Updated: Jun 26, 2020

“This is not an easy story to tell… but it’s mine to tell.”

Chris looked around the room at the curious faces staring back at him. He had meant to do this after his birthday, but, birthdays being what they are, he ended up inebriated and shirtless instead. He fought the urge to smile at what memories he could piece together of the night. This had to be a serious conversation.

“If you could just let me get through this, don’t say anything, just … listen.” He took a deep breath and closed his eyes.

I used to work in a bar at Tucson International Airport. It’s not there anymore, but it was franchised after a famous lady pilot named Pearl Egates. The main attraction was this famous, daredevil bartender, Jake Peters… but everyone called him St. Peter.

He was the sickest bartender on the west coast, other bartenders would fly out to that airport just to sit and watch him work. I was no different. Ever since the first moment I saw wine being poured into a glass, I knew I wanted to be a bartender. While other kids wanted Tonka trucks for Christmas, I wanted a martini shaker and a bottle opener.

The day I arrived at TUS, I remember sitting on that bar stool in awe. I was too nervous to introduce myself, so I just sat there, watching, hoping to soak up whatever it was he seemed to have in spades. Then, suddenly he stopped and looked at me.

“Hey, kid. How about giving me a hand?” he said.

I was frozen, I didn’t know what to do, so I just sat there with this look on my face. Then, he smiled and laughed at me a little. “C’mon, kid, I ain’t gonna bite ya.”

I scrambled quickly behind the bar and stood beside him.

“You know anything about this stuff?” he asked.

I shrugged and said “A little.”