You’ve been here before haven’t you?
Yes I have.
Black this time. All black. Shoes, stockings or socks I can’t tell to the knees, black skirt above the knees, black sleeveless top. It sucks me in like a black hole. I tell her.
I like your style. It’s sucking me in like a black hole.
Thank you, she laughs, I don’t know whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing.
A good thing.
She takes me to my table. The seat is uncomfortable and the view mediocre. No matter, I read somewhere if you want to say or think anything worthwhile, sit uncomfortably or stand up or walk around outside or something. It sounded true.
Would you like anything to drink?
Not yet, I’ll look at the menu.
How drunk can I get? I thought. Make this whole night a game.
My table for one guards the entrance, my view stares at the highway. Across traffic I see someone watching the news in a small apartment and a building with the name Kingston. I search for a connection but fail to find one.
Have you decided yet?
I’d like your advice, I’m looking for something bubbly (yes, I said bubbly).
Well, not bubbly, fruity, fun, I’m feeling groovy, I’ve been eyeing off the Tiki Tiki.
She tells me good choice and puts it through.
Another girl delivers me a tall glass of pineapple, rum, ice and an unknown string of leaves remixed together.
Would you like to order food? She asks.
She doesn’t know my secret plan yet. I’m here to get a drunk as possible as fast as possible. See what happens.
But her professionalism takes over me and I answer not yet.
Pastel colours cover the walls. Light pink, light blue, paintings of flowers, curved spaces with arches you can sit under, nice shapes, high ceilings, welcoming. All of the staff except for one of the bartenders are beautiful women and the lone male is an attractive man. Dinner time nears so they’re darting around like bees who’ve discovered a fresh flower patch. And three sips into this pineapple rum combination that’s exactly how I feel. Like a pretty flower. Take me back to the hive and cover me in honey girls. I’m ready.
Would you like another?
So fast. I hadn’t given it a gram of thought. So I dodge. She recognized me when I walked in but I also recognized her.
You were lighter last time, I say.
Of course I did. Your outfits match the weather.
She looks outside, sees the rain. I’m used to this, where I’m from it’s like this all the time.
What’s your name?
I reach out my hand she takes it.
Firm handshake. She says.
I smile and go back to staring out the window.
Sitting alone provides ample time to think. I run over the myriad of efforts I’ve been involved in lately. The book, the studies, the girls, I smile when I think of the one coming to visit tomorrow. A novel I’m reading talked about love. And the dots connect. I conclude it’s all about timing (everything is about timing). Running back through my past I replay the events which led to love. If I hadn’t been there, if I hadn’t worked that job, if, if, if. And of course my events would have to line up with my lover’s events, like a dance, we’d have to come together, our steps matching, left foot, right foot, right foot, left. But like a dance you add more meaning to the steps you get wrong than the steps you get right, if one event between my lovers and I’s events went another direction, if the wind changed, the whole thing would’ve been different. This thought draws another smile across my face. A smile of discovery. Why? Because once such a thing would cause me much pain. The thought one of my lovers may perhaps loved someone else if the timing had been different. How foolish of me, of course they would! But the on the other half of the dichotomy: so would’ve I.
The menu finds itself back in my hands and I spy with my little eye a cocktail named Gone Girl.
And because of her eagle-like attention, Alex notices my eyes leering across the menu and whispers over my shoulder.
Yes I have.
I’ll get a Gone Girl please.
Oh good choice again.
It’s a habit. But only because there’s no Gone Boy.
Don’t worry you can get a pretty girl drink if you want to.
Are you saying I can be a pretty girl?
She laughs. You can be whatever you want to be baby.
I see a couple at dinner and get curious. I ask one of the waitresses drifting by, a blonde girl with ice blue eyes and a single braid running across the top of her head and to the back, what are they having? She tells me it’s their version of an espresso martini, with coconut milk not cow milk. One half of the couple pours their coconut milk into the black coffee abyss and I watch clouds of white suspend themselves throughout say it looks like a work of art. She smiles, asks would I like one. Coffee after 3pm? No thank you.
The Gone Girl arrives. Light pink and in a small glass. A mouthful at most. A $22 mouthful, in line with the times. I toast myself.
Sitting alone in a crowded area gives one the chance to play spectator. Outside and in. From one angle I’m watching patrons flood in and out, enjoy the night, eat the Asian cuisine this bar offers, talk about life’s occurrences and from the other angle I scrape the inner linings of my mind. I imagine myself walking a tightrope between loneliness and belonging between madness and sanity. And what a fine line it is. We’re all in the same moment but experiencing it differently. Some have come out for a reason, a birthday, a date, to celebrate a recent promotion. My reason? Like I said before. To see what happens. To walk the tightrope. The tightrope one walks when out alone without the safety net of a friend or group to return to or talk or laugh with if an awkward scenario between you and an attractive hostess occurs. What fun!
Halfway through the Gone Girl I decide to cancel my secret plan. I’m not a drinker. I haven’t eaten since breakfast. I’m getting drunk too fast. I laugh at myself for the third or fourth time in the night. Get a hold of yourself Charlie. Take up Alex’s offer to order food. Yes, you’re right. Good idea.
Alex buzzes over.
I’d like your advice.
I’m getting drunk too fast.
She laughs. The Gone Girl too much for you?
Would you like some food?
Yes. Something light. I need to be nimble tonight, adventure awaits. My instincts are telling me the Fire Cracker Chicken.
She tells me all the other dishes are share plates. I tell her I’m nailing these decisions. She laughs (a laugh I’ve since fallen in love with) and says yes, yes you are.
One key detail of this whole situation, my phone lays face planted on the table. In the past I’d feel its pull. Not now. Not tonight. Tonight I’ve bought the ticket and I’m taking the ride. Something will happen. Maybe it already has.
The efficiency of this establishment cements itself even further when a light blue plate slides in front of me. On it eighteen pieces of fried chicken in the shape of popped corn blow steam into my face. I remove the unnecessary greens, saying no thank you to myself, a garnish, I understand it but do not want it. This dish would be far better with a sauce. I decide to wave the cute icey-blue waitress over and ask her for some sauce while at the same time telling her how cute I thought she looked. But she’s busy elsewhere and before I know it I’m ten pieces of Fire Cracker Chicken deep.
Another (yes, another) girl walks in and she’s in all black too, black shoes, no stockings, black dress, a one piece and opposite to Alex’s curly brown locks short sharp straight blonde hair cascades down her neck, a stark contrast to the rest of her outfit. I’m a fan. We lock eyes and I glance away and glance back to see if it’s real and it is and I smile and she smiles before heading to her seat.
I confess. If it sounds like all I’m thinking about and seeing tonight is women, present or not present, it’s because it is. I’m a male in peak physical condition and I’ve decided not to argue with my biology. Actually, here’s what’s going through my mind: women, food, literature (the novel which captured me earlier), mathematics (a paper on machine learning) and of course the tightrope. The tightrope and timing. Everything is timing. If Alex hadn’t been working the last time I was here, would we have had the playful exchanges we’ve had so far? Maybe, maybe not.
Here you are.
The sauce I ended up asking for arrives but not from the icey-blue eyed blonde waitress from another.
Gone Girl done. Fire Cracker Chicken done. Another drink? Sure, why not. This time a gin and tonic. Any kind of gin? You choose. Okay. It arrives and I start thinking of where to catch the shoelace express to next.
Here we go.
Perfect timing. We made eyes before. Real eyes. Not a chance glance. A hey I see you and I know you see me too.
Blonde short hair and black dress shoes handbag girl. I must know her name.
Hey, I wave and call out, I’d like your advice on where I should go next.
Where you should go?
Yes. I’m a tourist.
I saw you before, are you by yourself?
I introduced myself. She did the same. Serene. Serene with her friend in the bathroom, Chloe. I committed the sin of forgetting her name as soon as she told me so I did the trick. Your friend’s name is Chloe and how did you pronounce yours?
I heard it and thought of the same thing I thought of the first time. Celine. And therefore Journey to the End of the Night: exactly what I’d be doing tonight. The pattern I’d been searching for shows itself and I smile.
I find Serene very attractive so I tell her.
Look at you. You look sensational. Everything matching from head to toe. Dress shoes handbag. You’re like a black hole sucking me in.
She isn’t as receptive as Alex to the recycled line (yes I reused it, sometimes I’m a fan of my work).
She giggled and I kept going.
Plus your hair, short, blonde, I gesture up and down. This contrast is on purpose.
Hah. Thank you, she touches her hair, this is new.
I smile rest my hand on her thigh turn and gesture to the entrance.
Well, I noticed it as soon as you walked in.
I saw you sitting here, I thought you were waiting for someone.
I was, I look around and back to Serene, waiting for you.
She laughs and slaps my shoulder.
Her phone lights up and she begins to walk outside, says hold on, I think our Uber’s here.
I watch Serene walk out towards the road through my window and when she turns around and sees me I poke my tongue at her. She returns the favour.
Chloe walks out joins Serene asks her something close to what’s going on.
I sip gin and tonic watch the girls conceive their master plan.
Serene points at me and Chloe follows her hand, I wave. She smiles and waves back.
Serene and Chloe turn back to face each other and I press my finger into my chest because Serene turns and asks do you want to join us?
I thought it was a girls night.
It is but now we’re inviting you.
Ho, ho, mischief is in the air! I think but don’t say.
I nod wave my hand signal I’m going to fix up the bill.
I down the rest of the gin. Stand up walk over to the counter, Alex floats by. I speak.
Can I pay please?
You sure can, how was everything?
She smiles starts dialling in numbers on the keypad, speaks.
You know I really admired you for coming out by yourself, I do it all the time, movies, dinners, cafes, it’s great.
Oh, I’d love to take you out.
She laughs, blushes, says thank you but sorry I’m seeing someone and we’ve just made it official.
Don’t be sorry, that’s exciting.
Another time and place.
I pay and leave with another honest compliment.
You’ve been running this place like a Japanese train station.
It’s true. Aside from the outfits, it’s what attracted me to Alex in the first place, anyone can dress nice, moving with grace under pressure takes skill.
Outside Chloe and Serene start quizzing me. Standard questions. What do you do for a living? I tell them and as I do my eyes meet Chloe’s. Goodness me, where have you been this whole night? I look down at her feet one's wrapped in a moon boot, I follow it up her tanned shins past her thighs see a white dress flowing up toward merino brown hair. A wounded mermaid in front of me. Our eyes meet again and hers move to my lips, permission without saying it. I pull her hips towards mine press my belly against hers breathe into my belly button thread the needle into hers. Our lips interleave and the thin layer of salt laid upon her philtrum by lashings of coastal air finds itself between my tastebuds. I pick her arms up put them above her head, place my hands the frills of her dress raise it above her shoulders watch her naked breasts bounce their way out revealling worn-in tan lines from days in the sun. She shimmies it free picks up base of my shirt lifts it up, I help her before discarding it to the curb. We kiss again, I rest my hand on her breast, squeeze soft, harder harder harder but not too hard. She leans back whips waves through her hair starts taking off her panties being ever so careful with her moon boot covered right leg. That’s when I see it. The inscription on her right hand. Six letters. C R E A T E. Her panties comes off I lift her hand to my eyes she watches me read it I look back in her eyes she glances at my chest jumps up wraps her thighs around me. I fill my hands with handfuls of her rump and pull her hips against mine. Sea Princess and Stallion come together. She pulls on my neck, our lips meet again and dance together before one of her hands crawls its way down my chest across my stomach and parks itself at the top of my pants. I guide it to where she wants it go. I’m rock hard she feels it and breaks our locked lips to show me a cheeky grin.
The Uber’s here!
Another time and place.
We get in. The driver tells me it’s an automatic door don’t touch. I hear him the third time. Serene calls me an idiot. Chloe turns around from the front seat to face Serene and I. Where are we going? She asks. Split, Serene says.
Serene and Chloe begin talking about their loves. Chloe just returned from a 10-day road trip with hers and wants some space. Serene tells her the cook called her again. Really? Yeah, the one with tattoos. You don’t like tattoos? I prefer clean skin guys. She turns to me. Do you have tattoos Charlie?
Did you not see me back there with my shirt of ravishing your friend? I think but don’t say.
Serene reaches for my wrist and flips over my arm. See you don’t have tattoos. I speak.
I’m against the trend these days.
Yes you are.
Chloe says her lover is out near the place we’re heading and Serene brings up another guy who’s been messaging her.
I’m part of the conversation but a fly on the wall at the same time. My naivety pokes its head out when I’m reminded girls talk about the inverse of what guys talk about when they’re alone. They’re talking about men like I’d talk about women if Chloe and Serene were replaced with two of my male friends.
I enjoy hearing the stories of their love lives but decide I’d much rather be part of it. I interrupt.
Girls, cancel your plans for the rest of the night we’re going back to my place.
Chloe and Serene look at me then back at each other. Through their silence I can hear the gears of decision making churning over. Mischief is in the air!
The Driver breaks the tension by opening the automatic doors. This time tells me twice. It’s an automatic door, you don’t have to touch it. Thank you sir.
Another time and place.
Serene runs around the car and takes my hand, says c’mon Charlie, the manager here loves me!
She walks in first says hello Stephanie, Stephanie says hello you and slaps Serene on the backside as she walks past. I see it happen and wait for my turn. Go on Stephanie, be careful though, I’ve been working on my glutes, you might hurt your hand. It doesn’t happen. I walk up to Serene, she asks did I see that? I say what, this? And I copy Stephanie and start playfully smacking the back of Serene’s black dress. Yes, that! I told you she loves me.
Serene expresses her desire for Tequila shots. I tell her no thank you, I gave up shoting two years ago. Shoting alcohol has two purposes. The first, catching up to the level of intoxication of your friends (to even the playing field). The second, to fast forward oneself to oblivion. For me, it’s usually the latter and I’d decided earlier I’d like to remember tonight.
George comes over (I know his name’s George because Serene introduces us). My caveman instincts kick in.
Am I going to have to fight George to the death for these women?
I’m wearing a nice shirt. If I went down (unlikely), at least I’d look good. Is George a threat? No. George is a good guy. Me caveman me insecure me worried George take pretty girls therefore me sad me become defensive. The tightrope. Turns out George has a girlfriend. Relief. Going to the casino later? He asks. Sure, I say. George and I would get along. Play poker together flirt with the dealer. Previous enemies make the best of friends.
Tequila shots happen. Another guy comes over talks to Chloe. She’s polite enough to act interested. He’s saying too much and not as good looking as George so my insecurities don’t flare up.
We split from Split (lame line, get over it). Next place is two doors down. Called Line not Lime. Wouldn’t believe how many attempts it took me to get that. I’m a tourist but two weeks ago I saw a guy put a cigarette out on a bald guy’s head here. Because the bald guy sat himself on the bonnet of a car spread eagle rubbing his crotch telling a girl come on baby you know we’ve got a connection. Too strong. Plus, the girl’s finance was inside and cigarette guy knew this.
Everyone inside knows Chloe and Serene. Chloe says they’re a big family here. I’ve heard that before. It never works out well. Like when you walk into an office for a job interview. If the interviewer tells you we’re all a big family here, leave. Still haven’t decided whether I’m part of the night or a stray dog following the first two passerby’s to offer pats.
I hand Chloe my card. Tell her buy three of whatever, I’m taking a piss. Bathroom is familiar, might’ve vomited here last time.
Back at the bar. Chloe hasn’t ordered yet, conversing with the bartender, also from Canada. I watch the family get bigger and order for us all. Chloe and Serene say thank you.
A girl with purple hair tells us about her cats, they were friends growing up now they’re teenagers and they hate each other. Circle of life.
An older gentleman quizzes me on my tourist status. But you only live 90-minutes away he says. Yeah, I’m not from here. I guess you’re right.
Chloe tells me about her rabbits, not hers her lovers, she takes care of them for him. So you’re not together? No. But you take care of the rabbits you got him as a gift because you thought he needed something to take care of? Yes. Got it.
She had a full ride scholarship to university but decided screw that and left Canada when she was 17. She’s 21 now and only been back twice. Now trying to study business and marketing, runs the Instagram pages for nine bars in the area.
I had to commute two hours every day to school last year, she says.
I ask, why the hell would you do that?
Serious talk, we need a change. I look at her arm. Bracelets galore.
Tell me about these.
One from a waterpark, another from another waterpark. Short stints. An excuse to work on the tan whilst earning cash to fill the van. The life of a traveller is a flywheel between broke and adventure.
Showcasing the next bracelet reveals a tattoo. I get the feeling I’ve seen it before. I skip the rest of the bracelets and lift her hand towards my eyes to study it. The letters C R E A T E between the base of her thumb and start of her wrist. Why is this familiar? Did I dream this Sea Princess standing here, standing here right in front of me in her flowing white dress and visible tan lines on her bra-less cleavage?
What’s this? I ask.
I ask for what without saying. She continues.
Memories, art, music, paintings, adventures, fun. Everything. Create everything.
Run away with me.
Run away with me.
We’ll figure it out.
I let go of her hand and break eye contact.
Another time and place.
Serene tells me they’ve got to ditch me. Someone gave them tickets to a show later tonight. Two tickets but plus Charlie equals three. And there’s a house party before that. Sure. She gives me tips on where to go next. Split will be good or the Floating Ram. Younger crowd there.
They wait for an Uber. Run into another group of guys talk to them about the night ask where’s Trevor? Judging by their reactions, Trevor’s playing Houdini.
An ice-cream store presents itself. I walk in. Ask for two scoops please. Pineapple and vanilla. Here you go. Thank you.
My night should’ve ended there. Double scooping ice-cream watching people scattering between bars.
But it didn’t.
Serene breaks away from Chloe and the new crowd of guys sees me heaving scoops of frozen milk and sugar into my mouth. She walks over bends down and takes a good lick. I speak.
You’ve done that before haven’t you.
She giggles and shrugs her shoulders.
Their ride arrives and we hug and kiss and tell each other to have good lives.
At another bar. Rooftop. Packed, not a seat anywhere security tells me to get back from there stay in this area. Okay. I see an opening. Mind if I climb over you and sit there girls? Sure. I stare out the window and sip the $18 recommended beverage of choice. The times.
A table frees up. A large one. I decide it’s mine. I climb over the girls table and sit down. People look at me and say with their eyes is he really sitting there by himself? Or maybe they’re enjoying their night and I’m once again thinking others think about me as much as I think about me.
Can we sit here? Three guys ask.
Jean-Michel (it took me four goes to hear this through the music, am I deaf? Perhaps...), Brett and Billy. Two from Canada one from England. They met on the road at a farm which harvests lambs. You have to separate them from the mother, put them in a cage, cut their tail off, split the skin above their ass so they don’t shit all over themselves get infected and die. Some are born with both genitals.
What happens then?
You have to slit their throats. Otherwise they’ll shit and piss all over the other set of genitals, get infected and die.
What do you do now?
We pick tomatoes.
An interesting change of pace. Surrounded by beautiful women to surrounded by tomato-picking butchers. Circle of life.
We look around and notice the lack of women. Therefore we walk across the road to another bar. I do a recon lap. Nothing. And by nothing I mean no women, again. Plenty of gambling machines but no women.
Billy tells me of the girl he’s been seeing long distance for over a year. An airborne virus wreaking havoc around the world means they haven’t seen each other in 10-months. Jesus Christ, you’ve got a pen pal not a girlfriend. He laughs in agreement.
A drunk girl in a cowboy hat comes over introduces herself, Brooklyn, like the place in New York. Nice to meet you Brooklyn. How old do you think I am? She asks. A loaded question. Better go large. A million? No, don’t be silly! Okay, two million?
Brooklyn’s friend comes back from the bathroom and collects her. I kiss my fingers and point them up to the roof. Thank the big man.
In our search for women, me and the boys find ourselves on the way to a third bar. On the way there I’m regaled stories from the lamb farm. They tell me about the type of operators they’d split the backsides of newborn sheep with. One guy misplaced all except three teeth would eat nothing but lollies worked like a one armed bricklayer in Baghdad and aged in dog years (he looked 37 but was 19). Wow, I said, I buy free range eggs and use moisturiser.
Strange guy appears. Same haircut as me. Good taste. But does that make me strange? He reaches his hand out to say hello but doesn’t. Starts chanting instead. DUHHHHHH, DUHHHHHHHHHH, DUHHHHHHHHHHHHH! At first it seems like a joke. But after a DUHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH with 18 H’s we realise it isn’t. Strange guy is really chanting DUHHHHHH. The DUHHHHHH’s start to become aggressive, almost like they’ve got a G in them somewhere. What is this night God? You’ve thrown me a few bones. Is this another man I’m going to have to fight to the death? I think about choking him out. Cut the DUHHHHHH’s off for a few seconds whilst we walk away. Thankfully, he stops on his own. Therefore we keep walking and look at each other trying to make sense of what just happened. No answers.
Billy gets an old fashion, begins ranting to me about how life shouldn’t be all work.
It’s bullshit, 40-60 hours per week for 40 years and then I die? That’s not me man.
I nod look to the left back at him. He keeps going.
I prefer two to three days per week and then relaxing the rest of the time. What if I wanted to learn piano? When do I do that if I’m always working?
I listen but don’t speak, think music to my ears Billy, just don’t ask me what I do.
I see a girl dancing. Covered head to toe in sweat. It turns me on. She’s let go. Moving like wild animal. Owning the space around her. Zero regard for onlookers. In her own world and I like it. That’s what I’m most attracted to. Confidence. Authenticity to be oneself is the most attractive trait because it’s the rarest. I feel like going right up to her. Namaste baby. The spirit in me recognises the spirit in you.
The boys show me a photo of some guy they don’t like. He sort of looks like me. Fuck. Thankfully they don’t make the connection and I’m still welcome at the table.
Things start shutting down. Waitstaff and security begin ushering people out. I made the mistake earlier of telling the boys I’m staying in an apartment by myself. We’ll come back to yours then? No no no no no no.
You can feel the energy in the air outside. A cluster of hormones and loneliness. The same tension before a fight breaks out. Large numbers of young men with high levels of testosterone many of who haven’t found a mate for the night. Each one walking a tight rope between containing it and unleashing it on the closet DUHHHHHH guy. My year 11 physics teacher said it best. Energy has to go somewhere.
At this stage a lone woman may have half a dozen or more drunken males lusting after her. I experience this first hand when a girl in a white top and cream skirt asks where I’m going. I tell her home, my night crossed the finish line an hour ago. When I do, another guy answers. He tells her him and his friends are going to the bar me and the boys were at before, the one full of gambling machines. They playfully converse before she denies his offer and therefore returns to me. How are you getting home? She asks.
I’m catching the shoelace express.
Oh, she pauses, do you want to have a running race?
We race. I win. Easily. One of the perks of being exceptionally fit. You can compete in a physical challenge on request and offer healthy competition.
What’s you name? I ask.
Jordi, she answers between puffs of breath (my exhales wouldn’t blow out a candle).
Where are you going?
She says the same place we were before. The place with plenty of gambling machines and no women.
How about you?
I think about inviting her but decide against it.
The boys catch up. Ask how the race went and where’d that girl go? I tell them I won and point to Jordi walking away. Why didn’t you tell her to come with us? I break the news.
I’m done fellas. Great to meet you all.
Because we’d cut ties I resumed my preferred state. What I’d started the night as: a free agent.
And therefore began the part of the night I most looked forward to: the walk home. A chance to replay and relive the events of the night. Try to assign meaning where I could instead of everything being random (which it was) think of the girl coming to visit me tomorrow. She called earlier. Asked if I’d written anything else about her. Not yet. Give me some material you cheeky little shit. You think this stuff appears out of thin air?
I cross the street and walk through the construction before noticing a mirage up ahead. A mirage Charlie? You’re not that drunk am you? I rub my eyes.
It’s not a mirage. A woman in a white sparkle-covered dress walks in front of me pulling her skirt up to reveal a cherry red g-string separating her ass cheeks.
Oh Jesus. Why’d she have to appear? Just as I was doing so well.
She keeps walking. Lifts her skirt higher. Her saunter turns into a sultry strut. She deadlifts or squats or does stair climbs or hill sprints every Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday (leaving enough time to rest). Her chiseled glutes draw me in like the gravity of Jupiter. I get an erection for the eleventh or twelfth time in the night push it to the side hide it in the elastic of my pants. That’s it I thought. This whole night has been a test. Oh so you want to go out without underwear on? Let your reproductive organs hang free? Well, here’s a plethora of sensational women. Good luck.
Her hips bop from side to side like a buoy hopping between waves. She knows what she’s doing but doesn’t know I’ve got front row seats. Like the naked dance you do for yourself in the shower without knowing about your perving neighbours.
I think about inviting her home. Bending her over the balcony sliding her bright red g-string to the side and exchanging salty bodily fluids whilst looking over the ocean. Moses parted the Red Sea? Charlie parted the red string. Live out the Sea Princess fantasy I dreamed of earlier. Our offspring will rebuild Atlantis. Ask the sky, did I pass the test yet?
She gets near the corner and a man with a smartphone walks out of the bushes. The target audience of her performance. His lens captures her bend at the hips followed by an inviting dress shake. My presence remains unknown until she stands back up twirls around. I’m far enough away not to be intruding but close enough for her to see my smirk. She pulls down her dress smiles and pops hinting at the fact she wanted to be caught. It makes complete sense to me. Else why do such an act? The chance of getting caught is what makes it fun.
Cameraman from the bushes puts his arm around the girl they turn the corner she looks back and yells out an apology and with it my Sea Princess fantasy fades.
Another time and place.
I punch in the door code walk in press the button on the wall flop on the bed watch the fan spin up. Think of how the word create will never be the same for me. Think of the girl coming to visit tomorrow and subsequently feel a bolt of excitement shoot through me. The conversation plays itself out in my head. You went out by yourself? Yes. And met all those people? Yes.
The girl doesn’t show. I call. No answer. Again. No answer. A third time? No. Another tightrope. Between coy and not coy enough. I’ll wait a week.
A week happens.
I call. Leave a message. You haven’t been cut up and put in a barrel have you (inside joke, relax)? If not, I’d like to see you.
Another time and place.
You think I won’t try again? C'mon you're smarter than that.
She answers. Tells me she’s been absent. Worked the past 34 days in a row. I ask, why the hell would you do that? And she tells me. Finally. Some material.