The mood at the Knoll was different. That wasn’t necessarily good.
For starters, Jesse Custer left town three days earlier, citing a desire to attend a “religious retreat.” That was bullshit and everyone knew the Pub’s proprietor was headed to Vegas, but no one bothered the lapsed minister over it.
Tulip O’Hare, Custer’s long-time girlfriend, tended bar while Cass watched the door. Cass tried repeatedly to get Tulip let him have a go behind the bar. Tulip rejected the Irishman every time.
Rule one, Tulip thought. Never let Cassidy behind the bar. He’s at the door for a reason.
O’Hare conducted herself like a professional, but was silently irked at Jesse. This was a last minute deal, a special function was scheduled for tonight, and a mysterious British guy came in the day before. Jesse told Tulip the guy was to drink as he pleased tonight on the house.
Three whiskeys in and he’s here “to keep the temperature down in the room.” Sometimes Jesse makes no damn sense.
Tulip eyed the room and yelled at the top of her lungs when she looked at her watch.
“EVERYONE GET YOUR SHIT, PAY FOR YOUR SHIT, AND GET THE FUCK OUT. WE’RE CLOSED. SPECIAL FUNCTION.”
Wide-eyed and slack-jawed, the patrons filed into a line, paid their tabs, and left.
Cass eyed Tulip at the bar once it emptied with a look of disbelief.
“That’s the fastest last call I’ve ever seen, love. What’s yer secret?”
“It’s called feminism, Cass. You should look into it.” With that, Tulip sped into action, cleaning for the four men who’d rented the Knoll for a special event. Cassidy pulled a wrought iron table and four chairs out of storage, and placed them under the awning outside.
Tulip barely cracked her copy of “The Vagina Monologues” when Cass hissed “Fuck me. Showtime, love. I think our guests are here.”
First through the door was an older, portly man with gray hair dressed in what looked like a suit straight off a department store rack. Next came two men in neatly tailored suits. The older man had salt and pepper hair and carried a thoughtful gaze. His companion was a brown-haired guy with a beard. Tulip was seconds away from handing him her phone number until she realized he was just well-dressed enough to where he was probably gay.
Last through the door was a very young looking man. Cass actually carded the guy in a yarmulke, polo shirt and slacks.
“Welcome to the Grassy Knoll Pub, Mr. Shapiro. Enjoy yourself.”
The four took seats at the bar. The portly man eyed the Brit at the end of the bar.
“I thought we rented the place out?” He asked Tulip.
“He works here. Security. What’ll it be, gents?”
“Well, that’s a hell of a question,” the shit and pepper haired man said in a heavily Canadian accent. “I mean there’s so many considerations to ponder…”
“We have Labatt and Molson, honey.”
“A Molson sounds fantastic, ma’am.”
The brown haired man flashed a winning smile at Tulip. “Bourbon, neat please. Thanks.”
“You’re gay, right?”
“Actually yes, I’m even gay married. Why?” the man asked with a bit of a shocked look.
“You’d be getting her number along with that bourbon if ye weren’t, Mr. Rubin,” Cass howled from the door.
“Fuck off, Cass” Tulip spat.
“I’ll have a Bourbon as well,” the portly man grumbled.
Tulip turned to the young man. “And you, sir?”
“I’ll have a cranberry juice and club soda,” he said nervously.
Tulip started pouring while the four conversed.
“So how was the move to Nashville?”
“Well, the company moved to Nashville. I moved to Florida. It’s nicer there and Ron DeSantis..”
“OI! ARE YOU CUNTS ILLITERATE?”
Everyone turned to the British man at the end of the bar. Blonde, dressed in a trench coat, shirt, tie and slacks, he pointed to a sign over the bar mirror. It read:
Talk Elsewhere–NO BOOZE FOR YOU.
“Sorry,” the young man nervously quipped.
“There’s rules around here, sugar,” Tulip addressed him. “You just happen to be looking at them.”
The four sat, nursing their drinks in silence.
“So how’s the new book doing, Jordan?” the brown haired man asked his friend.
“I suppose it’s a success at this point, but how does one really measure a milestone like that, man?”
“If it pisses off the progressive Left, it’s a success,” rumbled the portly man.
“LOBSTER FUCKER. PRAGER. READ THE SIGN, YOU CUNTS.”
All eyes were on the British man at the end of the bar once more.
Dennis Prager turned to Tulip. “I was told a humidor is available?”
“Aye,” Cass spoke up from the door. “We set a table and chairs outside for ye.”
“Bar’s no smoking, honey, but the boss said to make accommodations for y’all,” Tulip drawled.
“Shall we, gents?”
With a universal nod, Dennis Prager, Jordan Peterson, Dave Rubin, and Ben Shapiro retired to the table outside the pub.
Prager produced cigars and offered them to his friends. Rubin accepted out of politeness.
“Wow,” Rubin said after a couple of minutes. “That English guy was something else, huh?”
“It’s where Europe’s gone down the toilet,” Prager grumbled. “No concept of free speech.”
“Actually if you’re not a dense fuck like you lot, this country might be better off. All of you are what’s wrong with this country. I’m not even American and I can see that.”
A match illuminated the figure of the Brit, who lit a cigarette.
The four stared blankly. “We didn’t ask you to join us” Shapiro started.
“Silence your juvenile tone, Benjamin, my son. You heard the bartender. I fancied a smoke meself.”
“Where do you get off saying we’re what’s wrong with America?” Rubin asked.
“Anyone with a pulse and functioning eyes can see it. Rubin, you could’ve been a great journalist. Instead you dance around Fox News complaining about not getting time on CNN. Larry King would be ashamed of you.”
“And then there’s you, Dr. Lobster Fucker. You could be using that big brain of yours to help people with real problems. Instead you write asinine self-help books and go on speaking tours.”
“Prager, anyone who attended your ‘University’ deserves a refund on their tuition. If you eased up on the bitching about how YouTube has you by the bollocks and Senate testimony you might have finished that ‘Rational Bible’ of yours.”
“Shapiro, you’re the worst of the lot. You were a Harvard-trained lawyer. You could’ve used that to help people in bad situations. Now you hock coffee and VPNs on your podcast faster than any other living human.”
“In short, the four of you could’ve used your talents and skills to better the world. Instead, you chose money and fame. Problem with Yanks. Bloody star-fuckers, the lot of you.”
The four men finished their drinks, went inside and paid.
“You’ll get a one star Yelp review,” Prager snorted.
“And you have yourself a good evening, sugar,” Tulip returned with a saccharine smile.
Once the four left, the Brit looked at Cassidy. “Did Custer leave my payment with YOU?”
“Over here, John,” Tulip called. Reaching under the bar, she slid a leather bound book and two cartons of silk cut, duty-free cigarettes to him.”
“Give Jesse my regards, Tulip.”
“Always do, Constantine.”
“Will his majesty be taking the Concord home to lick the Queen’s teat?” Cass sniggered from the door.
John Constantine muttered something under his breath. Suddenly Cassidy was mute.
Tulip wondered if the blonde Brit was single.
Constantine rose, strode to the door, and eyed Cassidy. “Tell your boss we’re even now.” He muttered something else under his breath and Cassidy suddenly spoke again.
“You got it, Mr. Constantine. Yes sir. Will do.”
With that, John Constantine left the Grassy Knoll Pub.
“Asshole.” Cass spat.
“Effective asshole,” Tulip agreed.