‘Have you seen her?’
‘White dress?’ That’s all I needed to say.
A vigorous nod accompanied by a sleazy grin. Hell. Had we seen her?! We’d all stared at her over the rims of empty whisky glasses until the ice, cold burnt our top lips, thinking nobody would notice our inauspicious glances that were more akin to laser targeting systems. Every other woman’s self esteem plummeted like the shares on stock after insider trading. The less looked at danced and dallied to the bathroom three times more than usual. Preening, primping, puckering, pissing and bitching. All trying to see who would emerge as number two.
The dating game was vicious. Instead of roses these were venus fly traps. Conveniently this planetary word rhymed with something else. They were all out for the kill. Lionesses in dresses while the lions lazed around drinking and socialising, eyeing them from afar, with suspicion and intent on dimpled leather chairs.
Soon they would have to emerge from the sidelines, ego’s swishing, suits pinching. After all, this was date night.
‘Which one are you going for?’ Ted turned to me showing tigerish teeth.
I stared into the void, a half empty (or full) dance floor. The extroverts had staked their claim along with the drunks ahead of time.
Secretly I was furious with myself for even being talked into this. Somehow Ted had wangled a couple entry tickets off a political friend – I didn’t ask any more questions. Yes, I’d been out the loop. Yes, my wife had died a decade ago. Did I need to man up? According to Ted, that’s exactly it. ‘You need to get out there’ he said like some clichéd douchetwat from a yank film. Truth is I did. Forty odd and living alone, it gets to you eventually.
‘The dating game, it’s all changed pally…’. Ted wasn’t wrong.
After the lengthy pause he chimed in again. ‘You’re eyeing her aren’t you? The queen bee?’
I couldn’t deny it. She was like some ridiculous hallucinogenic vision. I was a decent looking guy, a gentleman mostly. Why the fuck not?? screamed the barely legal whisky. A sideways grin showed itself as I rattled the ice around nervously.
‘Let’s do it! Dance time pally.’ And with that Ted opened his shiny black leather wallet and produced a slip of paper and a clip.
‘What’s that for?’ I said while generic bass tried to drown my words out.
‘This? So they know how much money you have!’
‘I don’t get it..’ I squinted in the dimmed lighting confused at both the empty glass in my hand and Ted’s latest edition to his suit jacket pinned on below the cravat.
‘You better tell me you got a statement to put on?’ I shook my head. ‘Gimme’ a pen you’re not getting out of this shit..’
He grabbed a parker out my hand and snatched a napkin from beneath someone’s orphaned tipple, then scribbled quickly leaning on a railing before handing it to me triumphantly.
- I’m Not Saying She’s a Soul Digger (lionaroundwriting.wordpress.com)