My City by the Bay (Chapter 3, Part 2 of 4)

The Gentleman

Several footsteps moved down Pierce Street and could be heard for what seemed like miles. A party of four, which included the likeness of Virginia Woolf and Phileas Fogg, were on their way to a monthly event at the Sable Saddle. Preparation for such a soiree was evident by the attention devoted to look the part.  The residents in the well-to-do neighborhood of Hooker lusted for a time of courtesy and fancy. They protested city council’s decision to pave the cobble stone street years ago, and instead levied a special tax to restore it. The gas lamp posts were single-handedly afforded by the neighborhood’s wealthiest individual: Truman Huckleberry. The HOA, albeit never feeling completely satisfied in pegging the source of his wealth, was more than ecstatic to hear such funds were being devoted to infrastructure. Huckleberry’s income was always shrouded in vague responses and hasty segues.

“Why do I have to wear this ridiculous, fucking get up anyway?” Moaned Virginia.

“Because, my dear, it’s Victorian night. They won’t let you in, unless you’re dressed accordingly. You would like to be with me tonight, correct? At the very least, the vodka.” Replied Phileas.

Virginia slapped Phileas in the chest, after catching the small barb. “Yes, I want to be with you. Dammit, do we have to go into it tonight? I just want to have a drink and maybe have some fun, not get stuffed into some stupid costume of some wolf woman.”

“I understand you’re not the biggest of fans, but you can’t deny you have a strong resemblance to her. Look, Jane, Emily, and I want to go. Humor us for one night, at the very least. We can all go to Dusty Gold Studios soon.” After which, he produced his great grandfather’s pocket watch from his breast pocket. “It’s ten o’clock,” Phileas looked up at the painstakingly refurbished clock tower near town square to make sure it wasn’t in need of winding, “we should be able to get right in and get a seat.”

Making another block in quick fashion, Phileas was caught by the sounds of Liszt. Surely such a masterful performance was worthy of investigation. Peering into the extremely large picture window of Monk’s, he discovered a man wrapping up the piece with vigor. To his surprise, he knew the figure quite well.

“Ladies,” Phileas turned to the group, “please excuse me for a moment. Better yet, I’ll meet you at the Saddle. It won’t take me long.”

“What?! You can’t drag me along to some snooze fest and then ditch me just like that! What’s all this shit about ‘being with me,’ and then disappearing when you feel like it?” Howled Virginia.

“Madam Woolf, the night is still young and I shall gladly spend the majority of it with you.” Phileas then grabbed Virginia by the hips and pulled her in close. Their bodies rustled with the sound of ancient fabric. “Besides, I have something planned for you later on.” The last sentence was within an inch of their lips and they kissed softly. “You’ll definitely thank in the morning.”

Sig stood up to a standing ovation, balancing himself on the edge of the Steinway. “Fooled you all, didn’t I?” He crowed with a grin. Moving slowly, and carefully, he teetered back to his seat.

Astonished with such a surprising display of showmanship, Ginny came down the bar to meet him.

“Hey, uh, that was pretty good.” Ginny couldn’t muster much eloquence with her astonishment.

“Catherine Monroe’s piano lessons were rough, but rewarding.” Sig remarked, remembering all the times he was rapped on the knuckles with a ruler.

“Here, this is one the house, but only ONE. You got that?” She slid him a thimble full of Wild Turkey.

“You’re the greatest, red.” Sig smirked with wild eyes. That curly red hair of hers could be seen from a block away.

Ginny flushed. She was always self-conscious of the fire engine that sat atop her head. Never getting over the childhood embarrassment, she started to sputter with temper.

“NO… no, no.” Sig patted the air with his hand. “I love it. I’m not putting you on. I love it. There hasn’t been one, single time I have come in here and not been captivated by that red ocean that rolls off your forehead.” Sig put his money down with usual gratuity. “It’s more intoxicating than the whiskey.”

Sig headed out the back door, too drunk to figure out how Ginny was able to replace all the glass with brick while he was there. Within moments, he realized he needed to gain a better sense of direction. A few moments after that, he then realized he might not make it home that night. Propping himself up on a brick wall, he took a few deep breaths. The lingering taste of alcohol made him more than uncomfortable. In a notion to head for bed, he tripped over some loose cobble stone and planted his face on the pavement.

“OWwww…” Sig laid there for a good long while. He was starting to think that the ground wasn’t such a bad bed after all.

“Excuse me, good sir, but it seems you have hurt yourself.” A man in a top hat appeared in front of him.

“Am I in London? Do you have tea?” Sig’s thoughts weren’t very attached at the moment.

“Please allow me,” Phileas said as he helped up the drunk.

“Say, thank the Queen for me. She has made fine examples of manners out of her subjects.” Sig was focusing again.

“My pleasure, sir. Are you OK?”

“Aw, nothing’s broken that wasn’t already. Thanks. Say, don’t I know you?”

“Me, sir? Uh… erm… why yes! I’m Phileas Fogg from Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days.”

“No, I mean the actor. You look awfully familiar.”

“Why… no… I think you may have me mistaken for someone else.” This excited Phileas something awful, as if to fully understand the implications of being identified.

“Oh, I apologize. It’s my mistake. Would you do me a favor though?” Sig said with the best possible serious face he could muster, which wasn’t even close.

“Yes. Yes! What is it?” Relieved, Phileas could continue roleplaying.

“Say ‘Long Island’ for me.”

© 2013 by Corvidae in the Fields, all rights reserved

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