Monday, March 25, 2013
Sketches From A City Lunch Part 2
Sketches From A City Lunch Part 2
It had been some time since the lunch group had met. The inclement weather had subsided that morning and whilst the roads were still wet and slippery in the city and the slightest swipe on the stone mall pavers could land you flat on your face, still Charlie walked briskly and defiantly in his dandiest mufti day special as he headed towards Chifley. People often stopped him on the street either to encourage his courage or to snigger whilst making a back-handed compliment. He ignored them, especially today, when he was quite sure that burgundy was the in colour for silk ties that season and that no-one else had cottoned onto that quite as yet.
When Charlie had entered the foyer of Chifley he looked amongst those sitting and those walking until a familiar wave from Oliver signalled that they were choosing one of the more discreet tables for the day. Oliver was often ashamed to be seen with Charlie, especially when he wore gregarious colours, citing that he did not want senior management of his mergers and acquisitions department considering him as lunching with homosexuals. This line had got the entire table into a frenzy of insults two weeks earlier, but today Ben, who often added the most fuel to the fire, had called in sick. Seated next to Oliver was lanky Mike in his relaxed fine cotton shirt and opposite him was Phillip who was newer to the group than the others and accordingly spoke less at these lunches.
“I feel naked without Ben here” said Oliver. ‘I almost feel we oughtn’t to be lunching’.
“Sick as a dog I was told. The whole family too. Apparently Dana had to take the whole family to the hospital in a taxi at 3am. She’s the only one with balls in the family it seems”, responded Charlie.
Once Charlie was seated the conversation resumed to the topic prior to his arrival. Oliver turned to Phillip, who was from London, to continue.
“We have to go to a birthday party for kids in Killara on the weekend” said Oliver explanatorily.
“Killara” said Phillip with a plum in his mouth, “now where is that?”
“Killara is near Lindfield, it’s like waspy North Shore, big houses, big streets with overhanging trees. Kind of near St. Ives. But, the reason why I said I am dreading it is because I grew up there”
“Because I used to get chased there. I mean it was awful. There is an ugly road that cuts the whole thing in two too. It’s like a savage scar, it’s a wonder that all these old families that live there think they are so wonderful.”
“He breaks out in a rash like Woogie. The avenues, people sweeping streets, everyone is polite but guarded”.
“Who was is it that said, I know, it was Da Vinci, who said that the avenues should be one and a half times the height of the buildings on either side. I think it was a Da Vinci’. He pulled his hands back through his hair as if it would accentuate how much he’d pushed his brain to deliver up the small tid-bit which was being stored in the back of his large brain amidst all the noise of daily grind and the movements of the stock market.
“What a fantastic piece of trivia to hold in your noggin Mike” said Charlie.
“I think about Paddington Street in Paddington. I think that’s just about the proportions that Da Vinci was referring to” added Mike.
“What a golden nugget of information” said Oliver. “Do you notice how Mike has all these pithy little nightclub remarks - you need these kinds of things because you are still single. It’s the perfect kind of thing to whisper in a girl’s ear in the back of a taxi at 3am. That old talk between club and bedroom’.
“Hahahahaha!!!!” the laughed in unison.
“I was going to say, yes, that was such a nugget! Perfect word Oliver!” said Phillip.
“Isn’t there a similar one about the size of your cock related to the size of your forearm” said Charlie.
There was a small silence as they listened to the noises of the café traffic and the two women who were debating their Easter holidays and their positions in their respective firms.
“Hey did you enter the competition for the tie giveaway from Le Noeud Papillon?”
“No, it was totally rigged. They gave it away to some swine who quoted Proust. An absolute bagel from London”.
“You know I know him, he told me that you are his best customer Oliver. He said that when he goes on sale you are the VERY first person to buy on his website”.
The others guffawed.
When their lunch arrived they talked more about the stock market and for the first time Oliver gave away something about the value of his bonuses when Mike mentioned that he had place a foreign currency trade to Switzerland on his behalf. It galled Phillip and Charlie, who were small timers in comparison to Oliver and Mike.
A woman walked past the table, her legs were still tanned from the summer. She wore a printed silk skirt which rocked with her hips and her breasts, which were propped up like fat avocados inside her supportive bra, were not moving one iota. It caught the attention of both Mike and Charlie simultaneously, although Charlie’s eyes fervently watched her with intent whilst Mike’s were more relaxed and subdued.
“I know you saw her, I know you saw her” said Charlie, “you can pretend, but I saw you. You are a very clever fox”.
“I had her before she even came down the escalator” said Mike, “I just don’t sweat it as much”.
“I’d like to die on top of a woman like that’ said Charlie. “I don’t think I ever recall having had a red head. That’s not even red really. What do you call that? Burgundy? I’d love to die humping something like that. Really, just get my back into it and in the middle of a heave ho just collapse. What a way to go. Or an orgy. Spunk everywhere. I’ve never had an orgy”.
“Didn’t you have a friend that died of cancer that went like that?” asked Oliver.
“No, not whilst having sex”
“Yes, but didn’t he go to orgies?”
“Charlie had a friend” said Oliver, positioning himself to speak to the remaining two, “who was diagnosed with cancer and then just went loose, started taking drugs, going to parties etc. Ended up going to these sex parties and basically losing all inhibition before he died. You went travelling with him right?”
The others, astonished, looked at Charlie for confirmation.
“Yep, basically this is how it went. He… um… He… His ex-girlfriend, no, his ex fiancé it was, started dicking him around. He had proposed to her, she accepted his ring, then flew off to New Caledonia and was working as an airline stewardess between here and there. She was living like a single woman over there, never once wore her engagement ring and basically fucked everything except her fiancé. Then one day he got wind of it by the strangest coincidence. He confronted her and she said she wanted out and threw the ring off the wharf at Rose Bay. He was totally shattered. He was a pharmacist by profession and he had bought two pharmacies using family money, over-priced as they were at the time, as a gesture of goodwill to begin a life together. Over extended himself. Was working like a dog. Then hits a wall when she throws the ring in the water. Twenty k I might add. Then comes the selling off off the business, sells it for x minus 15 per cent. On the day he sold the business he gets a dizzy spell and he’s tired. Goes to his family doctor two days later, gets in with a specialist straight away and finds out he’s got some form of aggressive lymphoma. When I caught up with him he had three months to live and had just been through two months of hell. He sat me down, oh God; I can still remember it like yesterday. We were eating pizza and he told me the story about this fiancé and all I could think was ‘this is going to kill him’. There was so much vitriol and angst in his voice and I remember being so brutal with him and I said ‘don’t let this kill you, she’s not worth it, she’s just a slut and you will have many more. I think her name was Victoria or something like that. I might have even quoted Bukowski.”
He paused for a breath as the coffees were placed in front of them with their cannoli.
“You can’t quote Bukowski” said Oliver. “That is reserved for The Zionist”
“This is phenomenal. How the hell do you know these sorts of people Charlie? You’re like Kramer”.
“I don’t know. They find me, I find them. He was a great friend. A much better friend to me than I was to him. That’s all I could think about at his funeral. How shitty and unsupportive I had been as a friend. I gave him five minutes of a high and mighty speech and the next thing I know I am standing at his wake after watching the rabbi rip his father’s pocket. I, I don’t think I had witnessed pain like that before. The pain of the family.”
“But what about the orgies, let’s keep it lighter shall we”
“It’s the one thing I remember that struck a real cord with me. A woman once said to me, ‘Chuck, it ain’t the things we do on this planet that we regret on our death beds; it’s the things we didn’t do’. And with Josh, that was the thing I loved. I said ‘what have you been doing since you got the cancer’ and he said, I started going to rub and tugs. Then I moved onto hookers. Then from there I started signing up for sex parties. He was going to two or three sex parties a week. He said he would fuck some guy’s wife from behind whilst the husband got a blow job and that one time the spunk landed on the other guys leg and they all just laughed. I remember the cheeky look in Josh’s eyes, it was the only time when he wasn’t bitter – he was revelling in the fun he was having just rooting like a mad men. But then it came to an end, I think anyway, when this girl, Victoria, flew into town and they met at the Sheraton On The Park to sought through it all. I can remember him saying to me ‘and I said to her, why did you do this to me? What did I do to you? You have given me cancer! It was you who gave me cancer!’ Then apparently he broke down and cried and she didn’t even hold him. By this stage he said she was so drunk and all that she wanted to do was give him a blow job and he just crumbled into a ball and begged her to hold him.”
“Oh, Jesus that is heavy” said Mike.
“How much is it each person?” asked Phillip as the bill arrived.
“$24 each, make it $25.”
“I will spot you for this one” said Oliver looking at Mike, “you got me last week”.
“Let’s hope that Ben’s back for next week”.
“Indeed” said Phillip.