Raucous laughter echoed off the brick walls of the alley. It was a Friday night, and the pizza parlor's customers who had been seated outside had retreated inside when it began drizzling. All but one group of friends who had stayed out, thanking the waiter who erected a large umbrella over them.
The conversation was fast, varied, and split between smiles and cheering. Even when it turned darker with discussion of death and religion, the humor kept flowing nearly in sync with the rounds of drinks. Taking turns, they each ordered for the table; then would wait for the others to figure out what they were drinking. The simple game stoked conversation between people who didn't often talk, and soon enough, everyone was feeling friendly.
After the sixth round of drinks was ordered they were surprised to see the bartender come outside.
"Is it alright with you all if I do a half-pour?"
She stood looking at their surprised faces, as the laughter stopped and they exchanged glances. Unsure of what to do, one offered a trepidacious affirmative. The bartender raised her hands and smiled::
"We just want everyone to be safe when they leave, are any of you driving?"
Raising their eyebrows, the group shifted in their seats and told her that they were all walking, but that she should do whatever she was comfortable with. As she stepped inside, the group picked their conversation back up and soon enough he drink-chooser came back to the table with a flight of beers in hand. Smiling mischievously, he informed them how she had given them just a little more than a half pour. Laughing, the friends raised their glasses and pondered a cheers.
"To worrying the bartender!"