The Altar at Midnight
The bartender shook my bottle of ale in front of me like a Swiss bell-ringer so it foamed inside the green glass.
"You ready for another, sir?" he asked.
I shook my head. Down the bar, he tried it on the kid--he was drinking scotch and water or something like that--and found out he could push him around. He sold him three scotch and waters in ten minutes.
When he tried for number four, the kid had his courage up and said, "I'll tell you when I'm ready for another, Jack." But there wasn't any trouble.
It was almost nine and the place began to fill up. The manager, a real hood type, stationed himself by the door to screen out the high-school kids and give the big hello to conventioneers. The girls came hurrying in, too, with their little makeup cases and their fancy hair piled up and their frozen faces with the perfect mouths drawn on them. One of them stopped to say something to the