Friday, June 25, 2010

#fridayflash~The Big Event

The Big Event

Margaret and Emery Lang sat quietly across from one another. The classical music was overpowered by the buzz of chatter in the restaurant. Emery had made the reservation weeks ago and still had to slip the maitre d’ a twenty to ensure the same window seat they had had every anniversary. Back on their 25th it had only cost him a finski. Times had changed.

The dessert dishes lay on the table. The chocolate mousse was all but licked from his glass bowl and the filling from her untouched raspberry pie had bled into the melted ice cream.

Margaret fingered the fine linen table cloth and was lost in her thoughts. Perhaps she could start a new sewing project? Which grandchild’s birthday was later this month? So many things to remember each day…

Emery glanced at his Rolex and wondered how long they would have to wait for the server to arrive with the bill. He wanted to hurry home to catch the ball game on the tube.

Margaret was staring at the quiet harbour when movement below the window caught her attention. A well-dressed young couple walked away from the restaurant, past the fishing boats moored along the edge of the concrete dock. The young woman turned and looked up at her window for a moment but continued on with her suitor. She rested her head on the man’s shoulder as they walked, reminding Margaret of her own honeymoon in Florida. So many sunset walks along the white sands of Pensacola Beach.

She was still visiting that far away beach when the waiter arrived with the bill. Emery slipped some cash into the black folder and immediately handed it back to the young woman. “I’ll get the car and meet you out front.”

Margaret slowly rose to her feet and the young server took her by the arm and began to lead her away from the table. Her final view of the young couple brought tears to her eyes. The pair had stopped and the woman now looked up to the man expectantly. She playfully punched him on the shoulder and held his hands.



~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Valerie and Dave strolled along the wharf, trying to kill time until the restaurant had an opening for them. They had arrived at the restaurant on time, yet the door geezer had told them they would have to wait about 20 minutes until a table was ready. She wanted to sit at the bar but he had put her off knowing that the drinks would cost over $10 a pop. He suggested a walk instead.

Valerie was a bit anxious because they had dated for nearly a year and Dave obviously had something big on his mind. She had spent three hours at the hair dresser because this dinner was going to be way more upscale than their usual fare at Burger King.

She sighed and entwined her arm with his as they walked together. She glanced over her shoulder at the restaurant; the sunset colours and the shimmer of the water reflected off the tinted windows. The setting would have been perfect if not for the ungodly stench of sewage emanating from the harbour.

Dave stared beyond the fishing boats, their decks laden with crab and lobster pots. Valerie had been hinting about going to a fancy restaurant for weeks and he figured this outing would finally get her off his case. The prospect of working a shit-load of overtime to pay off this venture had soured his mood. And he was going to miss the ball game on TV.

Valerie stopped suddenly and looked up at Dave with a dreamy, stunned look in her eyes. “What’s on your mind, honey?” she asked.

“Umm, nothing babe.”

“It’s really nice of you to bring me here for dinner. It was such a surprise!” Her face was aglow and she playfully punched his shoulder.

“It’s nothing. You deserve the best,” he replied as he rubbed his shoulder.

“I mean it’s not, like, my birthday or our anniversary or anything. I was wondering why you wanted to get dressed up and bring me here,” she said and clasped his hands with hers.

Dave’s mind raced and he broke out in a cold sweat. “Well, babe…you see—“

“Yes?” she nodded encouragement, her heart pounded in her chest.

He licked his lips and examined his scuffed shoes. “I was thinking…I know your dad’s strict and all, but maybe we could go away for a weekend?”

Valerie paled and her jaw dropped. “That’s it?”

“What?” Dave said, his eyes darted left and right as if expecting an attacker. Or perhaps he was seeking an escape route.

“That’s what this fancy dinner is all about?”

“Well, yeah. I guess.”

“You little shit!” Valerie’s arms flailed in an attempt to smack her boyfriend. Dave whined in protest and backed away from her attack until his heel hit the low wooden rail at the edge of the harbour. He fell backwards and dropped 6 feet into the murky water, sending solid matter floating away on concentric rings.

Valerie stomped off, leaving him bobbing in the polluted, frigid water.

35 comments:

Michael Solender said...

serves him right, i'd say!

Bukowski's Basement said...

Love this post ... The great thing is ... they could easily have worked separately ... But I love the juxtaposition of each couple... And, as for the latter pair ... Ummm... I've been there. I feel his pain.

Nomar Knight said...

Excellent post. Loved the different point of views. He definitely deserved it.

Laurita said...

You do not want to fall into the bubble. Eww.

Fun story. I like the changing POV and how the events outside were not what they seemed at first glance.

Eric J. Krause said...

Great story! Loved it. If Margaret only knew what Valarie and Dave were really talking about...

L'Aussie said...

Yes, if only Margaret knew that things weren't as rosy as she thought. Great shift in POVs. Loved it..:)

Alan W. Davidson said...

Michael- Some guys deserve a good dunking in the water with unidentifiable floating matter.

Anthony- I hadn't thought of them as seperate stories but I guess you are right. Man, you'll have to enlighten us about 'your pain'. A sordid chapter in your life, I'm sure!

Nomar- Thank you sir. The different POV is something I've never tried before. Thought it might work here. Yep, the guy sure got what was coming to him.

Laurita- Yep, we know what floats in the harbour! ;) I'm glad you got the idea that it was the same events from a different perspective. Had to have the old lady leave, though, before the dunk. WOuldn't want to spoil her evening.

Eric- Glad you like it, Eric. She definately had a 'romaticized' view of thier situation.

Denise- Very true about Margaret's 'uninformed' view point. I'm glad you liked that shift. Thanks.

pegjet said...

And both men only wanted to catch the game. I think the funniest/saddest part of these four is each person only saw what they wanted to see.

Cathy Olliffe said...

It's like Peg says: they only see what they want to see... like the harbour, it looks great but it's all just crap - Dave whines about money, Valerie is overly anxious for something that's not in the cards, Emery can't even bother to help his elderly wife to the car and Margaret, well, I like Margaret. She's my favourite. Although I do love Emery's name.
Great story, Alan, really enjoyed it!
(So, I'm coming all the way to St. John's for a harbour full of poo?)

brainhaze said...

Brilliant - love this post, very well intertwined. thanks for sharing :)

Anneke said...

Great story. Grabbed me from the start. I like the two viewpoints.

David Barber said...

Alan that was fantastic. It's been said above and I agree with Anthony that they could have worked separately, but they work even better together! Top writing and I'm going the other way on this, why does a woman always think a proposal is on the cards in those situations? They're never just happy with a nice meal. ;-)

Well done, my friend.

daniellelapaglia said...

I loved the multiple POV's. Great story!

Lou Freshwater said...

Ah, it is all a matter of perspective. Nicely written, although you may have done your job a little too well because I am a little sick from the smell of that water. ;-)

Draco Torre said...

Good for her; some guys never learn. Nice easy flowing tale, the split perspectives adds intrigue, and the bite at the end pays off.

There's a big difference between "desert dishes" and dessert dishes. That word is on my personal watch-it list when I edit.

Alan W. Davidson said...

Peggy- Very true observation.

Brainhaze- Thanks, I'm glad you enjoyed it. And welcome to the #fridayflash group, BTW.

Anneke- Thank you very much! I thought that it would be different to show an incident from two different view points.

David- Glad you enjoyed the story, mate. Your playing 'devil's advocate' with that last remark could get you in hot (or shite-filled) water witht the lady readers...

Danielle- Thanks, really glad you enjoyed it!

Lou- Thanks for the kind words. On really hot days (thankfully, not many here) the aroma almost leaves a taste in your mouth...

David- Thank you, sir. I'm happy to hear the two perspectives paid off with readers. Thanks, also, for pointing out the typo...I'll add that to the 50 others I spell wrong on a regular basis!

Gracie said...

Wonderful, Alan. Each of the four perspectives were so clear. Each scene fed the richness of the other.

Superb.

~Tim said...

I feel sympathetic to Dave. His attitude is not great, but he is giving up watching a game and expecting to work overtime to give Valerie the fancy dinner she wants.

I like the change in POV in this. It works really well.

theothersideofdeanna said...

Alan, you packed so much life in such a short space here. I love the juxtapostition throughout. Very well written!

Jarmara Falconer said...

What a great twist! I loved seeing the twp different points of view. Wonderful, Alan.

katey said...

Definitely on board with the applause for the juxtaposition of the two-- just adds a whole new element to both. So, so fabulous, Alan. I love your friday flash!

Tony Noland said...

So much conflict and misunderstanding, wrapped and rolled up.

Mark Kerstetter said...

Boy this was sad - the thought of Margaret and Emory wasting away together... At least there's a ray of hope in that the young couple is not going to have a Big Event like the older couple - at least not with each other.

Pamila Payne said...

Loved the individual tunnel vision going on for all these people. Really a sad story when you think about, despite the glib tone. All of them were so isolated, yet burdened by the obligations their partnerships imposed.

Laura Eno said...

Funny and sad, all rolled together. You never know the real story looking from the outside. I loved what happened to Dave, because I'm sadistic. :)

Alan W. Davidson said...

Gracie- Thanks very much for the kind words.

Tim- I know what you're saying about Dave...but that opens up a whole kettle of...

Deanna- Thanks a lot!

Jarmara- Thank you. Yes, things weren't quite what Margaret envisioned.

Katey- Glad you liked the POV switch. Also glad you're enjoying the #fridayflash stuff. You should post snippets of your WIP as a separate story. I think the historical fiction would be a nice addition. Just sayin'...

Tony- Very correct, sir, about the misunderstanding. A lot of that in relationships, I suppose.

Mark- You're the first to make that observation. A good point about a glimmer of hope for the young couple.

Pamila- I suppose the humour was a way of lessening the sadness of the reality of their plights.

Laura- Very true...and I had heard about your sadistic streak...

Tomara Armstrong said...

I love how both stories are brilliant woven together. Different stages of relationships. While Margaret romanticized about the couple on the beach, who knows if the outcome lived up to her expectations. Some flux, either good or bad, might have been a welcome change to the monotony of her relationship with Emery.

Great story, sir :-)
~2

Karen from Mentor said...

holy cow come in after 27 comments and there's not a thing left to say...laughing..

I really think that you should write a sequel and have Emery step into something befitting his sensitivity to the needs of others, like oh, say an open elevator shaft. Or have Margaret poison his tea and collect the insurance so she can get a cabana boy to help her around the place.
What cha think?

Nice flash sir.
Karen :0)

kathryn said...

...and here that sweet old lady is thinking the couple down below is soooo in love...

Little does she know.

You are a wonderful writer, my friend....love your stories...all the pieces are there...so engaging.

PJ said...

I too love the juxtaposition of the stories. Both sides are very human and very relatable. Nice job.

G.P. Ching said...

This was fabulous grass is always greener type of story. I'm a beer and t-shirt kind of person so i kind of get the guys point. I mean she seemed pretty manipulative. Maybe he's better off. Nicely told story Alan.

Jen Brubacher said...

*snort* You just never know, do you? Fantastic. :)

Alan W. Davidson said...

Thanks, ladies, for all the kind words.

Karen- Hmmm...a sequel with a cabana boy...I can already envision the sultry sex scene now...not!

Icy Sedgwick said...

I have to say, I prefer the first couple! Valerie expects a lot, doesn't she?!

Kat said...

Hmmm...boyfriend abuse...so THAT'S what I've been doing wrong?! No messy kisses, I need to knock them in the water instead.

Got it. ;)