He walked into the dimly lit bar and heard Journey’s “Open Arms” playing over the speakers. He immediately began to relax a little.
The bartender looked up, “Back again?”
“Yeah. For a while,” he replied.
“Care for another?”
“Sure,” he said. “Let’s live dangerously.”
The bartender passed him a large glass full of clear liquid and ice.
He continued on to a corner booth. He tossed his courier bag – which he continues to this day to explain “isn’t a man purse” – onto the seat. He slid in next to it. He put his Blackberry on the table in front of him.
He loosened his tie and unbuttoned his top button. As he ran his hand threw his hair, he got the feeling that he was being watched. He turned to his right and saw her.
“Holy sweet crap,” he thought to himself.
“Holy sweet crap.”
“Did I just say that out loud?” He wondered.
“I’m sorry, did you say something?” She looked confused.
“No. Sorry. Just thinking out loud,” he scrambled.
Saying that she was hot would not give you the entire picture. She had the cute hotness that is oh so rare. Like the girl next door that you spend a lifetime crushing on.
“So, how are you fixed for insurance?” She asked.
“Funny you should mention, I’m actually a–,” he started to figure it out. “You were at the conference too.”
She smiled. “I was. But, I wasn’t the one playing Tetris on my Blackberry the entire time.”
“How did you…? Would you care to join me?”
“I suppose I could,” she said as she grabbed her courier bag and slid into the seat across from him. She put her own Blackberry – identical to his – on the table.
He smiled when he saw it.
And he almost gasped when he saw her close up.
She tucked her shoulder-length dirty blonde hair behind her left ear and flashed him a grin that erased 3/5 of his long-term memory. She had the faintest little freckles under her eyes. He would have signed his 401K over to her on the spot.
“So, of all the gin joints, what brings you into this one?” She inquired.
“My flight has been postponed. Bad weather in the Bay area.”
“You’re from the Bay?” She was generally excited. “Which side? I’m from San Fran.”
“I’m from Oakland.”
“So, a super dope homeboy from the Oaktown.”
“That’s actually what it says on my business card.” He feigned reaching for one.
“Nice…,” she nodded. “So other than inviting strange women to join you in bars, what do you do for fun? Not that the exciting life an insurance salesmen isn’t enough for anyone…”
“Oh, of course. Between fighting off insurance groupies, and the rampant, rampant drug use, I like to play guitar. You?”
“Well, the drugs are a given,” she began without cracking a smile. “I paint.”
“What kind of stuff?”
“Mostly nudes of deceased world leaders,” she replied.
He stopped and stared. He opened his mouth and then closed it again.
Finally he muttered, “Are you serious?”
He wondered how long you had to know someone before proposing.
Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After Time” began playing on the speakers.
“Ooooh!,” she almost jumped out of her seat. “I LOVE this song.”
She began singing along,
Sometimes you picture me —
I’m walking too far ahead.
You’re calling to me,
I can’t hear what you’ve said–
Then you say — go slow —
I fall behind–
The second hand unwinds
He lightly drummed on the table and swayed his head in time with her singing.
She continued with the chorus,
If you’re lost you can look–
and you will find me.
Time after time.
If you fall I will catch you–
I’ll be waiting.
Time after time
She then noticed some 30 something ex-sorority girls/current soccer moms looking at her strangely. She flashed him a “what the hell is their problem?” look and continued without missing a beat,
After my picture fades
and darkness has turned to gray.
Watching through windows —
you’re wondering if I’m OK.
Secrets stolen from deep inside.
The drum beats out of time —
She noticed that he had lit a lighter and was waving it back and forth over his head. She giggled like mad.
“That was awesome,” he gushed.
“Oh, shut it,” she laughed.
“Okay, fella. If I hadn’t talked to you first, would you have approached me?”
“Maybe,” he said hesitantly. “You could have been some sort of psycho.”
“I could still be.”
“If you had approached me, what would your line have been?”
“I’m not much of a line guy.”
“Oh, you aren’t a “I don’t really have a line” guy, are you?”
“No. I honestly don’t have a line. Do you?”
“Line… Why would I need a line? I’m a cute girl! Come on.”
“Give me your best line right now,” she insisted. “And if it involves mirrors in my pants, or my father having been a thief, I’m probably going to slug you.”
“Fair enough.” He thought about it. “I guess I’d have said something like… Christopher Morely once said, ‘In every man’s heart there is a secret nerve that answers to the vibrations of beauty’ and that mine was answering loudly tonight.”
She thought for a moment. “Damn… That’s not bad.”
“It works on insurance groupies,” he smiled.
His Blackberry chirped. He took a quick peek.
“Fantasy football trade offer… And a crappy one at that.”
“My team sucked last year,” she said wistfully.
“Are you a football fan?”
“All sports really. My dad wanted a macho sports-playing son.”
“Sadly so did mine,” he commiserated.
Their eyes met. Locked really. He had never felt this feeling before, but he knew he never wanted it to end. He could sense that she was feeling it to.
“So,” she said, trying to change the subject. “Football team…?”
“Niners,” she countered. “Baseball?”
“Of course… Giants for me.”
“Naturally,” he nodded. Still captivated by her freckles.
“Warriors,” he said proudly.
“I’m actually a New York Knicks fan,” she said.
He stared at her for a moment. Then, without a word, he picked up his courier bag and Blackberry and headed for the door.
He mumbled to the bartender as he walked by, “I hate the frigging Knicks.”