Floor 81 is a bar is a beach with silky white sand, an island in the Caribbean. Once in a while, a patron comes up with a theory for how they get the entire place to smell like sea spray. Once, a Turkish businessman hurled himself out a window. From then on it was glass, reinforced glass to keep the animals in. Some say that he’d been drunk, saw himself all snug in a wetsuit and ready to plunge into the surf, into the waves. Briefcase tucked under his arm like a surfboard. Before anyone saw him he was flying, flew 81 floors down on the breath of a dream.
Curtis likes telling that story, especially when he’s on floor 81 himself, digging his toes into the sand. He likes telling it because it isn’t true. He’s been telling it since they installed the glass (tinted) to keep the underbelly of the city from showing. The city had begun to bleed, couldn’t keep its innards from spilling out. It wasn’t just the vermin, covered in grime and concrete dust which made them look like so many starved, skeletal golems. It wasn’t just the dead plants and the dying trees and the distant lowing of sickly livestock. Human nature was clogging the arteries of the city.
Sometimes, July goes to floor 81. He knows how much the bartender hates it when he tries to order tea, but it’s become their thing, somehow. New patrons who end up coming back often enough will soon learn that no tea is served on floor 81, and all July wants is just a piña colada.