Hostage for Hire
The terrace at the Sour Black is full, but inside there’s a free table on the high glass pane, a coveted view to the street outside – Chestnue Avenue, catwalk of egos, derisively known as Casting Avenue. The models don’t care.
Sitting down to an espresso with a shot of Cuervo Gold Tequila and the tone of a text message, Olivia, no doubt, checking in, but we both know she’s checking up. ‘Bring the garbage down, hang out the wash, don’t be spending money like mad or taking bitches out to lunch, or I’ll kick your ass. Love you Peach. Kiss.’ That’s my girl. Is she worth it? A passionate, feisty, beautiful Irish woman in love with you, and happy, is definitely worth it.
My friend Nelson is the general manager here, seldom present in the afternoon but he is today, and very upset – his car has been stolen.
‘I came out of the bar at six this morning and it was gone.’ But he’ll be feeling better soon because it’s on leasing so he can come down and choose another when he has time, the salesman said.
“What’s in the bag?” He reaches down and looks at the t-shirts inside. “You’re going to make a rich man of me.” Indeed. He’s invested everywhere, the bars where I drink and the stores where I shop. Mr Money, we call him.
The waitress brings another Cuervo & Black.
“I like t-shirts, Nelson. They make me happy.”
The t-shirt is the most brilliant of inventions, evolved from the 19th century union suit underwear with the access hatch at the back. Miners and dockworkers were first to discover its worth, as did the U.S Navy at the height of the Spanish-American war. A century later, icons like Brando and James Dean would reinforce the ideal on movie billboards. Cult. Versatile. Comes in all shapes and sizes. Loved most with pop art on the outside, and worshipped, on wet tarts with big tits inside.
My 18th century wardrobe has been re-designated t-shirts only. Olivia was not amused, forced to moved her casual wear to the master bedroom, ‘our room’, giving me complete reign over the room we pretend isn’t mine.
“At this rate, that wardrobe won’t be able to contain your adventures much longer.”His big body shakes in rhythm to a deep thundering laugh.
“What adventures?” Shooting tequila.
“Were you planning on seeing Sara today?”
“She has no time. Why?”
“Frustration shopping, Alex. No Sara, another t-shirt. I’ve lost count.” Alarm. When Mr Money loses count, there’s trouble ahead.
I met Sara six months prior to Olivia. She was, for me, ‘the one’, the woman I wanted, but couldn’t have. It would become an exciting, frustrating duel of hormones, a joust and parry of mutual desire.
We embrace the wounds of combat, vigilantly aware of the consequences of defeat, though I, truly loyal to Olivia regardless of the temptations that surround me, would humbly concede, to gain Sara in return.
T’was another kept us apart. Peter. The boyfriend. An Everest. But Hannibal crossed the Alps! And conquered. I’m not a mountain climber. And I have no elephants. Unviable options both – my quarry is deep within the heart of the mountain, safe and sheltered. I must entice it to come out.
Stay focused. Be patient. Father Time will dictate a memo – tick, tick, tick, pink slip for Pete. Vacancy available. Mr Ferry, please enquire within.
My CV is looking good. Massage! Dinner! A listener! A shoulder to lean on! Whatever, whenever, however she needs; her trusty steed stands saddled and ready, waiting to hear the words – ‘let’s ride’. And until then! Same procedure as always: ‘Peter problems again? Don’t worry, it’ll get better. You’re safe with me. Let me dry those tears, hug you to sleep.’
Our love is a chameleon with a broken tail. Sometimes I stay the night, give the tail adequate time to grow anew. Twitchy little things. Indispensable.
Frustration shopping! No. My credit card held me hostage on days when I wanted, yearned to see Sara, and did not! I paid the ransom.