We couldn't resist writing another story loosely based around the painting Here Is Looking At You.
Theo' wrote the initial plot, poor chap he still uses pen and paper, and it was then polished by our friend Neil (MA in script writing). Enjoy!
Here’s Looking At You
I am a chauffeur and I love my job. It’s only fifty Euros a day but on my nights off, I can use the car, petrol included – withinreason.
Tonight is one such night. It’s a Friday and I’ve spent the last two hours sitting here, studying my books – I do love a good self-improvement book. I close my eyes and see myself as a millionaire – the clothes, the mansion, the whole damn lot.The plan was to have got there by thirty-five but in less than forty-eight hours, I’ll hit the big Four-Oh. A party? Oh yeah, on fifty Euros a day? I don’t think so.
All the guys my age are married, tied down, kids running around. Not for me, though, I’m too independent for that. I can spend my money any way I choose. A party would be too much of a luxury, though. Wouldn’t it?
Most Fridays, I treat myself to a single cocktail – if your livelihood is driving people around, you’d be an idiot to have any more. I know the cops have their quotas to fill and I’m not going to be one of their statistics. Not again. I can’t be out of work for another year.
I slip on my dinner jacket, slick down my hair and check myself in the mirror –looking pretty smooth, ready for an evening in the local cocktail bar.
Perhaps the rain is keeping everyone in tonight. The streets are fairly deserted as I reach the Three Kings cocktail bar. I must have got their on auto drive, habit I suppose. They pride themselves on the philosophy of the bar where everyone knows your name. Speaking of everyone knowing your name, the new waitress is cute and I’d tell her my name any time.
She’s got curves in all the right places and jet black curly hair. Her tan looks natural, I find myself thinking about the tan-lines that I’ll probably never get to see.
She certainly wasn’t interested in striking up a conversation though. I know this, ‘cause I tried. Instead she is talking to this foreign guy with that funny accent. I can’t help overhearing that they come to some kind of arrangement. A booze order if I’m hearing correctly. It appears she has access to cheap spirits and supplies this at half price. Not being much of a drinker this has no appeal to me but I can’t resist leaning over to listen in. She is flirting with him now, shaking her curls, the smiles, and now you see me, now you don’t breasts poking out the side of her loosely buttoned blouse. It is working a real treat, not on the foreign guy, but on me.
Her story is familiar. She tells of her day job as a waitress in a French restaurant, where her boss is a pig, and the pay is bad. She has taken to taking orders for alcohol as she has the keys and access to the store room of the restaurant to augment her salary.
You would have thought offering everything half price would clench the deal, but the guy shrugs her off and leaves.
Hot around the collar, and against my better nature, I decide to order another Dirty Martini and the waitress gives me a little wink as she turns to get the vodka. This time she opens up a little. She giggles at one of my stories, and as she leans a little closer, I can smell the jasmine in her hair; her name is Sunday. She learns that I am a driver, and I learn that she needs a ride home.
After chatting for a while she leaves to serve another customer but, every so often, she looks back, over her shoulder, gives me a little smile. When she finally returns she tells me that she is finishing soon; she asks if I could pass by the French restaurant to pick up some clothes for dry cleaning. Of course I don’t turn her down, why on earth would I?
As we get into the car I think about my fortieth birthday and how I was planning on spending it alone, but now a thought strikes me. If Sunday could get me the cheap alcohol she mentioned earlier to that foreign guy, maybe I could still throw a little party. Even invite her along – she seems to like me.
She’s quite reluctant when I bring up the subject of the booze, she’s been stung before, but I soften her up a little, tell her she’s invited to come along too, she weakens somewhat but she’s still not sure. As we pull up outside the restaurant, I pull out my wages for the last two nights and tell her to take the cash up front. She considers for a moment, gives me a peck on the cheek and takes the money.
Just as she’s about to close the door, she turns to say that it will take her around ten minutes as she’s got to make sure the boss isn’t around. I’m in no hurry. I watch as she slips into the restaurant, her dress clinging to her body, showing her figure off nicely.
I step out for a cigarette; it’s a beautiful night, there’s a single cloud, just passing by the moon, creating a lovely halo effect, I wonder if tonight could get any better. I’m certainly hoping it might.
I phone my employer to see if he will need me tomorrow but he says that I’m free. Perfect. I wander up and down the pavement a little, I hate waiting, always have. Check my watch. Ten minutes. I look through the window, the place is busy, waiting staff gliding between tables balancing plates of beautiful food on their arms.
I start to get a little twitchy once twenty minutes has gone by. My bow tie suddenly seems rather tight around my neck. And then it hits me - I should have seen it coming, how could I be so blind? I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. The minute I handed over the cash she was never coming back out, not from this entrance anyway. Ha, me the driver, how ironic.
Here’s looking at you kid. Looks like I was the one taken for a ride.