Money Penny wears Valentino now.

Without a phone, I trekked on.  Yet another link to being free. I thought I’d miss it horribly, but really, I don’t miss it at all.

Betty and hit New Orleans, finally.   I parked her off the French Quarter, and got a room in a swanky hotel. I’d been sleeping in her for the last six or seven nights, I figured I would treat myself.

Yes. I said sleeping.  Sleeping hard and wonderfully, curled up in those sweat and cum soaked furry seat covers, I snored, drooled, and became part of the seat in a slumber so deep, a pin in a voodoo doll couldn’t wake me.

When I checked in, I took my first shower in six days. It lasted for about fifty minutes. I love that about hotel showers. Ridiculously large hot water heaters.  To celebrate my slumber, my trek, and my freedom from a cell phone, I decided to get dressed up. I put on a black backless Valentino dress. Silk and knee length, a plunging neckline, it left little to the imagination, yet still represented class somehow.

I invited myself for a drink at the hotel lounge. I sat down at the chic bar. The lounge was all black and white. The bar glowed with lights set inside the counter top.  My martini sparkled from beneath, and I felt as if I were in a Vogue ad. Maybe a Dissarono commercial. All I needed was a hot bartender to put mine on the rocks, which were actually frozen diamonds, and finger bang me on the bar with his eyes.

Instead I was chatted up by a striking man in a tuxedo. He came up next to me and smiled a smile you would find in a Crest commercial.  (by the way, after having read every magazine known to man in airports, mostly ones people leave on planes or hand over after a flight, I am apt to compare most things to an ad of some sort. Airports, train stations, hotel gift shops, and central squares of cities where most of my hotels have been located are prime hot spots for ads. Everywhere. For everything. I am a victim of ad culture. Hear me roar.)

He was charming. He was ridiculously handsome. And he was, I am assuming, rich.  I couldn’t believe he was talking to me.  It didn’t make sense.

“So, are you staying here?”

“Yes, I am.”

“On business?”

“On pleasure, actually.”

“My pleasure?”

Man was he smooth.  He ordered me a drink and smiled again. He seemed to be waiting for me to say something. I felt awkward and smiled back and then looked back at my drink. When I looked up again, his expression had changed from sly confidence to insecurity masked with a smile that was quickly deflating, like a balloon in cold weather.

“My pleasure?” He asked again.

“Um…” I said, tossing my hair and laughing it off as I looked around.  There seemed to be a script here that I was not aware of.

“Sure,”I said “If you like good conversations.”

“He shook his head and looked at his shoes. His Gucci shoes.  he untied his bowtie and put his hands on his hips and looked around.

“Sarah?” he asked.

“Huh?”

“You’re not Sarah.”

“Um no. Sophie.”

He turned a bright red and plopped down on the stool next to me. His entire demeanor changed. He was no longer slick and confident. He was defeated, humbled, and humiliated.

“I’m sorry to disappoint,” I said, still unsure, looking around and suddenly feeling very naked and very undesirable. If only my name were Sarah. I  was beginning to feel less desired, and that a very awkward situation was approaching, so in order to deflect it, I quietly put my credit card down on the bar for the bartender to catch on that I was ready to leave.

“Its a long story. But now that I know you’re Sophie, mind if I just sit here with you for a while?”

“Sure,” I said, offering condolences with my expression. “you gonna be ok? Did you get stood up?”

“I think so, Sophie. Yeah. I think I did.”

My thoughts had completely changed about him. He was a fake. And I felt like I might be holding a conversation with an idiot. He went from Manly man to little boy in a tux in no time flat.

“What’s your name?” I asked.

“He looked at me and smiled. He looked at himself, embarrassed and still deflated. Then he stood up and brushed his jacket back with one hand on his waist. He leaned in and raised an eyebrow and smirked.  He took my martini in his hand and took a sip.

“Doyle,” he said. “James Doyle.”

I smiled at him and shook his hand.

“So can I call ya Sophia?” he asked.

“You can call me anything but Sarah,” I said as I took my martini back.

He smiled and raised his champaigne glass to my martini.

“What do you want to toast to?” he asked.
” I don’t know,” I said. And I really didn’t.

“I know,” he said.

He raised his glass and I raised mine.

“Here’s to you NOT being an online hooker named Sarah. Thank God I didn’t Paypal the bitch.”

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