Okay, stop me if you’ve heard this one before: A solicitor walks into a bar and asks the bartender, “Which were more scary, the deranged zombie officers from the dream sequence in An American Werewolf in London or the evil Nazi zombies in Dead Snow?”…
No, I’d never heard that one before either.
But if the bartender’s answer includes anything having to do with the distinction between real zombies and the not real kind, then you can be sure that solicitor very well may have found the one person in the world who won’t try and use him as bait during the apocalypse. That’s what you might call a soulmate. Or a nerd. Or in the case of Nathan and Auryn, maybe both.
Melanie Tushmore’s A Bar Tender Tale is a simply sweet story that reads like a checklist of some of my favorite fictional plot devices:
• May/August romance – check
• Two men who appear as though they shouldn’t work on the surface, but underneath they’re really just kindred spirits – check
• A cheeky, tattooed protagonist – check
• A craptacularly bad ex-boyfriend – check
• And just a soupçon of conflict thrown in for good measure – check
The thing that really brought this story home for me, however, is the common bond the solicitor and the bartender find—not in the zombies, although that’s a pretty good one, but in the fact that they both want to be more than just a one-night-stand to each other, though they aren’t quite sure about the timing or the execution of it all. It’s the universal question of how soon is too soon, and gah! when in the name of all that could be perfect can we get this party started? Fortunately for Nathan and Auryn, they were able to get it all sorted before Nathan was forced to resort to Tim Curry in a clown suit. See? I just remembered I forgot to add funny pop culture references to my checklist.
A Bar Tender Tale is a lovely bit of escapism, pure and simple, with characters who are charmingly quirky, or quirkily charming, whichever way you want to look at it, but either way, it all added up to a delightful way to spend a few hours somewhere that made me very happy to be there, a state I highly recommend.