It feels so good to sit down. I ambitiously walked from 40th Street clear up to 76th for reasons still unknown. I thought it would be nice to window shop but it got a little out of hand. When I saw the Carlyle’s awning waving like one’s mother, I couldn’t help but to dash in.
It’s 3 in the afternoon or so and the place is virtually empty. Eddie, the bartender, was very happy to see me. “Where have you been,” he said, running his fingers through his thick brown hair, “haven’t seen you in ages.” I didn’t tell him that I tend to come in on his day off since it might hurt his feelings. To be honest, I’m surprised he’s still there in all his quirky splendor resembling a male model who took the wrong left.
I ordered a vodka and tonic with extra lime so he brought back an entire one paring it in front of me. I suddenly felt I was at Benihana wondering if fantail shrimp might be coming up next. I used to love to go there while they made your dinner on a grill right in front of you. That way you knew you were really getting chicken, not some creature they caught out back.
Just gave myself a chill.
After talking to Eddie for far too long a beautiful woman came in and sat two seats down from me at the bar. She was a tall, imposing blonde with huge diamonds dripping from her ears that I couldn’t help but to admire. “Your earrings are amazing,” I said, once she got settled.
“They’re fake,” she said, arranging herself on her stool. Her casual candor made me like her instantly.
“Well, they’re great fakes,” I said smiling, “because if you hadn’t told me I never would have known.”
“I only lie to people I know,” she said grinning. “I’m Min, pleased to make your acquaintance so from here on in don’t believe a word I say.” She had a snappy delivery, like Lauren Bacall in the film To Have and Have Not.
Min ordered a Manhattan straight up that took Eddie 15 minutes to make. “What’s that boy doing,” she asked, amused by his unheard of efficiency. “Now I wish I ordered a beer.”
“He likes to take his time,” I said, feeling unusually protective. “He’s giving you the royal Bemelmans treatment.” Actually, he always takes this long but she didn’t have to know that.
There was something so unusual about her. I just couldn’t put my finger on it. For starters, she was huge, like a Vegas showgirl with a head the size of a lion. I felt pocket-sized next to her and I’m not tiny. The other thing I noticed were her hands. They reminded me of catcher’s mitts.
“Are you staying at the hotel?” I asked, genuinely curious.
“Yes, I’m here with my boyfriend Tex.”
“Tex? I’m sorry, but I’ve never known anyone who knew anyone by the name of Tex before.”
“Yes, we’re both originally from Dallas so that’s his nickname. He’s a big one, my sexy Texy. Makes me feel all teensy and small.”
Small? Who’s she dating, Gulliver? My drink was starting to hit me so I knew I needed to watch my mouth. The last thing I wanted to do was insult her…she was so nice and friendly and very funny. She told Eddie he took so long she was thinking of giving up drinking. Maybe she’d have coffee instead. He looked alarmed not knowing if she was kidding brewing a fresh pot just in case.
Then another couple came in so Min moved to the stool right next to me. “I hate people listening in,” she said. That’s when I saw it, her Adam’s apple the size of a mango. Omigod, she’s a he. How could I have been so blind. Well actually I know the answer to that. It’s what I get for not having my new glasses made up. Turns out in my twilight years I need them for distance. Sitting two seats away she looked a bit gauzy but still very female. Oh my…and I’m supposed to be the astute, keen writer.
Now what do I do. Okay Susannah, relax…you’re from Connecticut after all, the ‘I don’t see it’ capital of the world…I’ll just pretend I don’t notice it moving around like a hysterical hockey puck. Suddenly all kinds of things came to my attention. Her voice, which was rather low, seemed to get even lower. I noticed how broad her shoulders were in her cream colored knitted dress. I found myself wondering if she played football in college.
“Tex should be here any minute,” she said, draining her glass. “By the time that cute little bartender makes me another ‘a these, I’ll need another one.” She was cheerful and lighthearted, I’ll say that for her, I mean him, and well… don’t look now but here comes Tex.
He was big alright…kind of like The Chrysler building if it wore a Stetson.
“Tex, this is my new friend…what is your name, you never told me.”
“Jane, my name’s Jane.” What possessed me to lie I really can’t say but it felt as if I was in the company of circus people who might start to ask me for things, which wasn’t far from the truth. When Tex ordered me another drink I panicked. “No, no, thanks though…I’m really a one drink kinda gal.”
Too late…this was one of those rare times when Eddie decided to pick up the pace.
Now I had one on either side of me, like pillars. “So what do you do?” asked Tex who I prayed was really a guy and not a girl dressed like one. I just didn’t feel up to another gender shock.
“Oh I’m a model,” I said nervously. I never mention writing when I’m at Bemelmans since I knew, tipsy and all, who the stars of my next post would be.
“See I’m always tellin Min here she should give the modeling thing a shot. I mean look at her. She’s positively dazzling.” You had to assume he knew she was a he. I mean, this could not be another Crying Game now could it? You remember that film when no one knew that She also had a penis that she brought out for special occasions.
“Maybe you could hook Minnie up while we’re here,” Tex said, like I was the cruise director on a ship.
I could just see me calling Ray at the Bella Agency. Ray, I just met the most interesting gal I think you should meet. What’s so special about her? Well, let’s just say she has lots to offer.
When the room started to spin and that included Min’s Adam’s apple, I politely excused myself. Tex picked up my check and I did something that I can’t say I’m too proud of. I took down their room number and said I’d make a call on Min’s behalf.
Rather than calling, I left her a note at the hotel.
It was so nice meeting you and Tex. I’m still working on that referral for you. Maybe you could leave your contact number with Ellis at the bar and I’ll see what I can do. Best, Jane.
I then did what I should have done when it all first happened…I called Brains.
Hello Camille…gotta minute?