Posts Tagged ‘a new story’

Guess what I’m doing right now. Right at this very moment. Go on, take a shot.

Yep. I’m listening to my iPod. Chilling out to the sweet tunes of U2. Ahh.

I owe Jamie big time. He was fantastic, by the way. It was a kind of scaled-down version of the original Bugsy Malone, but they kept the big song numbers in, and, of course, lots of cream pie throwing. It was a real hit. Jamie hammed it up like anything, and he and the girl playing Tallulah stole the show in their little witty banter scene.

The kid’s got a bright future ahead of him. At the very least as a guidance counsellor.

I sauntered in to work on Friday night. Lloyd was bouncing around as usual, radiating waves of Lloydness that seemed to have the very walls shivering with irritation. I wandered over to the bar to start serving the few customers that were either lingering from the afternoon or starting early for the night. Sure enough, I’d barely served the first Crown when Lloyd was behind me, talking into my ear.

“Gotta guess tonight, Artie, or I’m keeping your iPod. For good, Artie.”

I resisted the urge to turn and kick him in the crotch. I kept very calm, and affected a note of disappointment in my voice.

“Oh dear, Lloyd. I’ve almost run out of ideas. How about… um… Lettuce? Breadboard? Kittenbrush?” I refilled the water jugs.

“Artie, Artie, Artie, you’re not trying very hard are you? Guess I’ll be keeping it.”

“Guess so.”

“Well, I’ll let you keep guessing til the end of the night, Artie. Think hard.”

“Okay, Lloyd. I’ll think on it.”

I spent the rest of the night making sure it looked as though I was pondering the problem with intense concentration. Occasionally I would make some other stupid suggestion like “Trufflebag” or “Papermug”. Lloyd was practically jumping from one end of the bar to the other.

He’s such an imbecile.

By the time close rolled around, I was already feeling pretty tired. Fridays take it out of you. But my mood improved considerably as Lloyd pushed ahead of me into the changeroom.

“Artie, Artie, it’s the end of the night and you still haven’t guessed. Which means I win. I win and you l-” Suddenly he spotted the note stuck to his locker. I had photocopied a page from Jamie’s large book of Grimm’s Tales and circled the relevant sentence in bright pink highlighter. Lloyd’s face fell faster than a drunk giraffe.

“Very unoriginal, Lloyd. Really, it was almost disappointing to find this.” I leaned over his shoulder and spoke directly into his ear. “I want it back by tomorrow.”

And it was in my mailbox first thing Saturday morning.

I spoke to Joanie last night at work, too. She wanted to tell me that Abi had really improved since our lunch last week, and to thank me for bringing James.

“She’s so much brighter, I can’t even begin to describe it. I was so worried, you know, that the depression would drive her to do something silly,” she confessed. “It’s horrible to have that thought running around your head all day.” Then she laughed. “He rang yesterday to speak to her, and I’ve never seen Abi move so quickly from the lounge room to the hallway. I think there may have been a land-speed record involved.”

I grinned. “It does get that way, I suppose, when you’re young.”

Joanie laughed at me. “Because you’re obviously getting on in years. I would go so far as to describe you as geriatric.”

But tonight was the real icing on the cake. Sunday again, nice and quiet. James came in wearing a huge silly grin on his face that made me wonder for a second whether he was the same person I’d been working with for the last two months.

“So,” I said jauntily, “having a good day are we? Did you speak to Abi again?”

“Yeah,” he said, almost dazed, “yeah, I did. She’s fantastic, isn’t she? I’ve never met anyone like her, she’s so…” He made vague swirling gestures in the air, twiddling his fingers. “Sparkly.”

“She’s a real gem, yes,” I laughed.

“But Arthur…” He grabbed my arm. “Arthur, that’s not all. I got a letter today.”

“Really?” I felt a jolt of excitement run through me. His energy was contagious.

“Arthur, it’s Hannah. She wrote to me. She’s okay.” His voice shook slightly. “She’s okay.”

“Do you know where she is?”

“She said… she said she can’t tell me yet, but that she missed me, and she’ll come back eventually. She says she’s coming back.” He paused. “It might take a while, but that’s okay. I’ll see her some day.”

A shining white pebble on the forest path. Mark another one up for Jamie.

But when I got home this evening, I found a message of my own. I turn my phone off during work, of course, but not many people ring me anyway. Tonight, though, I had a little reminder telling me to check my 1 New Voice Message. I dialled the voicemail number.

“Uh… oh. Um. Hi. Er, it’s me. The, um, it’s Eva. The girl, from the hospital? Yeah. Sorry, I hate answering machines. Uh, listen, I was wonderi- well, you gave me your number, so, so I guess, what I’m asking, um, would you like to go get some coff- well it doesn’t have to be coffee, I mean I just wanted to say thank you, and you don’t have to, but if you wanted to go get something, sometime, that would be… great. Uh, so, here’s my number…” She reeled off a string of digits. “And, guess I’ll see you soon. Or… not.” Beep.

I’d spent enough time perusing Jamie’s books to get a fair idea of where Eva might fit into this whole thing. The thing is, as far as I can tell, her story never really finished. I mean, you hear about her sister, and the wedding, and they live happily ever after, etcetera, but Eva’s story sort of cuts off at the point where I found her. So where do we go from here? How does this part of the story end?

I’m tempted to think it’s not the end at all. I think Jamie would probably agree it’s a whole new story altogether. Let’s see how it goes.

I’ll call her tomorrow.


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