It was one of those bars we used to seek out, the ones that were never advertised, that you had to whisper something to the guy at the door; and they were always in run-down, sleezy neighborhoods. What did it say about us that we’d have to sneak around in places that even stray dogs avoided? Who the hell cared as long as we could get together, drink, dance and maybe hook-up with what a friend called, “Some number.” So, we were numbers to some, but who cared about that, either?
The bar was packed and movement was a matter of deciding who would be the next woman you’d squeeze by on your way to get a drink or go to the john. Sometimes, you’d find it almost impossible to get through; if it were Thursday, the traditional “ladies’ night” in the bars. But squeeze you did and some weren’t that bad.
I pushed my way through the body-to-body crowd hanging on to half-full glasses of bar booze and found myself standing next to a woman in an odd coat with flaps over the shoulders. She was definitely out of place, out of time and, despite this, looking somewhat imperious. “Can I guy you a drink?” she asked. As she looked down at me, I got a feeling there was more than a drink intended here.
“No, thanks; I buy my own drinks,” I responded and fished a twenty out of my jeans as she looked on.
A friend of mine, who envisioned herself to be catnip for any woman within twenty yards, pushed over between us and tried chatting the woman up as I watched with disinterest. The encounter with my friend was brief and I saw her scribbling something on a piece of paper and stuffing it into a vest pocket, walking away with a Cheshire cat smile on her face.
Now, the woman turned back to me, “Why don’t you come with me? We’ll have a midnight dinner at the Plaza, and tomorrow we’ll go to Mexico,” she said as though it were something ordinary. “Oh, let me tell you my name is Chryssa. I gave the wrong telephone number to your friend.” I wondered how the Cheshire cat smile would fare after finding that out.
While dinner at the Plaza sounded romantic and interesting and a trip to Mexico would be a break in my weekly routine, it wasn’t for me. I wasn’t about to be bought by some woman I hadn’t even spoken to for ten minutes. No, I had to go to work tomorrow, and Mexico wasn’t where it was located, “Thanks, but I think you need a ride home right now.” It was obvious she had been downing too many Scotches and was a bit unsteady on her feet. “I’ve got my car outside and I’ll drive you.” Quickly convincing two friends to come with us, I guided her to the car and asked, “Where do you live?”
“Oh, I stay in an apartment over an art gallery near Bloomingdale’s.” I knew the location; and since the streets were nearly empty at 3 a.m., we were there quickly, and I stopped the car at the curb. Getting out, she danced in front of the car, cape flying, and she disappeared into a doorway.
It wasn’t until the next day at work that I would inquire if the art director had ever heard of Chryssa. “Are you kidding?” She asked; “She’s internationally famous for her neon pieces. Where did you meet her?” Wide eyes, she stared at me. Now, I came up with a totally unbelievable cover story and that was that.
So, I turned down a midnight supper at the Plaza and a trip to Mexico with an internationally famous artist. Such is life.
P. A. Farrell is a psychologist and published author with McGraw-Hill, Springer Publishing, Cafe Lit, Ravens Perch, Humans of the World, Active Muse, Free Spirit Publishing, Scarlet Leaf Review, 100 Word Project, Woodcrest Magazine, Confetti, and LitBreak. She’s a top health writer for Medium.com, and is a board member of Clinics4Life.