Last call, everyone!” Tulip O’Hare, the Grassy Knoll pub’s newest bartender shouted.
“It’s nine thirty,” a man at the end of the bar muttered in complaint.
“Private function tonight, Arseface,” said Jesse Custer, the Knoll’s owner, as he left the pub’s spartan “office” area. “You pay to shut the Knoll down so you can drink in peace and we’ll talk.”
The man grumbled, paid his tab and left.
Once the Knoll emptied, Custer pulled a bottle of Bowmore ’18, a bottle of Hibiki, a handle of tequila and a bottle of Glenlivet. Next came a crystal tumbler, into which Jesse poured three fingers of the Bowmore.
Custer then poured a glass of the Hibiki for himself and put some Glenlivet in a steel tumbler with the words “I Can’t Hold My Liquor” for Cassidy at the door. After hanging the tumbler around Cass’s neck with a steel chain, he pressed a button on his phone.
“Coast’s clear. You can come in now.”
Chief Justice John Roberts led the charge into the Knoll. He made a beeline for the glass of Bowmore and drained it immediately.
“I’ll have six more please,” Roberts said after placing the glass on the bar. “Thanks for setting this up.”
“With what you paid us, we’re happy to oblige,” Jesse returned.
“Aye,” Cass muttered from the door. “At least yer nae usin’ the fancy robe and haughty title tae drink fer free.”
“Shut it and drink your cheap Irish swill, Cass.” Jesse called to the doorman. “Sorry, John. Cass is still a little touchy after we let your newest colleague enjoy our hospitality.”
“Justice Barrett was in here? Glad to see she took my advice.”
“Enough about her. You paid us quite the sum to get this place to yourself.”
“Yes and I’m going to get good and drunk tonight, thank you very much,” Justice Roberts said as he finished another glass.
“What has you so vexed, John?”
Roberts stared at his glass, then at the handle of tequila on the bar. Tulip was practicing a trick she’d learned at a bartending seminar where multiple shot glasses could fill if stacked in a certain pyramid formation.
“Clear alcohol is for rich women on diets,” the Chief Justice pronounced. “Consider this me taking judicial notice.” He grinned at this.
“Honey, this girl ain’t rich, and I’ll throw one of my heels at you if you dare suggest this body needs a diet,” Tulip responded with a wry smile.
Roberts’ face turned deep red.
“What’s given you such a case of the red ass that moved you to come here, John?” Custer pressed his customer.
“More booze, please.”
Once the glass was full, Roberts said, “Let’s play a game. Never have I ever been afraid of having to preside over two Senate trials in four years.” With that, Roberts downed his drink and pressed for another.
“How’s that going to work, John? Won’t the guy be out of office before the trial begins?”
“You think I have a fucking clue?” Justice Roberts spat venomously, sipping his Bowmore now. “There’s no precedent for this. No President’s ever been impeached twice. The Senate is waffling over whether to get started on President Biden’s new agenda or if the trial needs to begin, and if they ask me to sit through another I might shoot myself.”
“So why not get one of your colleagues to handle it?”
Roberts looked up from his glass with a sparkle of hope. “You might have a point.” He then patted himself until he found his pocket Constitution, opened it, and then appeared lost in thought.
The Chief Justice suddenly leapt to his feet, grinning like a child with a new toy. “It’s right here! Look!” Pressing the pocket Constitution to the bar, Roberts pointed to one section eagerly.
“Right there. Article One, Section three. “When the President of the United States is tried, the Chief Justice shall preside.” He won’t be President, so under a textualist reading, it’s not my job!” Now Roberts bore a smile the Cheshire cat would’ve envied.
“So what are you going to do, John?” Custer asked.
Roberts smiled. “You have any champagne? Because I think I just found a new duty for our newest Associate Justice.”
Tulip eyed Custer from the end of the bar and poured herself another shot of tequila. He’d seen that look on her face once after coming home following an evening of drunken shenanigans with Cassidy. “You sure you want to put that poor woman through all that trouble?”
“She’s got school aged children,” Roberts said with another sip of Bowmore. “She’s perfectly equipped to handle anything the Senate throws her way.”
“Fair enough,” Jesse replied, shooting a glance Tulip’s way. She smiled and began cleaning the Knoll for closing.
“Well I’m good and loaded now,” the Chief Justice quipped. “Thanks for arranging this.”
“Thanks for the generous payment and tips, John. Speaking of which, can I trouble you with one small question?”
“Sure, what’s up?” Roberts spoke, lightly slurring now.
“Why’d you pay for everything under Justice Ginsburg’s name?”
Roberts finished the last of his Bowmore. “Consider it my parting shot at that old ball-buster.” He then turned to one of the Secret Service agents in the bar. “Jarvis, home please.” With that, the agents escorted Roberts from the Knoll and placed him in a black Suburban.
Cass grabbed the last agent to leave by the arm. “Hey laddie, is yer pal’s name really Jarvis?”
“It’s actually Frank,” the agent replied curtly. “The Chief Justice has a thing for “Iron Man” so he calls any of us whose name he can’t recall ‘Jarvis.’ None of us mind. Beats working a detail for Hillary Clinton.”
With that, the Knoll was empty, save for the three highly amused bar staff who would laugh at this for weeks.