By Jason Henry McCormick
SHE HAD THE FISH SPECIAL that was parched and overpriced, he had a cheese omelet with onions a la carte, and they hadn't spoken to each other since they sat down for brunch.
He wore a terry-cloth robe, and a towel, rolled tightly, was stuffed in its pocket. She overdressed, in an elegant beige suit.
He planned on resorting to the beach, to lie out that afternoon. She had a sunburn and a phone call to make, which she would make from their hotel room, room 507, once they finished brunch.
This was the third day of their second honeymoon.
“Darling,” she said, “when you get back to the room I might be on the phone with my mother. Do come in quietly, won’t you?”
The waiter, a young man dressed in all white, walked up to their table up against a large, paned-glass window in the Ocean Room. He set down a second martini in front of each of them, then a black leather check presenter on the man's side of the table.
The man thanked the waiter who'd already walked off, but turned and smiled to acknowledge him.
“Did you hear me, darling?” she asked, staring at him.
He reached for the bill. “Certainly,” he said, opening the booklet. “I'll be quiet.”
Knowing he had left his wallet behind, he quickly reviewed the receipt.
“Honey,” he said. “I-I haven't any cash on me.”
She sighed dramatically, tilting her head back slightly. “Oh, just sign it off. Bill it to the room, darling.” She finished her first drink. “I have only a few dollars on me,” she had the first sip of her second drink, “and I must pick up a few postcards before I head back upstairs.”
After a brief glance across the table, he turned his head toward the bar, toward the waiter, and nodded. The waiter headed over.
“This has to be the hottest day of the year,” she said, fanning herself with her left hand.
His eyes left the open booklet for a brief glance at her, then they returned downward, toward the bill.
A moment later, he looked up again. This time at the waiter who stood beside the table, gazing out the window and surveying the beach.
The man smiled. “May I borrow a pen?” he asked the waiter.
The waiter grinned and pulled a fountain pen from his apron.
He handed it over, then walked off without a word.
Still fanning herself, she set the drink down and turned her head toward the window, the beach. “Darling, you know I always carry a pen. You should‘ve just asked me."
“Yes,” he said to her, unscrewing the pen's cap. “Indeed. It is rather warm today.”
She watched a little girl running along the beach.
He signed the bill, then placed it between two martini glasses, both of which were on his side of the table and still full of vodka. He'd eaten the olives, though.
She took a deep breath and turned her head toward the bill. Noticing the check presenter was closed, she finished her drink and rose from her chair.
He stood up, too.
They walked through the dining room; he toward the beach and she to the elevator.
“It's a fine day,” he said, as they parted ways. “A fine day for bananafish.”
(c) 2010 ~ Author Jason Henry McCormick
Publishing Debut ~ AT THE BIJOU
Publishing Debut ~ AT THE BIJOU
JASON: Hi, Kate. I've included my story, "More Glass," for your consideration. . . . I've been tinkering with it since January 27th. This one's very special to me. It may or may not be the best story I've ever written, but, to me, it's certainly the most important one. I hope you enjoy reading it.
ABSOLUTELY*KATE: I certainly did, Jason, and I may add, as Henry James has murmured countless times before, "All reading is rereading," so the second time around, the avid reader AT THE BIJOU notices more apparent "clues". Indeed, after making my morning sweep around the projection room, one of our ushers in here, from time to time, Jerome David, caught my elbow when I almost stumbled on the reel thing and enigmatically stage-whispered, “An artist's only concern is to shoot for some kind of perfection, and on his own terms, not anyone else's.”
JASON: I feel where you're coming from Kate, and knew you'd catch my wry when you asked for my write. But Kate, since it's my birthday and all, can you tell the nice people something nice about me so they don't just say, "Grand", and move on?
KATE: Absolutely! Nothing phony or zooey AT THE BIJOU's crowd Jason, so surely they'll get a blast out of the launch of an astronaut on his veritable celebration day ~
YES, out of this world as we know it,
is how I enjoy the fresh atmosphere of a good Jason Henry McCormick story, from Fictionaut, Six Sentences, or flapping Hobo Pancakes right out of the Gloom Cupboard to light years which know no limits, for Jason Henry McCormick is an astronaut. When he's not in outer space he studies philosophy and writes humor columns for The Daily Aztec, San Diego State University's student newspaper. He likes people, fiction, adventures, LEGO bricks, writing in the third person, Shark Week, baseball, employment opportunities, golf, philosophy, listening to the poetry of Tupac Shakur and reading the fiction of JD Salinger, the greatest storyteller of all-time. Jason reads and writes and is homeless in San Diego, California.
Though one night, at the end of a lonely street shot to hell in Six*City, I stood on a street corner of desire for a kind, genuine and gentler world and watched fearless Jason as he blasted hate and changed some fate and as God is my witness, this real McCormick writer of telling talent shall never be homeless again, for there's no place like home . . . than AT THE BIJOU.
JASON: Rad. Thanks for the birthday wishes. I love chocolate. You're the best. . . . and . . . I've sent you another story. I'm pretty happy with that story.
Well, since it's your birthday and all,
that story's comin' up next, Jason.
Thanks for reasons to turn the klieg lights up
all the more. Hey? You tried our popcorn?
and the staff of renown, * AT THE BIJOU *