At one point, a newcomer to the Bar makes his way through the crowd at the bar and flags me down. "I'll have a False Start," he shouts.
"I don't know that one," I admit for the first time in months, and I lean forward.
"Oh, it's a great wintertime drink," he says. "A shot of bourbon, half a shot of apple brandy, and the juice of half a lemon in a rocks glass, fill with apple cider, neat."
"That does sound good. Coming right up!"
While I mix, Mario, who's been listening, asks the newcomer why it's called a False Start. He shrugs. "I have no idea. Maybe because football season is good weather for it?"
Angelo says, "There should be other drinks named after penalties. Hey, Debra, I'll have an Offsides!"
"And I'll have a Delay of Game," adds Mario.
Newcomer laughs and quickly joins in. "A Pass Interference, barkeep, and make it a double!" The three men laugh.
Jocelyn, who's passing by with some beers, asks what's so funny, and Mario explains. Without missing a beat, she says, "I'll have a Facemask with a twist," and the men start laughing again.
As I start to hand the newcomer his drink, he invites me to have a taste, so I grab a straw and oblige him. It's good, all right - and even though it's not heated up, it has a warm feel to it. Mario and Angelo quickly include Newcomer in their conversation, and I move off to serve some other customers.
When I return to check on them a little while later, they order a round of False Starts, and it's obvious from his smile that Newcomer feels pretty welcome. A couple of rounds later, I learn that his name is Sean, and he's visiting from Florida for Sunday's Giants vs. Eagles football game, and staying in a hotel nearby. He's from New York originally, and he's been meeting a friend from Philadelphia at the game every year since they graduated from college a couple of decades ago.
"So you fly all the way up from Florida for a football game, and he just has to drive up from Philadelphia?" Angelo asks.
"Not exactly," says Sean. "He moved to New Mexico a while back. I think I have the better end of this deal."
Mario whistles. "That's a hell of a football rivalry."
"It's a hell of a friendship," nods Sean.
There's a loud crash from the back of the Bar near the bathrooms, and Vince goes scurrying to find out what's happened. Before long, we can hear cheering. Vince reappears, carefully guiding a woman with him who's holding something to her head, not walking very well, and - well - half-naked. He steers her off to the back room, where we keep our first-aid kit. A moment later, a small crowd emerges from the back of the Bar, with one man in the front struggling to pull his pants up as he walks. A few men around him are clapping or patting him on the shoulder.
One of the men approaches the bar, and after he orders, I ask him what happened. "Oh, they were getting it on in the ladies' room on a dare, and the stall broke. I think she cut her forehead or something, I'm sure it's nothing."
"The stall broke?! What the hell were they doing?"
He grins. "Do you want a description or a demonstration?" I shake my head in disgust and go retrieve his three bottles of Bud. After he's paid - and left me a massive one dollar tip - I explain to Mario, Angelo, and Sean what apparently happened.
"Dude, sex in a stall in the ladies' room of a bar? That's an Illegal Formation, or at least Illegal Use of Hands," Angelo says.
"He was well on his way to Encroachment," adds Mario, and the men start laughing.
"If she's underage, make it Illegal Receiver Downfield," responds Angelo.
Sean adds, "A gang-bang makes it Too Many Men on the Field."
I decide to try one. "If she's a prude, it could be an Illegal Block Above the Waist." The laughter kind of dies out, and it's clear from the looks on their faces that I didn't quite hit my mark. I shrug. "Spearing?" The men start laughing again, and I smile and wander off to the back room to see if Vince needs any help.