Poor Esther This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

May 1, 2017

 It was another day at Dorotea’s. Dorotea's steady band of regular customers (mostly alcoholics) entered the bar. They waited until the clock struck 8:00 in the morning at the bar to be served as the law permitted. Some customers had such a serious case of alcoholism that they couldn't even pick up a shot glass. She would have to give them a straw to sip out of as their hands became paralyzed with a numb shaking sensation. One man, Bert, would come in, take off his ancient hat, ask for a shot with a straw and claimed it was the magic cure. After his one shot, “the tingles in his hand” as he exclaimed, would suddenly disappear. The power of a drink, he praised, was the only way to get through the day.

Soon after Bert, Esther would enter, dressed like a queen. Esther had received a good education and was very mature. The care she took in her appearance was made clear to all by her delicately crafted ensembles she would wear as she entered each Friday morning. By this time she was in her early sixties and was a regular customer. Besides her great taste in clothes, Esther had a sweet face, which was caressed by her glossy blonde and carefully curled hair. She would come in, take off her jacket and leather gloves, and order a scotch with milk every single time.

During the war, Esther was a captain of the navy, stationed somewhere in the Pacific. Nobody knew for sure what her role was exactly, but she had been significant, alright. She had an aura that gave off a sense of independence and capability. She was wise, and defied the rules of age with her youthful face. Once the war was finally over, she worked on Wall Street as a secretary for the “Big Guy”, as she would call him. A few years after being a secretary, she had retired. She was too old and too tired but she didn't want to show it. She was, in a sense, embarrassed of her age and carried it as if it was a burden instead of embracing it. With this new drab life of hers, she came to the bar more often to make her days feel more complete.

 One night, Dorotea was upstairs in the kitchen in her apartment above the bar. She had just made dinner and her two children, Charlie and Julia, who were seated at the table alongside their father, a rare luxury. After thirty seconds of grabbing a seat and placing a fork in her right hand, Dorotea heard what can only be describes as, “a hundred voices shouting” downstairs. As soon as she heard the noise, she jumped out of her seat as a chill of concern ran up her spine.

Worried to find out what all the commotion was about, Dorotea bolted for the door and scurried down the windy staircase. When she made it to the bottom she saw Esther, nude, dancing on a tabletop, surrounded by howling men. First, Dorotea had to close her mouth or else flies would mistake it for a landing pad. Then, she had to comprehend what was going on. Her thoughts composed of comments consisting of the following:

Esther. She is completely naked. Completely naked. Naked. On top of the center table. Naked, Nude, Unclothed.

It had taken Dorotea a moment to translate the current situation in her head, but after doing so she rushed over to Esther. Esther was full of giggles as she paraded around with at least forty men watching her like a piece of meat. It wasn't easy, but Dorotea was able to finally haul Esther off the center stage and into the back bathroom as she heard men in the background wail for more entertainment. She told Maria, a local, to watch the wild Esther as she went to grab a fresh set of clothes. When Dorotea got back, not only did she have to dress Esther who clung to the sides of the bathroom stall, whining like a four year old, but she had to call for a taxi as well. When things finally simmered down a bit and after Esther was sent home, all of the men were forced out and Dorotea took a deep breath.

The very next day, Dorotea had been walking back from the grocery store to the bar. As she made way down the street, the regular crew was lining up at the door to the bar, waiting for it to be 8:00.  Several tipped their hats to her and grinned widely. One in particular said, “Oh Dorie, next time you have a stripper come by, make sure to call me!” Dorotea rolled her eyes in annoyance as she reached for the bar entrance.

A few minutes later, Esther waltzed in. Dorotea opened her eyes with a couple extra blinks to make sure she was seeing straight. Yes, it was indeed Esther. She had come in with a bag of Dorotea’s clothes, washed clean from the other night. Dorotea asked Esther how she was but Esther cut to the chase to get rid of the obvious elephant in the room.

“Listen, sorry for last night, I hope I didn’t create too much of an inconvenience. Anyway, can I have a double shot of scotch before I head off to church?”

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