Updated: Jun 26, 2020
Chris sat at the bar, alone, idly stirring his bowl of Cocoa Puffs, watching his milk blend with the swirls of chocolate. There was something oddly calming about Cocoa Puffs. In fact, it was the only luxury from his past he had allowed himself. When he embarked on this new life, he had agreed to leave everything behind – the fame, the fans, it was all lost along with the pain and the shame of everything that had gone wrong in Tucson.
He’d been so young back then. At the tender age of 19, he was nervous, wondering if he could really do it. Where he came from, bartenders were gods, and he was planning to join their ranks. His first job was a small bar in the Tucson International Airport. It was a nondescript bar, with nothing particularly special about it, except one thing.
Jake “The Saint” Peter.
He was famous in those parts, with a following so extensive, flights that connected in Tucson came at a premium price. His talent single-handedly kept that airport afloat. Tending bar was a brutal calling, and most bartenders didn’t last past their 25th year.
“Tending bar is a young man’s game,” Jake had always said. “It takes a certain amount of nonsense that must reside deep in the soul. Only few are born with what it truly took. The ancients called them… Tenderonis.”
Over the years, Jake had passed down the legend of the Tenderonis to his young protegé. Those who were chosen became ageless, timeless, imbued with immeasurable power; power that could be used for good or evil. Chris hadn’t been sure he believed in all of it, but never spoke a word out of respect for his mentor.
Then, one day, a wallet had been left at the bar. Chris had checked the ID inside. It was Jake’s, and the sight of it stilled his heart.
“This date of birth, it can’t be right!” he had said to himself.
“Now do you believe?” a voice startled him.
Chris hadn’t wanted to admit it, but it was all true. According to his license, Jake was 83. “How is this possible?” Chris asked.