Short Story: The Bar Hopper

There is a story told in the darken corners of every local bar, pub, and saloon. It is not a tall tale, as someone always claims to have seen the action firsthand. Then there are those who bask in secondhand glory, who pass it off thirdhand. Glasses are raised and clinked against each other. Rounds are bought and shots are had. For you see, this tale takes place in a bar. Well, not really in any one bar. And not really in a bar, but rather over it.

They say his name is Bobby, but that he has also be known as Bob, Robert, Bobert, and Ted. He often says he name depends on the day of the week. He smiles when he says this. He smiles a lot, they say. His smile can brighten a room, they remark, which is good, because as previously mentioned, the establishments he frequents often have dark corners. To say he was a barfly would be an understatement, though somewhat ironic in its description. He doesn’t fly though, he merely hops. So he is more like a barfrog.

It’ll start out small. He’ll laugh and say he can jump over a bar stool. People usually laugh at this statement and accuse him of being drunk. He’ll just shrug, but everyone really knows he is stone cold sober. So people will first weakly protest his jump, but then give in and play his game and both deny he can do it and egg him on. He’ll back up a little, gauge the distance, and make a run towards the chair. And lo and behold, he’s over it, landing on the other side so perfectly, gymnasts weep.

Some people will then mill about, dispersing and heading back to where ever they were before the jump. Others wait. They know what is next. Again, with a grin, he states he can jump over a table. Again, protests and cheers great him. And again, he makes the jump. Then it is two tables together. Then the serving area. Sometimes if it is a warm summer’s night and the windows are open in a bar, he will jump from one wall to the other.

It is all theatrics, building up to his grand finale. He will end his night by claiming he can jump over the entire bar. Not the room, the actual building the bar is in. Doesn’t matter if the bar is located on a New York street corner or a shanty out in the middle of nowhere, he says he will jump it. Now people are really protesting, the color draining out of some of their faces. Surely this guy is crazy. He can’t honestly think he can jump over an entire building? He will smash his face in. He’s gotta be drunk!

But he isn’t. He is just a showman. As he makes his way out the door, some people place bets. Some people hit 9 and 1 on their cell phones, waiting to complete the trifecta. The crowd heads out the door, following Roberto. He stands some distance away, crouching, taking his stance, rubbing his shoes against the ground (it may be pavement, it may be grass). He runs forward, the crowd gasps, and he leaps…over the building. Sometimes, as he is arcing his way over the rooftop, he does a little summersault. A little tuck and roll. As soon as he reaches the other side, and turns around and waits for the others to come rushing to him. They do and do some with thunderous applause. But before they can embrace him, put him upon his shoulders, he turns around again and hops off into the horizon.

So yes, he is a barfrog. A few spectators say they even heard him ribbit a few times. A few ladies even laugh about the feel of his tongue, though he never seems interested in making a romantic connection with his fans. He is just a legend, somewhere between figment and actuality. A ghost, but one who jumps over walls, not walk through them. A true bar hopper.

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