Saturday, May 7, 2011

Red lights and happy nights

I am late leaving a meeting in a city hotel.
Outside while walking to my car another lategoer stops me to talk about nothing. He seems afraid to be alone, to go home.
Some people are like that. I grow even more vague in my answers and finally he leaves.

I get the car out of the parking area and drive up to the traffic lights a little way up the street. They go red. I stop.
Sitting in your car at a red light, late at night can be a lonely time, especially when you have just come from a meeting where conversation flowed like water from a burst main.
What happens, I tell myself afterwards was not my fault.

I am looking along the street when a lone woman comes along and nods at me. Being polite and thinking she knows me I nod back.
She smiles, I smile and wonder where I know her from.
Then she is sitting in the passenger seat sighing with her eyes closed like someone who has come a long journey and is just glad to be sitting down.

The light goes green and I drive off, with a woman I realise I do not know in my car. Techically, I have kidnapper her. I ask her what she wants and she asks me the same question.
It is then I realise I am dealing with a professional. The nods and the smiles were an offer to treat and to discuss terms.

I make an illegal U-turn and drive back towards the traffic lights all the while explaining to my companion that it was a mistake and I am tired.
She says she is also tired and as soon as I pay her the 100 per cent cancellation fee we can call it a night and will I give her a lift home?
Which is how I finally settle on a get-out-of-the-car fee just as the other lategoer drives up to the lights in his car.

It is too much to hope that he has not seen me paying off a night worker in my car at a red light.
I have a reputation as a party man ever since and sometimes get calls from men who ask me to say where action might be found.
I just tell them to drive around, it will find them.

Just don't stop for red lights, I say.

storytelling here

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