I read, I write; simple, frustrating and exhilirating. I scribble random thoughts and overheard tasty words. I have worshipped at the altar of the US Treasury too long (but corporate America has a way of ordering your steps regardless of intergrity, dreams and desires). I have jumped, the MBA pilots have welcomed my departure as I slowly float to earth, pen in hand. I want to join Red Room to read, visuallize, re-read and reflect. My own scribblings may entertain, cajole or at least satisy my desires to contribute something more than an impressive balance sheet. Story telling has been relegated to the printed word; a shame at worst and requiring eloqution for the salvation of the circumspectual essay. We need writers, we need dreamers; we need a way back to our souls.
Larry Brown; Larry McMurtry; Raymond Carver; Thom McGuane; Rick Bass; Charles Dickens; T. Boyle;
Clay Garrett hopped out of the shower and looked in the mirror. The bags still hung under his fifty five year old eyes, the paunch around his waist was still evident but it no longer mattered. Emily was flying in tonight.
Clay had made reservations at the finest restaurant in Houston, Tx., everything was prepared. The one white rose was in the vase, the diamond earrings were in the velvet box and the engagement ring and wedding band were tied together by a single red ribbon in the pocket of his Burberry jacket.
It had been two years coming. Clay met Emily in the lobby of the Four Seasons Hotel in St. Louis almost exactly two years ago to the day. He had sat impatiently waiting for his executive assistant to bring down his notes for the presentation that afternoon, in the over-stuffed leather chair, of the lobby, watching the staff starting to hang the Christmas lights for the season.
A light touch on Clay’s sleeve startled him as he looked over at the blonde haired lady sitting next to him. She smiled broadly.
“Hon, your tied is crooked”, she smiled again.
Clay looked to his left and looked at the most beautiful woman he had ever seen.
“Excuse me?” Clay swallowed hard, his heart racing.
The blonde reached over and gently moved the knot of Clay’s tie, centering it between the collar tips.
“There, you look very handsome now.” She smiled again, more with her eyes than her lips.
Clay looked at the blonde for what seemed like an hour. She had pretty hair, nicely styled, a little above her shoulders, slightly curled towards her neck. Her eyes were so blue they almost appeared violet. She wore a brightly colored sweater of magenta, tangerine, yellows and blues, with a scooped neckline, exposing a pearl necklace.
Her legs were crossed under a brown puffy skirt with a black suede hem line. She bounced her left leg ever so slightly over her crossed legs, wearing the brightest cowboy boots Clay had ever seen.
“They’re cute huh?”
Clay stopped his staring and looked back at the blonde’s eyes.
“The boots; they are Rocket Busters, and I just adore them”, reaching down slightly pulling up her skirt to show both boots.
Clay’s tongue had stuck to the roof of his mouth; his throat was parched.
“Uh, yes they are, I have never seen such a bold pair of boots in my life, and I am from Texas, so that is saying something”. The words leaked out slowly and without the cadence that normally came so easily for him.
The blonde smiled again, immediately drawing attention to her eyes.
“It’s what I do”, she said.
Clay caught his breath, “What do you mean?”
“I re-sell premium boots, mostly for ladies; Rocket Busters, Corrals’, Old Gringos’, some Lucchesses’ and of course lower end as well. And by looking at your Lizard Dan Posts’ I think you are probably a size twelve.”
Clay immediately looked down at his own boots, Dan Post black lizard skinned. They needed a shine.
“Amazing, you’re right, I am a size twelve.” Clay for some reason became very self-conscious, crossed his legs and held his arms close to his chest.
The blonde smiled knowingly again. Clay was mesmerized. There was a kind spirit about this stranger. She was striking. Perfect make up that accentuated her eyes. Wonderful, high cheek bones, an ample bosom, slim waist and a dazzling, devil may care outfit.
Clay sat staring, he was sure, for way too long. He hadn’t noticed that Amanda his assistant was standing over him on the other side of the chair.
“Dr. Garrett, you’re on in ten minutes, here are your notes, the power point is set up and ready.” Clay looked over his shoulder. Amanda was standing with her arms crossed, the folder against her chest.
“Just leave it here on the table Amanda, I will be in there in a second.”
Amanda, obviously not pleased with the response, dropped the folder on the table and walked away in measured steps towards the auditorium.
“So you’re a doctor?” The stranger smiled again. Clay was terribly nervous, and momentarily didn’t think he could even talk.
“I used to be” he shrugged.
“What does that mean, you used to be, you obviously still are”. The blonde pointed to the folder on the table with her manicured finger.
“It says, Dr. A. Clay Garrett, A Study of the pre-hospital treatment of Congestive Heart Failure stage three patients.”
She smiled again.
“I’m sorry, that is terribly inappropriate of me to ask so many questions of a perfect stranger”.
“That is a long story, and we don’t have enough time to even get into the meat of my personal failings” Clay stuttered.
“Well how long are staying here Dr. Garrett?” She emphasized the Dr. Garrett, again smiling that smile that had taken Clay aback at the first time he looked at her. He immediately glanced at her “ring” finger, noticing there was no wedding band.
“I am here till day after tomorrow, I have one more presentation tomorrow morning, and then a board meeting at eight tomorrow night”.
“Well then Dr. Garrett, I will expect you to buy me dinner tonight at eight sharp in the Terrace Room on the top floor of the hotel. By the way, I am Emily Baudouin.” She extended her right hand.
Clay reached forward and lightly grabbed her outstretched hand, she squeezed lightly, and then dropped his hand.
Just as suddenly, she stood up, flattened her skirt against her thighs, turned and walked towards the elevators.
She looked over her shoulder as she walked away, “Don’t be late, Dr. Garrett, I will be starving by tonight and I eat like a field hand”.
That was it. Clay watched her hips sway slightly as she disappeared down the corridor that led to the elevators. She was tall; probably five eight or five nine. He tried to understand what had just happened. Who this beautiful woman was, and why did she remotely want to have dinner with him.
Clay got up, grabbed his notes and proceeded to the auditorium five minutes late. Amanda was sitting behind the podium on her laptop with a very displeased look on her face.
“Who was that lady that had your full attention in the lobby” she asked.
“I don’t know, I don’t know” Clay murmured.
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