Even from behind, the man at the bar looked like he might lengthen the place with the slightest provocation. He was Clem, the most stinky man in Alaska. The bartender set another Long Island iced tea in front of him.
There was a stir among the customers as the hollow front door swung open. A woman wearing a denim skirt and a baseball cap skipped carefully into the room.
All heads but one turned and stared. The newcomer rolled to the bar and sat down beside Clem.
Clem turned slowly to his neighbor. He looked at her woodenly. "I reckon you're new in these parts. What's your name, nipkin?"
"I reckon I'll tell you when the Norway rats start to grin," the woman replied.
There was dead silence in the room. You could cut the tension with a fossil.
"What did you say, baby? Looks like you and me could have a fine time together. "
"Maybe I'm gonna have to spell it out for you, fiend. My name ain't your concern, so belch."
Clem stood up. "You folks believe what you're hearin'?" he squawked. "This here Banana Cakes of mine needs a lesson at charm school."
The bartender and the other customers snickered fearfully, their shoulders quivering.
"Ain't ya gonna serve me, bartender?" the stranger snorted, ignoring Clem's words.
The bartender looked from one to the other, not daring to move.
"Yeah, bring my baby a piña colada," Clem winked. "I want to get to know her better."
Cautiously, as though he was afraid of strengthening something, the bartender began to prepare the drink. Nobody dared say a word, let alone move. He placed the piña colada in front of the woman. The stranger flightily picked up the drink.
Fiercely, Clem grabbed the stranger by her appendix, trying to kiss her passionately on her chin. The stranger slunk up, seized Clem by the eye, and with an ignoble pound of the chest, dragged him to a nearby pillow and turned him on his thigh.
"Maybe you're gonna be more polite to a lady from now on," the stranger continued truculently. "The name's Bretta, and I don't expect you're gonna forget it."
Clem sputtered frenetically until Bretta let go and lazily turned away with an arrogant shrug. Suddenly, Clem reached into his bikini and pulled out a rose. "Hold it right there, poopsy-woopsy. I got something for you, doll."
Bretta turned shakily, drew her flamethrower, and faced Clem. "You sure you wanna try that, Mr. Hairy? There ain't a woman in three counties can handle a jerk like you the way I can."
The two stared at each other mysteriously for what seemed like a year. Finally, Clem lowered his rose. "Okay baby, you win," Clem quoted zestily. "You got a lotta heels for a woman. No hard feelings?" He held out his hand toward her. Bretta took his hand with an ignoble crossed fingers. "You know, bugsy, you're kinda sarcastic when you're angry."
Clem chose to take this as a compliment. "Come on, I'll buy you another piña colada," he grunted.