PERSONAL ESSAYS




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I was walking around and around Russell Square in an outfit inappropriate for just about any occasion. At twenty-three, I still suffered from post-teenage skankiness, or the inability to dress with any sort of discretion. I was listless and lost, and my bright green mini-skirt hardly matched my mood. My gold leather purse was weighing down my right shoulder and I was barely able to keep my rolling red suitcase straight with my left arm.



Unable to find my hotel, I circled the square aimlessly. Very white people were everywhere, drinking outside of pubs, but they did so with dignity and solemn grace. They were serious daytime drinkers, and unlike my neighborhood bum, who had a forty with him every morning, these people looked perfectly respectable as they downed beers at nine a.m.

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I leered into a murky bar, contemplating giving up and getting a pint in spite of the early hour, when I was interrupted by a gentle tapping on my shoulder.
I wheeled around to see a well-dressed British gentleman who was now backing away from me. "Excuse me, Miss, so sorry, but, Miss: Your skirt appears to be riding up."



My skirt was indeed tucked into my underpants, and must have been since I had gotten on the tube from Heathrow. My underpants were, at least, boy-cut, meaning they covered a good portion of my thick Italian ass.


I smoothed the tucked fabric down with my left hand. My rolling red suitcase slid to the ground gracelessly. Gesturing to the bag, the gentleman who had alerted me about the exposure of my left butt-cheek smiled warmly and asked, "Are you looking for your hotel?" He had a soft and girlish voice, a very proper accent, and I knew that if I leaned closer he would smell like peppermint and aftershave.



"The Montague? On the Gardens?"
I showed him a crumpled print-out with a phone number scrawled in magic marker.


I wheeled around to see a well-dressed British gentleman who was now backing away from me.

"Let me dial that for you."
The gentleman whipped out what looked like a Blackberry and began punching numbers. He leaned against a black Mercedes, and I assessed the proper cut of his suit. He looked to be in his mid-fifties. He was tan, a little worn around the eyes, and in the morning light I could see that his right front incisor was golden. I wanted to ask him how much it cost.



"Do you work around here?" I asked lamely.


"Yes, yes! Real estate!"



I blinked. We discovered that my hotel was about a block away, and I thanked him profusely.


"Let me give you my card. I'm Frederick. Do call me when you're settled in, we'll grab a drink." When I finally got a working phone, I sent Frederick a thank-you text — as a courtesy, and in the interest of a few free cocktails.



Later that day I decided to have a £12 cocktail composed of Campari, fresh muddled raspberries and a dash of champagne. The barman was taking an exquisite amount of time muddling the raspberries. "It doesn't have to be perfect," I said. "It just has to be strong."



Suddenly my new British phone, which I had obtained from my hotel's concierge, began doing a little jig that I hadn't seen it do yet. It said PRIVATE CALL. I picked up.


"Hello!" A peppermint-scented voice gushed at the other end.

I sipped my cocktail slowly and listened to Frederick sputter a rather confusing invitation to dinner.


        

  





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Commentarium (8 Comments)

Jan 19 09 - 10:53am
KM

Holy hell, was that a Homestar Runner reference?

Jan 20 09 - 9:11am
JCF

Depending on when this happened, it may have been entirely legal in the U.K., but be glad you didn't take the bait! As they say, it always starts out simple....

Jan 20 09 - 4:30pm
ZXZ

Started out as a sparkling promise, but left as a pale glimmer...

Jan 21 09 - 5:07pm
rjf

honestly, that's a tough call. big cash, but then what does one become? good for you for sticking to your conscience.

Jan 23 09 - 10:25am
bb

yawn

Jan 24 09 - 4:03pm
RN

More like seven stone, not seventy. A stone is 14 pounds. You'd be on "The Fattest Person Alive" show at seventy stone.

Feb 04 09 - 9:37pm
MS

I'll happily give you 100 of my hard-earned pounds if you can prove you've ever set your club foot in London.

Frances Bacon?
Covent Gardens?
Fish and chips?

Shame on you, Nerve editors.

My only hope is that this is weak, pointless satire.

Tally ho!

Feb 25 09 - 6:56pm
EG

The official verdict from London, UK (home of Covent Gardens and men who speak like no terrestrial being ever did):
"What a load of wank."
It sounds like a terribly traumatising experience, darling.