Tuesday, 17 March 2015

The Maltese Falcon Unstuck.

This appeared in my Recommendations on YouTube tonight. I had to listen to it, didn’t I? By Jove it takes me back a bit, back to the foot-loose, fancy-free, callow youth days.

I went alone to a nightclub one balmy May night, and this track was still a staple. I looked around the dance floor at the jinking bodies, not so much heaving as huffing and puffing, and there among the throng was a blonde vision of loveliness in a cheesecloth dress. She was dancing alone, so I thought it no more than dutiful that I should keep her company.

Aside: I could dance, you know. I could. I know that because an Essex Girl once told me so. Imagine that! An Essex Girl! Recommendations don’t come much higher than that on this side of the pond. You’d have to hear the accent to know what ‘You’re quite the mover, aren’t you Jeff?’ sounds like, but it certainly had a touch of music about it. She was an actress, which is irrelevant, and I never danced like John Travolta, thank heaven. But I digress…

So, the cheesecloth dress and I kept station for a while through several dances and several drinks and much conversation, and then she disappeared. Well, I don’t like being dropped, you know? I don’t. Even though I had no idea where she’d gone and why, it felt like being dropped and I decided it wasn’t going to end there. A bit of Humpty Go Kart was called for. The problem was, the conversations hadn’t revealed very much about her. I knew her name was Monica (which is fictional to protect the guilty,) that she lived somewhere south of Stafford, and that she was a student teacher. It was enough. The following day I began by visiting the only teachers’ training college in the area and engaging in relaxed conversation with the janitor.

I won’t bore you with the details. Suffice it to say that I eventually tracked her down to an amateur dramatic group in a town about twenty miles away. I joined the group and turned up for rehearsal one evening after work. And there she was, sitting on the far side of the room. We stared at one another a few times, and then she came over during a break in proceedings.

‘What the hell are you doing here?’ she asked. ‘Would you like to come over and meet my husband?’


Fortunately, she was nothing like the vision I remembered. It’s the nightclub lights that do it. They soften the image, and then they cloud your vision and screw with your perception. What looks and smells like honey eventually tastes like raw molasses. I expect she felt the same way about me. Lessons learned all round.

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