End of night, kid comes into the bar. I’ve seen him before, never actually talked to him. Maybe the perfunctory how you doing, what can I get you. He’s got a pleasant face, brown hair, not short, not long, seems a bit on the shy side. He orders a beer, I get it for him, make the transaction.

I take notice of him. He’s sitting there, spacing out. He’s alone, and surprisingly, not on his phone. I leave him be, start cleaning up behind the bar, beginning my closing duties.

He waves me over after a time. What’s up, my man?  What can I get you?  He mumbles something about the art on the wall, what’s the deal with it. I can barely understand him. I try to listen closely, with my bartender hearing. Has that one sold?  He is pointing to a large painting, on the far wall. It says Psycho on it. It’s a picture of the lead actress in the movie screaming. It’s a classic image.

I say, I have no idea. Wait a second. I think I can figure it out. I go get the books. When a painting sells, we mark it down. Looks like only three paintings sold so far, none of them the Psycho. I take a look at a typed list of the paintings, and the prices of them. Oh. The painting costs $525. That’s a chunk of change. I say, are you interested in buying it?  It’s $525. He says, yes. Ok, I say. I can run your card, sell it to you. He says, ok.

This DOES NOT seem like a good idea for this guy to be doing. At 1:15 in the morning, on a whim. He gives me his credit card, I get out the piece of paper to record the sale. I say, please write down your name and number. He takes his time with it. I look at his handwriting, it looks pretty illegible. Damn it. Is this guy drunk?  I feel like I’m taking advantage of him. He seems like a sweet guy. I take the sheet from him. It’s important that we can read the phone number, so we can call him when he can pick up the painting. I say, just making sure. It’s 515-8…35…7? He mumbles, 337. Huh. I repeat, so it’s 515-8337?  He says, yeah. I look at the number, it is CLEARLY a 5. What the fuck?  Guy can’t even write his own phone number. This is so sketchy.

I’m holding his card, looking at him. I say, you sure you want to do this?  He says a simple, yes. Ok, I say. It’s 525 dollars. He says, yeah. All right, I say. I swipe his card, type in 525, look at him one more time, say, last chance, he nods his head, I push enter, and the guy now owns a $525 Psycho painting.

I hope he doesn’t wake up tomorrow, look at his bank statement, say, $525?!?!?!  What the HELL did I buy for $525?

-Clint Curtis


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