Monday, April 25, 2005

A night to remember

There wouldn't be much sense in reporting this incident before what happened when my watch had shown 7:35. Well, it never showed me that time ever again. A few minutes after that, the Boslom Annual "God-Knows-Why" Party was immersed in one of those typical San Diego power outages.
Richard Boslom, was the first to speak after the religiously dispensed shrieks subsided.
"Gang, please be calm," he boomed. You would forgive him had you known that he addressed his mother's funeral party as "Gang" too
A shriek followed. "Behave yourself, whoever you are." The voice belonged to Mrs. Thorpe, unless a talking parrot with a sore throat had flown in unnoticed (which shouldn't have been so difficult in this black labyrinth). She always had this fear that someone would take advantage of her "hapless disposition" and "disturb her modesty" as she was so oft heard saying. God alone knows that Gregory Thorpe was (and I am sure that it is a matter of the past) forced to the daily exercise of protecting disturbance of his own modesty. I was certain there wasn't even a blind fly anywhere close to the satin gown that draped her pencil thin frame.
Cellphones rang with least respect to rhythm, and as darkness is popularly known to accentuate, the discordant notes provided the apposite background score for this scene.
People talked with people they believed were standing next to them. I headed in the direction of the bar. The caution exercised would have made a surgeon seem like a carpenter. In spite of all the care I could muster, I occasionally bumped into some flesh and bone wrapped in skin & some portions that I wouldn't be caught staring in broad daylight. I finally managed my expedition to lead me to an empty stool and now I shall detail the most exciting side of that darkness which, even enveloped itself.
"Anyone here?"
"Yes, Sir. How can I help you?"
"A dry martini, please." I paused before I continued,"Can you find the stuff?"
"No problem, Sir. In a moment."
I heard some glassy tunes followed by a metallic cadenza. This was music, not those noises ringing all over (or at least in my head). Then I heard soft gin, alternating between splashing against ice, and the sides of the shaker. I could have danced to the mellowed "slush, slush".
"Here you are, Sir."
I groped in the dark before asking him, "Ummm, could you help me find it? I don't want to topple it over."
Suddenly I heard some tapping start to the left of me.
"Can you hear that Sir?"
"Oh! Yes."
"Extend your left hand towards it."
I did. I jolted when a cold, damp hand held mine and slowly pushed it down the table. It must have been the shaker that turned it so cold. My hand was practically numb before he pushed a colder glass into my hand, with his other hand.
"That's it, Sir."
"Cool. Nice idea. You are pretty smart, young man." At my age, any other man who could stand had to be a young man.
"Thank you, Sir."
He was still holding my hand (unless it was the hangover of the ride across the table) when I heard bodies pile into the stools beside me.
"Bartender, could you make us two Guinness and leave? Is there anyone else here?"
I squeezed his hand.
"No, Sir. I'll get your drinks."
I tried hard not to slurp on my drink.
"Sir, your drinks."
"Thanks. Now would you .... please ....."
"I'll leave, Sir. Have a nice evening."
Silence prevailed for what seemed like eternity.
"Who's there?"
I nearly spat my drink out. Gathering myself with a rapidity, which, in retrospect, was astonishing. I stopped my heart long enough to assure him that there was no one unwanted around him. Had I stopped it any longer, there wouldn't be anyone alive around him. Before I proceed, I would like to issue an explanation. Gentlemanliness was defined and accepted in broad daylight. Nothing was mentioned as requisite of being a gentleman in such unlit surroundings. Hence, it doesn't do wrong to overhear such conversation and report it to the eagerly awaiting mass. No tache' to a gentleman who can't be recognised.
So, let us continue. After convincing himself that there was no one around, he turned his attention to the person beside him on the other side.
"Cherrie, please understand. I love you. Why do you think I take pains to explain this to you?"
"Hmmm."
"It is just a matter of weeks before she delivers that baby. Then, I will try to file for divorce. She suspects something; else she wouldn't have let the baby come into the picture. She's putting pressure on us. But I am smarter, yes, I am. Let the baby plop out and I'll divorce her."
"Hmmm."
The lady must have enjoyed her Guinness enough to not waste time putting her acknowledgement in words, unless the promise of excitement left her speechless.
"I hate her, that little wretch. Susan, I hate you. I hate you, Susan. God, I would love to walk up to her right now and tell her that. Doctors say no stress now, but I want to tell her that. Ooooh! You are quite wild tonight. Can't wait to get back home, huh? This is the perfect time, too, honey. Come to me now. Yes!"
Thereafter, the words and sounds demand censure, inconsequential of the luminosity of the place. I cannot put to words what followed, but for the excited soul, I have just this to say-- they were noisy and have only the cellphone tones to thank for suitably annulling those carnal tones beside me. Well, I can't deny that after a long time, I had had a memorable evening. It was all well and dramatic and close to the end, if you know what I mean, when I was interrupted thus.
"A whisky please."
"Damn", is all that I could say.
"Damn", said the man on the floor.
The darkness spoke silence for the next few seconds.
"Hello! Is the bartender there?"
"Yes, ma'am."
"Damn", is all that I could say.
"Damn", said the man on the floor.
"Get me a whiskey then."
"On its way, ma'am."
I heard him pour the drink. I could also hear the rustling sounds of people reentering their customary garb.
"Here, ma'am."
"Whisky, whisky, go down to my pit, and when you do, let the room be alit."
Then the intruder burst out laughing at her own sorry excuse for poetry. I simply smacked my forehead.
"Cherrie?"
"Arnold? Where have you been? I was looking, rather feeling all over the place for you."
"Yes, but if you are there, then who is here?"
It was time for me to slip away. I rose from my stool and managed one step before the intruder said, "Who is where? Let me finish my drink."
May wonders never cease, for scarcely had she replaced her glass on the table and the lights came on. So here I was between a woman called Cherrie, a man called Arnold and Mrs. Thorpe to his right.
"Mrs. Thorpe?"
"You were wonderful, Arnie baby."
"Get away from me."
"What does she mean, you were wonderful Arnie baby?"
It was uncomfortable to be the only one who wasn't speaking anything but so in the midst of things. I wanted to leave, but deemed fit not to come in the line of fire.
"I'll explain Cherrie", and he got up, only to be pulled back by Mrs. Thorpe.
"Cherrie, I thought she was you and ..."
"You thought this thing was me?"
"No sweetie, he's lying. He was all Amanda this and Amanda that on the floor."
"Goodbye Arnold. I knew it. I knew you were scum."
"Listen Cherrie, please ...."
He was running after her with Mrs. Thorpe attaching herself to an arm of his.
The rest forms the predictable stuff that sells millions in the name of romance novels. At the following Boslom Annual "God-Knows-Why" party, I heard that Arnold and Susan were divorced. Gregory Thorpe was seen often with a woman called Cherrie, but it is difficult to ascertain whether it was the same whisky-poetess. Mrs. Thorpe, with her modesty disturbed so thoroughly, had managed to trade Arnold's peace for his personal trainer. Arnold has taken a part time job as an electrician, and assures his customers that they wouldn't face a blackout while he serviced their house.
But these details are of little importance. Why I relate this incident to you is, please be on the lookout for a suave bartender wearing a silver Rolex with a "H.G." inscribed on the underside. In case the lights go out and you hear tapping, don't move your hand towards him; run.

7 comments:

  1. I won't mention the dance of words. You already know which ones do and how. I liked the way the story developed. What I liked even more is the way your language gels with the "English" names.

    Thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

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  2. Eroteme,
    Pretty neat indeed, however I felt somewhat lost in the middle of the story, around the time when the lady comes up to the bar and asks for a whiskey. Maybe it was me reading the story in a hurry. You definitely have the talent to spin a yarn.

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  3. Anonymous3:40 AM

    Greetings E…Hope u’r doing well…

    I must tell you, u made most of the dictionary (on the lighter side plz ;)…pretty neat, I like the way you narrate things (though I was faintly reminded of M&B…)
    By the way, are u particularly interested in blank black pictures…just wondering…

    Good job…keep it going & count me in for the rest of the week

    Cheers,
    Roomie of ‘punk & a half’

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  4. Dear M,
    Thank you. I still consider it unfair on your part to not share with me what you found (in particular) interesting... :-( But I really can't demand much of Her Highness!

    Dear SS,
    Thank you too. I agree. That portion can get a little confusing because I had intentionally sropped the "he said" "she said" stuff and let the dialogue reveal the character...

    Dear "Roomie of punk-n-a-half" (aka S)
    Thanks for stopping by. No thank for comparing me to M&B (well, all the M and Bs I can think of aren't interesting writers to me!) :-( Why don't you just borrow a shotgun and shoot me before you likened my writing to THAT?
    Well, that blank black picture was taken at the party once the lights went out. The flash didn't quite work as expected ;-)
    Yeah yeah yeah. First call M&B-esque and then say "Good job" :-))
    Jus' kidding. Thanks for your comments...

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  5. Hi eroteme, I can see you have gone ahead with your timetable quite successfully. You know what kind of comment am I going to make for that story. I guess it included an aura of suspense and mystery as well.Well sequenced events,and a funny conclusion. Is it to elucidate that a man pining for too much does not get anything? just a subjective thought.

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  6. Hi Amrita,
    Actually I was surprised I was able to stick to my schedule. This must be the first time in my life that I have done so... or maybe not. I am not sure whether I want to post Friday's post (as you might have noticed I have struck out the plan)... Not sure.
    No. This is one of the only pieces of I have written without letting a single element of philosophy creep in. There are no hidden messages and no morals. Plain simple story!

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  7. Parvati10:47 PM

    You bring this American or the British or the European feel or for that matter the Indian texture, to a particular story in an uncanny manner, that one finds it truly impossible to place the country or the nation the writer belongs to; of course writings on India can never be written so by a non-Indian. So these sorta give you away..

    Very well written, quite sinful and funny and a slightly disgusting story! Of course with a good scream worthy end!!!

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