We’ll Always Have Spanish Harlem

Prose, including snippets (mini-memoirs).
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goldenmyst
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We’ll Always Have Spanish Harlem

Post by goldenmyst » June 28th, 2020, 10:00 pm

We’ll Always Have Spanish Harlem

“What would you like today, Mr. John?”

“Give me a shot of mezcal with the worm, dead or alive.”

She hovers. “For your information, there are no live worms in our mezcal. Don’t believe what you see in the movies. And we haven’t gotten our liquor license yet. Mr. John, what do you do for fun other than impersonating a bad hombre?”

“I write.”

My unexpected answer is translated upon traveling from her ear to her brain as “I read.”

“We all read,” she replies laconically.

She crosses toward the kitchen but stops in mid-walk upon my words, “I write. I studied creative writing in college.”

Her boomerang maneuver takes her back to my table. She asks, “Did you graduate from college?”

I reply, “Three times.”

She asks, “What were your majors?”

I say, “My masters was in library science.”

“What system did you study, the Dewey Decimal or the dewy damsel?”

“My best line is ‘Hey you look as lonely as I feel. Can I buy you a coca-cola on the rocks?’”

“So you are a near-beer kind of guy.”

“As near as I can get without child support.”

“Your celibacy is safe with me, John.”

One day she exclaims, “I believe you are a secretly married runner of Ponzi schemes with a love child whose mother you pay hush money.”

My reply, “I never had children” prompts her to ask, “Were you ever married?”

I reply, “For twelve years.”

When Christmas approaches her inquisitiveness grows focused and more intense. She stands behind the counter and jabs her finger at me like a police interrogator. “You were married for twelve years. What happened?!”

“She was much older than me. We were going in different directions.” On that note, I make an about-face and sail out the door.

The next day she is all sunshine smiles and her lilt returns like a lost kitten. She says, “Oh divorce happens all the time. I told everyone about you.”

Alas, it is closing day for the restaurant due to the coronavirus. But my book arrives just in time to present it to her before the lonely weeks ahead. She can’t wait and reads. Her tears come like orphans seeking a home. She says, “We may never meet on this earthly plane again. But here is how I want you to remember me.” She takes the barrettes out of her beehive hairdo. Her hair falls down like a magnificent hoop skirt. She hands her hairpins to me. “To remember me by,” she says.

She says, “We’ve been talking about you.”

With her downward cast eyes what begins as a casual encounter becomes intimate with my, “I miss you.”

She turns ecstatic with her rainbow smile. “Oh, I miss you too. I can’t wait until all this is over with so we can talk more again.” She sings some lines from, “Don’t cry for me Argentina.”

“Who are you singing that to?”

“You, it seemed to fit the moment.”

“Do I seem like a foreign country to you?”

“I meant it affectionately. What is wrong with being a foreigner anyhow? I am one and one of my favorite rock bands is called ‘Foreigner.’”

“That group started before you were born.”

“You were in college before I was born. But in my book, antiques are more valuable.”

“Wouldn’t you rather have a fresh out of the factory corvette than a 1960s mustang however well maintained?”

“They don’t make them like they used to.”

She thrusts her immigrant hands into the Hobbit holes in the middle earth of my jeans. “Your pockets are warm and cozy. I wish I could take my siesta in one.”

She stuffs my pants pockets with Mexican soft drinks from an ice chest of carbonated refreshments meant for the waitresses to cool off from the heat. She puts two drinks in my shirt pockets for good measure. Her root beer, lemon/lime, strawberry, cream, and cherry colas are canned joy straight from her heart to mine.

“With all that habanero spiced food you need soda to quench your thirst.”

“The cherry cream of your smile and voice is the only drink soft enough to refresh me.”

“Do you have a video chat on your computer?”

“Sure do. Let’s meet in cyberspace for tea.”

“If I was a British Lass then teatime would be great. A stout of root beer is the choicest brew to

make my smile shine like a well-polished shoe.”

“My beverage of choice is strawberry soda.”

“Oh Mr. John to think your first drink request from me was a mezcal with the worm. Were you trying to be macho with me?”

“To be honest I’ve never had mezcal in all my life.”

“Lol. Email me and we’ll hook up. That came out wrong. But what do you call it when two people go on a soft drink date online?”

One Month Later

“John, the email you gave me sent back a reply saying, ‘Custom eulogies for your dearly departed to dress up those closet skeletons as endearing peccadillos for a person of otherwise sterling character to bring comic relief to the bereaved.’ Can you imagine how that shook me up?”

“My handwriting is atrocious. Next time I won’t write in cursive.”

“My first question upon showing up for work this past month was, ‘have you seen Mr. John?’ They answered, ‘not a sign of him.’”

“Oh, darling, I was worried about you too. Truthfully I was quarantining. I should have attempted to get the word to you. I didn’t know if you wanted me to bring our closeness to the attention of the other waitresses.”

“Are you kidding me? They are laying odds on when you’ll ask me out. Fifty dollars is riding on the outcome. We are already an item in the kitchen.

Inquiring minds, among whom I am one, want to know.”

“Well butter my butt and call me a biscuit!”

“I had a dream that the morgue called me to identify your body because I was the only close relation you had locally. So I went there. They pulled open the drawer and there before me was your sweet face ashen in its pallor. They asked me if I wanted any of your belongings so I took your glasses with me as a last keepsake to remember you by. Don’t ever frighten me like that again.”

“Nothing short of an apocalypse will keep me away from you again.”

She takes my order to the kitchen saying, “Mr. John is back. He is well, thank God.”
Last edited by goldenmyst on July 4th, 2020, 8:26 pm, edited 5 times in total.

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sasha
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Re: Spanish Chic & Faux Leather

Post by sasha » June 29th, 2020, 11:53 am

"...antiques are more valuable"

My own penchant for dating younger women prompted a colleague at the time to dub it "The Harrison Ford Effect"

The wager among the wait staff at the end reminded me of my first date with one of them. Despite the instant chemistry between us, I'd held back because of the age difference (18 yrs). She was not so inhibited, and took the initiative & asked me out. I was totally smitten from the outset, and was so buzzed on endorphins that after monopolizing our table for hours, I inadvertently stiffed our waitress on the tip. When I realized my math error, I delivered a card of apology the next day with a $20 bill inside. I couldn't remember the waitress's name, so I explained the situation to a few of her coworkers, who then brainstormed with me until we came up with it. They seemed tickled that even an old timer like me could get brain-locked by infatuation.... "The important thing we want to know," one of them said, "is 'Will there be a second date?' "

There was, but that's a whole 'nother story.....

Liked this exchange.
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I'm not an outlier. I just haven't found my distribution yet.

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goldenmyst
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Re: Spanish Chic & Faux Leather

Post by goldenmyst » June 29th, 2020, 12:50 pm

Sasha, your story about waitress romance was priceless. I am no doubt old enough to be this woman's father. We had chemistry going on for several months. Now she only works there on Sunday. Of course, I fictionalized a lot of the dialogue here. But a lot was verbatim. I promised her a copy of my book of short stories sometime around Christmas. Finally yesterday I presented it to her. She probably had given up on it long ago. I hadn't seen her in over a month. So I walked the mile home in the heat and then returned with the book. She was in tears. My monetary resources aren't enough to have anything to really offer her. No car even for a date. But I think I can honestly say that I love her.

John

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sasha
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Re: Spanish Chic & Faux Leather

Post by sasha » June 29th, 2020, 1:44 pm

Holly was a contract engineer we'd hired to help us out of a manufacturing issue that had forced us into a massive product recall. I'd been assigned to be her tech writer, and had been working closely with her for several weeks. It was clear there were feelings on both sides, but with so many years between us, I was reluctant to act on them. She had no such qualms, and one Friday morning suggested we go out. So that night I took her out to dinner, and was so star-struck I wasn't able to compute the tip correctly. I realized it later, and felt bad about it because we'd monopolized our waitress's table for hours after we'd eaten. When I made up for it a day or so later, the wait staff seemed quite amused by the reason for my gaffe, that even at my age, hormones could fog my brain.....
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I'm not an outlier. I just haven't found my distribution yet.

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goldenmyst
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Re: Spanish Chic & Faux Leather

Post by goldenmyst » June 29th, 2020, 3:13 pm

Sounds like your Harrison Ford Effect was in full swing with Holly. An office romance can be fun. I had a young woman have a not so accidental fall into my arms while on a ladder putting up Christmas ornaments at the office. She had been flirting with me for quite some time before. But I was much younger then.

John

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sasha
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Re: Spanish Chic & Faux Leather

Post by sasha » June 29th, 2020, 4:39 pm

Truth be told, my track record with office romances is pretty dismal. Three failed right out of the gate. Holly and I only lasted about 3 months. The only one that went any distance was my now-ex-wife, since remarried and living in another state. I've been much more successful at celibacy.
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I'm not an outlier. I just haven't found my distribution yet.

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goldenmyst
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Re: Spanish Chic & Faux Leather

Post by goldenmyst » June 29th, 2020, 8:31 pm

Yes, celibacy can be the best course as I've found since my divorce. It works for me.

John

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