“I think that’s probably it for me”, Paul turned to his left and put out his cigarette in his beer. It flew in at an angle with a hiss and stuck to the side of the glass. A bearded drunk from two stools down looked on at the waste of beer with a mixture of disgust and calculated longing as though he was asking himself the question, “how much do I hate my insides right now”?
Paul hopped off the stool with more composure than a man who has been in a bar all night should have. He looked to his companion and asked the question she’d been waiting for all night, “do you want to come back with me and see my etchings”?
She nervously laughed and smiled, this was it she thought. She could become a hero tonight – if only she kept playing it cool – she instantly remembered herself and tried to forget the seven gins and tonic* she had drunk. She tottered off of her stool, but in a calculated way so that she was slightly off balance on her heels. She was exactly as off balance as she needed to be so that he could catch her if he was suave enough but that if he didn’t notice she wouldn’t fall flat on her face.
He noticed and rebalanced her. She laughed and flicked her head back so that he saw her smile, her cleavage heave and so that her hair just barely brushed against his ear. He grinned and said, “okay lets get in that cab”.
They walked outside and the cool air cleared their heads faster than a turd clears a swimming pool. A taxi was floating past, Paul whistled and she put her hand out. The cab stopped and Paul whispered, and then shouted, his address to the mildly deaf taxi driver. They got in and squeaked into the leatherette chairs while the soothing sounds of the Eagles plagued havoc with their emotions.
They drove for what felt like ten minutes and eleven minutes later they were standing outside Paul’s place.
“Would you like to come up,” Paul knew exactly what to say.
“Yes,” she said, “I’ve always been fascinated to see a loft apartment”.
“Well don’t get too excited, it’s just like any other kind of place”.
“Except,” she whispered into his ear, “that it’s at the top of the pile. Kinda like you Paul”.
They both walked up the stairs uneventfully, and as they reached the top Paul turned and said, “this is it”.
Martha took her gun from her purse, pointed it at Paul, and said, “in a very real sense, that’s true”.
Dum, Dum, Dulallalalaallala! Will Paul be shot? What’s Martha’s agenda? Will Paul ever get to show Martha his etchings? Tune in next Friday…
* I know it looks weird, but it is right.