So I’m hangin’ out at a bar with my friend Roger, an old school player from way back. We’re catchin’ up on times when this sistah comes in. Tall, dark, lovely and built with curves I saw way before I actually saw her face, let’s call her ‘Dee’. Anyway, she sat down and we all begin talking, had a few drinks together, then it became apparent that she and I were really connecting. Feeling a bit like the odd man in the conversation, Roger decided to check out then noticed something on his tab. Before paying he spoke briefly with John, the bartender, then as he left he leaned over to me and whispered “Max, watch out — this chick is trying to get someone to pay for her dinner.”

I glanced at Roger and chuckled. “Cool… thanks for the heads up. I got this.”

Dee was quick to scoot over next to me. Smart, charming and beautiful, she had a phenomenal “Forever Young” essence about her although she was almost 40 and a mother of two young adults. Thoroughly enjoying the conversation, I bought her another drink and we continued chatting for a couple of hours. Finally the end of the night arrived and John presented a tab to me and a tab to her. Immediately she said “Oh, there must be some mistake — they’re all on his tab.”

“Ahh there’s the rub”, I thought. John looked at me and I said “No, I never agreed to that. I bought her a drink and that’s it.”

As if he expected my response, John nodded and let out one of those Dammit-not-again sighs as Dee claimed that she didn’t have any money.  She then went on a rant, explaining that she wouldn’t have spent all that time with me if she had known that I didn’t have her tab covered. Her con game then went into high gear, trying every conceivable twist and turn all the way down to the “When I asked you if it was okay if I got something to eat you said go ahead!”

“No, you didn’t ask me,” I replied then quietly said to her “We were having such a great time. Please don’t play this game.”

See, what Dee didn’t know was that Roger and I were regulars there and John had been a friend of ours for some years. If I’m paying for someone else’s drink or meal I make it clear — none of that “slip it in there” bullshit works on me. I could’ve easily paid her tab along with mine and, honestly, after a couple of hours of her charm and beauty part of me was willing to cover it — IF she was going to stop running her con and just ask me straight up. Also, with John and I being avid Poker players, we were the last two guys she needed to be trying to bluff.

The manager arrived, already apprised of the situation. Dee went round and round with him pleading her case until he finally said “Ma’am, if you can’t pay your tab I’ll have to call the police.”

“Call them!” she barked. The manager casually walked back into the kitchen.

“Please don’t do this,” I whispered to her. “These kinds of games never end well.”

“I don’t know you right now.” she replied with an expected chill in her voice. I took a long last look at her, a little saddened as I admired her beauty. It was apparent that she was going to ride her con game to the end like the Captain of the Titanic.

The game went to another level once the police officer arrived. The cop walked over to her, let out a Dammit-not-again sigh, then began to ask her about why she couldn’t pay and if she knew someone that could cover her. Her rants continued although her game got a case of speed wobbles. Suddenly she wasn’t from around here yet her ID was a current Virginia driver’s license. She had no one she could call because she was all alone in the cosmos (but she’d just finished telling me about her kids graduating from a local high school). She even claimed food poisoning and threatened a law suit and then once the cop actually read her tab she magically went from having one drink to having four, including the one I paid for. She even tried her best to rope me in as the bad guy, but the cop wasn’t buying it. By then, what sympathy I felt had faded away. The whole situation had evolved into a running joke with no punchline.

Tired of all the talk, the cop finally said “Ma’am, if you cannot pay this bill, you are going to jail.”

And without much ado, she went into her purse, pulled out a credit card and presented it to John who ran it through the card reader — and it WORKED.

Having paid her tab, she was free to go. Instead of quietly leaving, Dee continued with the snide remarks until the cop told her that she couldn’t leave until he said she could. She walked over to a nearby gas station, the cop followed her, and that was the last I saw of both of them. John and I had a good laugh after that.

“I gotta admit,” I said to John as he cleaned behind the bar, “if she had come clean and stopped tryin’ to run game I might have done the chivalrous thing and paid her tab.”

Without looking up, he simply chuckled. “Chivalry — What the fuck is that?”