

  28. I like the look of your Assassin HQ. I wanted to be an assassin when I was growing up – kind of like a James Bond Ninja. It sounded cool at the time.

    Like

    • Wouldn’t being a famous assassin make the job that much harder?

      Wouldn’t mind having some of Bond’s toys though!

      Like

      • I think it would add a new level of excitement to the job (because I’m sure assassins are just as prone to job burnout as the rest of us) – think of all the fun disguises!

        I wouldn’t mind having Bond’s toys either! Or for that matter, some of Bond.

        Like

  29. As always, a tale in every pint……. u made me day by reading this, thanks.

    Like

  30. Pingback: Conversations In Bars: The I.R.A. | elroyjones

  31. Round the clock drinking- afternoon drinking while it’s still morning night time drinking that ends early in the morning, freestyle drinking, slalom drinking, endurance drinking, yay! I had to press this story.

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  32. This is hilarious, Guap. I love the way you casually tell him you’re just there to hit on the bartender! Gave me a good giggle :D

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  33. You do attract crazies, don’t you Guaps?

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  34. Never a dull moment! lol

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  35. First: Neil Young is a legend. I’m putting him on as we speak.

    I think bartenders must have the most interesting stories. Or bar goers, it seems…

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  36. I can so believe you’re a hit man. Yup. I can see it. Try to hide it, but I think you really are a hit man!

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  37. Being mistaken for a hitman is awesome! My bar conversation stories are boring in comparison.

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  38. Obviously this guy didn’t know what a taste for danger you have ;). Guap, this is a great story. It made me Irish eyes mile.

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  39. I’m just here to hit on the bartender…ha ha. I loved that bit the best. Well, that’s some pretty exciting stuff, Guapo, to be thought of a hit man, an assassin! I’m glad this ended well!

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  40. I am surprised her didn’t have aluminum foil on his head.

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  41. Fess it yo – you’re a hitman! Man, that’s weird. The oddest conversations I have in bars, I forget about on account of the drink. The fountains and fountains of drinks. Are you sure this guy wasn’t just hitting on you?

    Like

  42. Being a bartender: I totally understand her hesitation ^.^

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  43. Wow! lol! Very interesting convo with a stranger. Check this out http://ashleyomelia.com/2014/04/28/the-joys-of-customer-service/ for my experience with that. But at least nobody thought I was a hit person. :)

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  44. Hehe, I love that he felt he needed to share more about himself.

    I had a job many moons ago where afternoon drinking was not only allowed, it was encouraged. Sigh…I miss those days! If only I could remember all the great stories. :D

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  45. Hahaha…well it was her loss!!

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  46. You should have killed the guy…

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  47. Before you were married, right? :)

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  48. Great story! I love Ireland (and I realize that this story takes place in America–or in New York City, which is close enough).What a fruit loop. I know that a lot of Irish did come to NY in the 80s and 90s during the Troubles (and being illegal, I think a lot of them worked the construction biz). I don’t think that ANY of them, however, probably rate an IRA hitman. I suspect this dude had probably been affiliated with the Republicans when he was back in Ireland in a low-level way, and after coming to America, some incipient mental disorder began to manifest itself. This would be exacerbated by alcoholism, a condition suffered by approximately 100% of Irish people.

    Now, because I fixate on the weirdest, most tertiary details, I want to know about the neighbor’s pool (mentioned as an anecdote before the main story).Was this in New York? And was this a private pool? I don’t think of people as having private pools in NYC, even the ultra-rich, because it seems like space is at such a premium. But my knowledge of the City, as you know, is pretty scant (I’ve been to Manhattan & Brooklyn, briefly). Of course there are certain areas of New York State where I assume everyone has a private pool.

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    • He was pretty deep in his cups by the time I turned up, but younger me was a lot more gullible, so…

      This whole mess took place at a bar in a very working-class Irish neighborhood in Queens. (There were, I think, two dozen busy Irish bars in two or three blocks there.)
      The morning pool attack is a completely different (and hilarious to me) story, to be told at a later date, but it was a simple above ground swimming tank, maybe a 10′ at its widest, oval, about 5 ft deep.
      They were all the rage with suburban homeowners for a while. Might still be.
      No idea – I rent.

      Like

      • Well, I always like your autobiographical stories. I’d love to hear about the pool attack. The story that I think about the most is your brief trip to Turkey. I try not to think about your naked snow adventures. Damn you for making me think about that.

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        • Probably for the first year my girl and I were together, all of my stories started with “so I’m in this bar…”
          Entirely too many interesting things happened to me in those places.

          (I lured her on to our first date by promising to tell her the story of the first naked bar dance.)
          (It was a dinner.)
          (In a very public, non-secluded place.)
          (Near a police station.)
          (You know, so she’d feel safe.)

          Like

  49. That stranger thought you were an assassin! What an interesting encounter!!!! You must gave off that impression! > u <

    Like

Ahem *best Ricky Ricardo voice* Babble-OOOoooo!!!

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