The Lemon Drop

Greg Powell
MDI Contributor

I was on a motorcycle trip somewhere is the northwestern part of the United States, not exactly sure where  as I was just riding in whatever direction the wind took me. After a particularly amazing day of riding, I decided to stop for a meal and much to my delight, I saw a roadside grill with lots of motorcycles parked outside.

How perfect. 

Immediately upon entering this fine establishment I felt I was in the wrong place. It was more of a dive bar than a roadside grill and the patrons were all heavily tattooed, burly and angry looking men wearing leather jackets, all with the same crest on the back. I wanted to leave as I felt out of place being clean shaven and wearing a clean non-leather motorcycle jacket, but I was too far inside before I noticed everyone and, well I’m no coward.

I grabbed a stool at the bar. The bartender was the meanest and biggest man in the bar, arms the size of tree trunks and hands like a grizzly bear. But he politely greeted me and handed me a menu and started making small talk, asking me where I was from, etc. I asked him his name and he said “people call me Lemon Drop”, which I assumed was some kind of joke on me but I went with it.

He then asked me if I was interested in trying the “man” drink and  challenge that went along with it. I enquired further. The drink was a combination of booze named after men, an ounce of Johnny Walker, Jack Daniels and Jim Beam, topped off with a squeeze of lemon.  I enquired about the “challenge” that went along with the drink. The bartender replies “I mix all this booze together then squeeze half a lemon into the drink. If you can squeeze another drop of liquid out of the lemon after I’ve squeezed it you eat and drink for free for the rest of the night, if you fail you have to buy a round for everyone in the bar.”  

Being arrogant and cocky and not one to back down from a challenge, I accepted. He mixes the drink, squeezes the lemon and sets it beside me. I grab the lemon, squeeze it with all I have, nothing comes out. I twist it, crunch it and squeeze it some more, nothing, not a drop comes out after ten minutes of giving this lemon everything I have. I give up, much to the delight of the bikers in the bar, but at least I was now popular. Buying people drinks seems to help in making friends. I get invited to play pool and start enjoying myself with what turned out to be a bunch of rather nice bikers.

They just looked mean.  

About an hour later a very skinny, nerdy looking man enters the bar. He is so out of place that the entire bar grinds to a dead silence. This skinny nerdy man, wearing a bow tie and pocket protector filled with pens, carrying an old worn brief case approached the bar. Our bartender “Lemon Drop” asks him if he is lost, “No sir, I’m not lost. I hear you have a special drink and a chance for me to win free booze and food for the rest of the night!  I’m here to accept this challenge!” The entire bar, including myself burst out in laughter. After all, one of Lemon Drop’s arms is the same size as this man’s entire torso. There is no way he can defeat our bartender.

The drink is mixed, the lemon is squeezed and we all watch on with confusion and anticipation of free drinks. The nerd picks up the lemon and squeezes and squeezes, nothing is happening. He squeezes some more and more he’s not giving up. Finally 15 minutes have passed and he looks like he might pass out, but he squeezes some more. Then it happens. A tiny drop of lemon juice falls into the drink.

He’s done it!!!

The bar falls silent waiting for the bartender to speak. “In 30 years, nobody has ever squeezed another drop from one of my lemons. You will eat and drink for free tonight my new friend.” says our bartender “But first I have to ask, what is it that you do for a living.”

The nerd sits up tall, puffs out his chest and replies “I work for the IRS and I’m here to do a tax audit.” 

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