Monday, March 31, 2008

West End Vignette

She looks at the man at the bar. It is a skeptical look, though slightly roused to suspicion. She is almost at the point of pondering, she is almost at the point of asking to herself and to others, why am I here? Why are these people taking an interest in me? She is thinking of the relationship that she has with herself, her sister, who she can trust, and a guy - a real character - who is a man on the make and she likes that about him.

"If I say yes, then there is an expectation that this could come to something." She shrugs. "I'm tired."

"Are you likely to be in the biz ness of making this attempt to make something of your life."

He was persistent, he had no, (or very few) options left; it had been quite a time. Forever.

"Are you saying that I am not making something of my life?"

Now he knew that he was in trouble. He had taken a chance flirtation to the point of no return.
She looked at him, in a way which, if he hadn't said such a silly thing, he might have mistaken for interest.

"I'm glad that I brought my umbrella, even if it is a cheap one." He watched her, fumbled fumbled.

"How much did you pay for it?"

'Nothing, it came with the Standard."

"Hmmm...." Her eyes to the ceiling?

He couldn't quite tell, did he look up at the ceiling? He felt as if he was starting to imagine what she was thinking and was she thinking what he was thinking. Was he thinking anything worth thinking, that was the problem, the thinking.

Her gaze was now like a spotlight on him. She smiled and she smiled in such a way as to name him: Oliver. Here he was Oliver. How had he arrived? Would he call her a cab? Would he offer her his cab, the cab she would call for him?

"My name is..."


She asked.

That was enough for him. He was off, head down.... He walked into the night air, put up his brolly, then for a second, thought better of it. It was up down all the way home, but he kept on going, not drunk but a little tipsy; he mumbled a little, he thought he saw a fading movie star in the corner lighting a cigarette. At home he realized who it was, red shocking hair, tied back with a ribbon, it was her: some thin old bit of rough from a Reality tv show.

By John Stiles


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