I lead her to the table.
Pulling her chair out for her,
Noticing the nape of her neck – framed by a single string of ivory pearls,
She shuffles in the chair – her mind squirming to get comfortable.
I walk to the other side of the table, my heart pounding in my ears.
I sit, muttering: “so, shall we start?”
She asks for an ash-tray, I bring her one made from shredded flowers.
“So, I’ve heard a lot about you” she says, blowing a black South-Easter of tobacco over my forehead.
I ponder on that sentence for a moment, my head clambering over the rocks on Clifton’s 4th beach, hopefully out of sight from children and the metallic taste of sunscreen, me pulling her bikini bottom to the side.
“Don’t believe everything they say” I reply, “it could be far worse than you’ve been told”.
“So, there’s this man who stole money from me”.
A deserted wintry Queens’ Beach parking lot at 3am, her on her knees on the tarmac, halter-necked, me climbing over the passenger seat, clumsily forgetting my seatbelt was still strapped on.
“Was it a lot of money?” I enquire.
Stumping the cigarette out, shredding the shredded flowers even more,
“Don’t ask stupid questions, Sir”.
I am a kid again, running on a summer field – away from my dad locked in his own psychosis, my brothers fighting in the back of the car, my mother puckering her lips, only for herself, in the sun-visor mirror.
“Yes of course” I reply.
“So, are you going to help me or not?”.
I can see Lion’s Head summit ahead, I’m looking at my watch – knowing I can make it in a record time for me, if only my right knee was not about to conk in.
“Lady, I am not sure I can get a blood-bath from a pebble” I sum up.
“I’ll have the calamari” I tell the waiter.
Her face wears a smoked salmon hued sadness. The endless upstream battle now becoming tedious, me probably the very last one on her list of local big-game fishermen.
Her face softens, pleading now, all the bile draining – a young fresh-faced teenage farm-girl with a dandelion in her hair – all soft fluffy chocolate mousse inside.
I drain my glass of Diemersdal Sauvignon Blanc wine, me thinking of absolutely nothing except the substantial fees I am about to write.