Bar Fly Away

Women’s Fiction/Romance

By Eileen Slovak

Photo from: http://www.zagat.com

Nadia was no bar fly, but her roommate Tina fit the profile.

Friday nights at Joe’s Tiki bar in Miami, Tina would routinely perch on the edge of a bar stool, pitching forward, revealing her substantial cleavage, while flipping her false blonde locks at some unsuspecting fool. The dim torchlight masked the pockmarked skin and smoke-stained smile that would cause men to recoil in daylight. Nevertheless, some always sought her sort of promiscuity.

In front of the bathroom mirror in the apartment she shared with Tina, Nadia absently brushed her resplendent black hair. “I’m just not up for the bar scene tonight, T. I think I’ll stay in.”

“For cripes sake Nod, you’ll never get a boyfriend hiding in the apartment.”

I wouldn’t call your one-night playthings boyfriends, Nadia thought.“I’m tired, she said, “and I’m just not…like you, T.”

Nadia dreaded the sounds of Tina’s nightly entertainment reverberating through the thin walls.  As a mid-year transfer to The University of Miami, limited housing options had led to her current residence, but as the new school year approached, she had already begun apartment hunting.

“I know,” said Tina, with her hands on her hips, “I get it. You’re not outgoing.  But I can show you how to get noticed.”

What if I don’t want that kind of attention? Nadia thought looking her roommate up and down. Tina’s reptile-print, tube dress, reminded Nadia of a nature program where an anaconda swallowed a Cayman whole.

“Come on, Nod,” Tina pleaded. “You know I hate going out alone.”

“Well, I guess it couldn’t hurt,” Nadia said applying pale pink lip-gloss to her full lips. Brushing mascara on her generous lashes, she accented her chocolate-brown eyes. She dusted her cheeks with blush, although her flawless, olive skin required nothing.  After adjusting the straps of her stunning black sun dress, she slipped on low sandals.

“I’m ready,” Nadia said.

“Show some skin!” Tina bellowed. “Look at me!”

Nadia resisted saying what she was thinking and instead picked up her purse and followed Tina out the door. As they walked two blocks to the Bar, Tina gulped down a liquored concoction from a large, plastic cup while Nadia looked up at the starlit sky, wishing on each burning light.

“Look out boys,” Tina snorted, “here comes trouble with a capital T!”

Steamy nights meant full club capacity with customers spilling into the streets. Jimmy Buffet’s vocals filled the acrid air. Navigating through a blur of Hawaiian shirts and scanty dresses, Nadia reached the bar, but Tina had slipped away, having found her evening’s mark, she was jigging and singing, “Wasted away again in Margaritaville.”

Moments later with a pink, frozen drink in hand, Nadia slipped to the upper deck, away from the crowd to survey it from a distance. She rested her cup on the deck rail thinking, there must be a better way.

A couple staggering toward the stairs bumped the rail sending Nadia’s drink toppling over. She reached up too late to retrieve it. A waterfall of pink slush landed squarely on a young man below.

“I’m so sorry!” Nadia called down, her long hair waving in the breeze.

Dumbfounded, the man looked up. The right shoulder of his white shirt soggy with the pink mixture, he flashed Nadia a brilliant smile.

“Where I come from,” he said, “its good luck when a beautiful woman spills her drink on you.  So, if you don’t let me buy you another, I’ll be ruined.  What do you say?”

“Is that really true?” she asked walking down the stairs toward him.

“No,” he said, looking into her eyes. He took her hand on the last stair. “I’m Santo,” he said. His eyes remained fixed on hers. He wore his dark hair on the long side and the now wet shirt showed off his fit physique.

“I’m Nadia,” she said.

“Well Nadia, I wish it was true. But one look into your eyes tells me I could never tell you a lie.”

“Then, I say yes,” she smiled and that was how Nadia met her future husband.

-The End

The Pick-Up Line

By Eileen Slovak

Word Count:  895

Sprinting through the neighborhood, Caryn completed her daily four-miles in record time before sending a quick text to her sister, Kim:  Will B ready 2-power shop in 15. 

      Back in her apartment, she showered coffee in hand, then, dressed hastily as her cell phone chirped signaling Kim was waiting.  Moments later, Caryn climbed into the minivan.  Kim handed her sister a homemade scone.

“Thanks, I didn’t have time to eat.”

“That’s why you’re so thin and I’m well, me,” Kim moaned.

Caryn shot her sister a look, “You’ve had two children and you’re too hard on yourself.  So, what’s the emergency today?”

“Jeff forgot to tell me about his boss’s dinner party tomorrow night.  It’s been months since we’ve been out for anything other than fast food and aside from jeans and t-shirts, everything in my closet is two sizes too small.”

“Hmmm,” Caryn said nibbling on her breakfast.  “Okay, how about Anne Taylor or Nordstroms?”

“I was thinking more like Marshall’s or TJ’s.”

“Fine, but no clearance racks.”

“Not even a little one?” Kim asked sheepishly.

“Caryn, clearance means no one wanted it enough to pay full price.”

“Maybe it means no one saw its’ great potential.”

Caryn shook her head no, adding:

“So…you need me to babysit, then?”

“I hate to ask again, but if you don’t have plans…”

“Do I ever?”

“Speaking of plans…how about dinner at our house tonight?”

“Why?”

“Jeff and I would like you to come over, that’s all.”

Caryn raised an eyebrow, “Kim, you know how I feel about being fixed up.”

“Jeff’s friend Carl might stop by for drinks and we think he’s perfect for you.”

“Kim!”

“Just give him a chance.”

Caryn sighed, asking:  “So, what’s his story?”

“He’s single, new in the area, employed and in his mid-thirties.”

“I’ll think about it over shopping.”

In the fitting room’s three-way mirror, Caryn modeled a cute pair of jeans and a sweater, secretly hoping, despite herself, that Carl might be the one.  Kim peered out of her stall, complaining.

“If department store owners had any sense, they’d install low lighting and fun house mirrors to make women look twenty pounds thinner.  Help, I think I’m stuck!”

“What did you do?” Caryn asked helping free her sister from a dress that would not budge over her hips or her shoulders.

“Maybe try wiggling out of it,” Caryn suggested.

“Let’s go look at shoes, at least my feet always stay the same size,” Kim laughed.  “Is that what you’re wearing tonight?”

“I guess.  You win, I’ll meet him.”

After dinner, Caryn helped Kim put the children to bed.  When the doorbell rang, Caryn felt a twinge of nervous anticipation.  On her way downstairs, she observed the man standing with Jeff:  handsome, tall, fit…so far, so good.  Then he began talking.

“Well, hello there.  Carl Waters, pleasure to meet you Caryn.  Wow, I see fire behind those gorgeous green eyes of yours.”

“Oh…well, it’s nice to meet you too,” Caryn said shaking hands.

“Let’s have a drink,” Jeff suggested, leading the group into the living room.

While Kim poured wine, Carl’s eyes wandered all over Caryn.

“Fine vintage, Kim.  I don’t know if Jeff told you, but I’m a bit of a wine connoisseur. Let me tell you a quick story about a little tour I took around Napa…”

An hour later, Carl was still expounding with expertise on every subject from baseball to hunting to mountain biking, while periodically throwing comments Caryn’s way:

“Caryn, I hear you’re a runner?  Well, let me tell you, you’ve been running through my mind all night.”

At nine o’clock, Caryn discretely sent a text.  Ten minutes later, she reached for her coat.

“Kim, Jeff, thank you for a wonderful dinner.  Carl, it was nice to meet you.  Enjoy the rest of your evening.”

“What?”  Kim asked incredulously.

“Kim, I’ll call you later.”

“Where are you off to so early?  I was planning to take you home,” Carl, droned.

“Oh, no Carl, I wouldn’t dream of it, besides, I have a cab waiting.  Goodnight all!”  She called over her shoulder, making her escape.  Breathing in the relief of the fresh outdoor air, she read the name on the door of the cab and laughed aloud:  The Pick Up Line, Cab Company.

“Where’re you headed?” the driver asked.

“Far, far away,” she said hopping in the backseat.

“Excuse me?”

“Sorry, never mind.  The Willows Apartments please, on…”

“It’s okay, I know it well.  I live on the second floor.”

Caryn looked at the driver in the rear mirror and said:

“I’m embarrassed to admit, I work so much I hardly know any of my neighbors.”

“Same here, I teach at Washington High during the day and drive the cab a few nights a week, you know, paying off those student loans.  I’m Jay Stevens.”

“Caryn Ross.  I run past Washington High every morning.”

“So, you’re the runner.  I see you every day on my way to work.  I run too, but usually after school.”

They chatted away until the cab pulled up in front of the building.  Caryn was quiet and then said:  “Jay, if you’re free next Saturday, maybe we could run together.”

Jay turned to face her, jotted his telephone number down on the receipt and said:

“That would be great.  I’m glad I picked you up.”

“So am I,” Caryn smiled.

-The End