A Night at Planck's Pub

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Lisa sat at the mahogany bar with her feet resting on the tarnished brass rail. She had never been to Planck’s Pub before, but the chalkboard sign outside had caught her eye. In bold, white lettering, the sign proclaimed, “Buy one drink and get the rest for free!” It had to be a joke. In her experience, anything too good to be true usually was, but she had spent most of the semester in the lab and was ready to blow off a little steam.

Despite the unbelievable special, it appeared to be a quiet night at Planck’s. In fact, there was only one other patron in the bar: a thirty-something bearded man in distressed jeans, a black t-shirt, and a navy blazer, who sniffed at the golden liquid in his crystal tumbler glass with pleasure.

“Talisker, 10 years old. Clearly, I have taste,” he said winking in Lisa’s direction.

Lisa returned his wink with a smile. A smile absent of any trace of warmth. A smile she had perfected to keep unwanted suitors at a distance. She had a lot of practice using it this term. Being one of a handful of women in her program attracted a lot of attention from her classmates. Much of it of the awkward variety. One hopeful suitor, when he discovered her fondness for Dr. Who, spent the rest of the term wearing a bow tie. Who does that? The bartender interrupted her thoughts, as he placed a glass of water near her on the bar.

“Are you having the special tonight,” he asked casually.

“I saw the sign outside,” Lisa replied, “I wasn’t sure if it was a joke or not?”
The bartender wiped the counter with a clean white cloth and nodded knowingly. “We get that a lot.”

Lisa arched an inquisitive eyebrow. “Well, it certainly looks like a good deal. How does it work?”

The barkeep gave a noncommittal shrug. “We have a device that manipulates multiple quantum entanglements. It can call specific physical states into being by accessing these entanglements in other universes and then brings them back into ours.” This time, Lisa arched both her eyebrows.

“I just work here miss. I don’t pretend to understand it, but basically the owner has invented covered drink trays that act as a portal for parallel universes. The drinks you receive are the drinks bought by alternate versions of yourself, and we send all of them the drink you bought here. At least in the universes where Planck’s Pubs exist. Oh, and the universes where you exist, er, and order the special... It’s complicated.”

Lisa pulled out a $20 bill and put it on the table. “I’ll buy one of your finest sauvignon blancs, for the other Lisas, and keep the change.”

“Thank you miss. Remember to drink responsibly. I still have to respect the law regardless of how many drinks your other selves send you tonight!” He smiled at Lisa, placed a glass of sauvignon blanc under a covered tray and put it under the counter. He then retrieved two more covered trays. “This one is yours, Jack,” he said lifting the cover to reveal a glass of red wine.

“Wow. A Super Tuscan! Clearly, I’m living the highlife tonight,” said the bearded man.

“And this one is for you.” Lisa couldn’t hide her disappointment, as a run of the mill gin and tonic was put before her.

“Not what you were hoping for?” The bartender inquired.

Lisa shrugged. “It’s OK. Just not my favourite.” Fifteen minutes passed and Lisa was ready for another.

“Maybe this time, try to clear your mind? Really focus on the drink you truly want.Try to manifest it into being.” Lisa nodded at the bartender’s advice. She took a deep breath, and focused her mind on a flute of sparkling champagne.The bartender came over and put the covered silver tray in front of her removing the lid with a flourish... another gin and tonic.

“Hmmm, maybe the problem is that you are focussing too much on what you want? Next time, try not to think about anything, let the possibilities flow. Remember, until you observe it, anything is possible.”

“Worth a shot,” interjected Jack. “I’ll tell you what, if you don’t like it, I’ll trade you mine. That alright with you?” Jack eyed the barkeep.

The bartender shrugged. “Fine with me.You’ve both bought the special. You want to trade, that’s your business”

“OK, Jack, you have a deal!” Lisa answered enthusiastically.

The bartender once again brought over two covered silver trays. Lisa took another deep breath, but this time she shut her eyes and tried hard to open her mind to all the possible variants, not caring which one the universe, or universes, chose for her.” She kept her eyes closed until she heard the sound of the covers being removed. The bartender shrugged apologetically. “Uh, sorry. Doesn’t always work out.” Two gin and tonics were before her. Lisa’s face fell. Jack laughed and put his hand lightly on Lisa’s shoulder. “That was a good effort. Looks like this is trickier than rocket science!”

Lisa smiled warmly at Jack and picked up her glass of gin. “In a way, I guess I only have myself, or selves, to blame. Well, you definitely can’t complain about the price!”

Jack and Lisa clinked glasses and Lisa took a long slow appreciative sip of her gin and tonic. Suddenly, both her eyebrows arched with surprise. “Everything alright?” the bartender asked.

“You know what? These really start to grow on you, after you’ve had a few, I think I will make gin and tonic my regular drink from now on!”

About the Author: 
Wayne Current is a communications expert in Ottawa Canada. He directs and produces theatre on the side and enjoys dabbling in fiction.