Writers' Cramp contest entry - with apologies to Lowell George.
|Jimmy-Lee crawled out of the oil patch with too much cash in his pockets and not enough smarts to hide it. Or maybe he just didn't care. His only goal was to burn through it in the two weeks before he flew back to his rig. He figured that would require a dedicated effort.
He leaned on the polished mahogany bar at Clive's and ordered a couple of whiskeys. As the bartender took his cash, Jimmy-Lee's ears perked up at a husky female laugh from the other end of the bar. He leaned forward and the spell was cast. He beheld the profile of the face of a goddess. He was held rapt, enchanted. She sensed his stare and turned lazily in his direction. Cascades of long dark curls framed the strong high cheekbones below her almond eyes and the perfect full lips a shade just this side of ruby. Their eyes met. His breath caught in his throat. He almost choked on his whiskey. Smoldering chestnut brown eyes with impossibly long coal-dark lashes. They burned deep into him for just long enough, then she turned back to the woman sitting beside her. He willed her to favor him with another glance, but she didn't get the message.
Jimmy-Lee recovered and turned back to the work of drinking whiskey. He argued some baseball with the bartender, watched some NASCAR on the big screen and tried to out-yarn the men sitting around him. By midnight he was tired and bored. He paid his tab and sauntered toward the door. He glanced around the crowded bar hopefully, but the girl was nowhere to be seen.
He shambled across the parking lot toward his hotel. A most delicious, almost subliminal scent sailing on the warm breeze teased his nostrils. In the same moment, he felt a hand on his arm. Alarmed, he spun around. And looked directly into those eyes. They had spellbound him earlier; they were even more mesmerizing a sweet breath's length away. He was paralysed. Words slipped and slid and wouldn't assemble in his brain.
She laughed. "Oh, I see you're the quiet type."
He stood stunned. "I know you can talk," she joked. "I heard your voice in the bar."
Enough of the globules of his shattered wits had run together that he could form a sentence. "How come you didn't come talk to me inside?"
She cocked her head sideways, raised a quizzically arched eyebrow. With that throaty laugh, "Isn't that the man's job?"
"Never mind. It's kind of cute. I'm Kate. You have a name? Silent Sam maybe?"
"Jimmy-Lee. And I'm not usually shy."
It got better after that. The night was warm, so they strolled through moonlit Old Town and out over the silvery bay along the boardwalk. Kate spoke little, but she drew out his life story and then some. By the time they wandered back downtown the sky was lightening in the east and Jimmy-Lee was hopelessly far gone. He was quiet again, so Kate sang as they walked back to his hotel.
"I never heard that song," Jimmy-Lee said.
"You never would, Jimmy. It's mine."
Jimmy-Lee hoped she'd come up to his room.
"Aww, Jimmy. I can't. I have to work soon. But I'll meet you in the lobby tomorrow night at eight." She pressed her body impossibly close to him and kissed him. More than once. There wasn't much chance he'd be dreaming of anything else but those lips and hips tonight.
Jimmy managed to find an edgy facsimile of sleep and survived the next day in a love-stricken daze. He wandered around town trying to find out where Kate worked. He even dropped by Clive's to see if she worked the bar. Not a sign of her.
But promptly at eight she undulated into the lobby and sat right on his lap in one of the big overstuffed armchairs. "You thought I wouldn't show?" she teased. "Let's see what kind of trouble we can find tonight."
It wasn't so much troublesome as expensive. They dined elegantly in the best place in town and gambled the night away on the boardwalk casino. Too much fine old whiskey found its way down Jimmy's throat. The money flowed like oil from an uncapped gusher. But they had fun, and the cash was for spending. Early morning found them singing their way back to Jimmy-Lee's hotel, arm-in-arm.
"That song again. I love it, Kate."
"I like that, Jimmy. I've never sung it for anyone before. Now please don't be mad, but it's so late again I have to get home to get some sleep. Tomorrow night, I promise I'll stay."
Jimmy-Lee really wanted to be upset, but it was hard to maintain his focus while being wrapped in arms and legs and smothered in passionate kisses. Not to mention the intoxicating perfume that fogged his mind.
"See you at eight, my love."
Promptly at eight, Kate danced into the lobby, grinned playfully and pulled Jimmy from his chair. "Let's go shopping!" Slightly overwhelmed, Jimmy trailed dutifully as she led him on a whirlwind tour of the fine jewelry stores in town. She picked up beautiful, exotic pieces of intricately worked gold studded with diamonds, sighed, and replaced them in their plush velvet cases. Finally she chose a plain bracelet with a $25 price tag. Her liquid brown eyes reminded Jimmy of a sad puppy. His heart ached.
"You really liked that fancy gold and jade necklace, didn't you?"
"Yeah, but only the Queen of England could afford that one."
"Well . . . . Call me Elizabeth."
"No! Really?" Her eyes widened in disbelief and her incandescent smile melted him where he stood.
That night was all Jimmy-Lee could ever have asked for. Kate stayed until early morning. They drank fine wine and made sweet love and Kate sang tenderly for him. The bank was about broke, but he could now die a happy man.
The next night at eight Kate didn't show. Nor the next. Jimmy-Lee was distraught. He went to Clive's to look for her.
"You seen Kate?" he asked the bartender.
"Kate? Y'mean Conchita, that girl I seen you with? Nope. But she'll be back. Always is."
Jimmy was dumbstruck. He downed whiskey after whiskey and muttered to himself. Unthinkingly he started to quietly sing her song. On the next line the bartender joined in. Then Jimmy-Lee looked along the bar and every man there was singing along.