Molly’shttps://i0.wp.com/barrenmagazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/IMG_8359.jpg?fit=1068%2C597&ssl=11068597Sasha Fox CarneySasha Fox Carneyhttps://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/f9a5ee2c03d6dbe881c2733ef481cd45?s=96&d=mm&r=g
The most beautiful bar in the world is not called THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BAR IN THE WORLD on its liquor license. Its real name is Molly’s, after a girl who died of a brain aneurysm in 1993. There are always just the right number of people inside: the bar knows exactly how much skin you want pushed up against your skin at any given moment, and acts accordingly. If you look closely at the man hunched over his notebook in the corner, you will see that he is writing about you, and he is making your jawline five percent sharper and your jokes at least twice as funny as they are in real life.
If you go up to the bar, you can order a drink there, but there is little point in doing so, because the bar will know what you want before you ask for it, will know you’re thinking something sweet and cold with two shots from the way your tongue sits in your mouth. Still, you will have the comfort of interacting with a real live human bartender, one who tosses the pomegranate bitters from hand to hand before she dashes them, and will chop a lime into a peony if you ask nicely, or even if you don’t. She has a name, by the way. Her name is Maureen Chattanooga, and she woke up at 2pm today with a terrible case of seizing calf cramps, and the skin on her hands dries up so much it cracks and stings every time somebody in her family is about to die.
Her hands are peeling tonight, as she hands you something sweet and cold with two shots and tells you the syrup is made of elderflower picked from a local cemetery. “Our suppliers only harvest it,” she says, “when the moonlight breathes through the cloud-cover.” It tastes okay.
You probably want to kiss someone while you’re here. There is no probably about it: you began the night so thick with wanting you could use it to stuff a taxidermy skin.
You are hoping to be wanted by the customer sitting alone at the booth, crumpling an empty can. They have a shaved head and wear a blue velvet shirt that shimmers like a fish-scale in the bar-light, and they are exactly the same amount of drunk as you are. They are thinking about wanting you. In about twenty-three minutes, they are going to want you enough to do something about it.
Afterwards, you will notice that there are watercolour brushes in a glass jar by their bedside table, and you will ask them if they paint and they will say that they gave it up a very long time ago. They will kiss you goodbye when you recoil at the smell of their morning breath, no longer bound by the stipulated perfection of the most beautiful bar in the world.
While your back is turned, Maureen Chattanooga is talking to Carlos, who just started last week, but is a fast learner. “I’m sorry,” Maureen is saying. “I’m feeling—” and she makes a vague handwaving gesture intending to serve as signifier and reference to the way her bones hurt in the morning, the fog that clouds over the bridge of her nose when somebody asks her what she wants, the endless drone of cosmic microwave background radiation across the universe, the way behind-bar seems to seize up and clamp her in a too-tight space once the clock strikes one, the unseemly mole on her cheek, how it feels to have cheeks at all “—tonight. Y’know?”