"Scotch, and soda...no ice."
"No...doesn't matter...make it a double while you're at
was pretty...young...maybe thirty...nice legs...I noticed as she returned to the
she prepared the drink, she asked: "Music?"
"Okay." I said.
"Perfect!" I thought to myself as the haunting melody filled the dark,
empty place...I was the only patron.
reached down into the pocket of the coat, and extracted my cigarettes, and
lighter...took out a cigarette, threw the pack on the table, and lit the thing,
throwing the lighter onto the table. I had taken a carton of Turkish cigarettes
along with me for the trip...a gift from a Third Mate who made his home in Turkey. Blew the
smoke up towards the overhead...disappearing into the
returned with the order..."Nice selection." I said.
favorite...it's a movie theme...forget from which."
"Aha." I said.
"Where's everybody?" I asked.
night tonight...guess it's the fog." she said, turned, and returned to behind
was around eight o'clock...I had finished dinner in a nice place a few blocks
away...didn't drink anything with dinner except coffee, figuring I'd find a
quiet bar in which to close out the evening...but not this
was down a narrow street, like a mews...lined with lofts of a
sort...apartments probably...not a light on in any window. The only light beside
the sparsely placed street lamps being the one over the doors to the bar, which
in neon spelled: "Bar". Large, double, dark painted doors with two small
windows...one on each side of the door...maybe three-feet square with dimly lit
neon beverage signs.
had been some time since my last time in California, and that was
Richmond...this was Oakland...I arrived in the afternoon. I booked myself into a
small, but nice motel not far from this bar...I expected a ship the next
particularly liked waiting for ships...liked to just board on arrival. However,
I did enjoy walking, and sightseeing...even in fog...like it was this
evening...foggy like it can get in London. Whatever, when I entered this place
through those large dark colored doors, the fog followed me in for a few
steps...which was eerie since it took a while for my eyes to adjust to the dark
Little red glass globes with netting around them, and a small candle for
light adorned the dozen, or so small round tables that made up the place. The
floor was bare...wood planking...old. The walls were sparcely adorned with hung
paintings, or pictures, and some ship models...which I could barely make out in
the darkness. Old fashioned paddle fans hung from the beamed overhead...hardly
noticable...still...quiet...not turning. The bar was long...along one wall, with
faded mirrors...bottles of different liquors lined up like all bars have.
sat there behind the dark bar facing the two dark doors...quietly...not saying a
word...seemingly in deep thought. Strangely, she seemed to radiate...stand out
inspite of being in darkness. A beautiful profile...lovely long straight dark
brown hair down to her shoulders...slightly flared up at the ends...very
neat. She had on what looked like an off-the-shoulder knee-length
weren't alone, was with someone, or if there were others in the place I may not
have noticed her, but she was the only living soul beside me in the place. I sat
facing her...two tables away from the bar, which really put me as far from the
bar as possible in this small, maybe thirty by thirty foot room.
slouched back in the chair...legs out straight...facing the entrance...the two
dark doors...my right arm on the table...the cold glass in my hand. I had taken
my hat off...I wore a fedora in those days, but not my coat, which was a
rain-proof trench coat...like reporters wear.
"Where is everybody?" I thought to myself..."This is very
could easily swap views from doors to her just by moving my eyes...which I did
quite often...though never did she look my way.
thought that maybe this was a contest...a game...see who speaks first...is it
necessary to always chat...talk...exchange nonsense?
not...it should be interesting...nice for a change.
music stopped...it had played through several times...she must have a
feature that can set the number of times a selection plays. Whatever, at
the moment it had stopped, she looked my way smiling and asked: "Again?"
nodded "Yes". Then noticing I had finished my drink, she asked: "Another?". I
hardly remember drinking it...was I in some kind of trance? It was good...I
remember that...I should ask her what brand it was. She busied herself fixing
another as the theme returned. That theme, that music, was it that which kept us
in silence? She said it was her favorite...was it because it put her in another
place, another time? I seemed to enjoy it myself...it was
came around from behind the bar, the drink on a small tray...a bar towle
draped on her forearm. I studied her fully this time...the
dress, simple, soft looking...fitted her figure perfectly...it was
knee length. She wore black sling back pumps...ordinary, but had a strap that
crossed the instep...no stockings...perfect ankles...lovely limbs...slightly
looked up into her face as she got closer...she was smiling...her teeth
perfect...eyes brown...brown eyebrows...dark lashes, artful eye make-up, dark
red lipstick on full lips...beautiful girl...woman.
broke the silence: "Nice drink!...what's the brand?" I
favorite...Chivas...it's on me." she said. I was going to ask how she knew, but
didn't...instead just said: "Thank you...that's nice of
placed the empty glass onto the tray...the damp coaster too along with the ash
tray, and using the towle dried up the condensate that remained. So close...her
perfume was so light...so fresh...like flowers I couldn't place. I left my
slouching position, and sat back in the chair...feet under the
Bending over, she put the new drink on the table with a fresh coaster
under it, an empty ash tray, and stood up. She was tall...tall in the sense
taller than average...maybe five-eight, or nine.
wanted to talk to this creature...not only that, I wanted this creature,
but not in the carnal sense...for a moment I sensed her as a missing part
of me...the part that would complete me. Just being close like she was made me
feel so...complete. It wasn't nonsense...it was so plausible...never felt this
had to be the drink...and that haunting melody, or theme. The indiscernable
surroundings...the darkness...the fog. Just she, and
so coincidental with my thoughts: "Do you like the fog?" she asked.
"Fog?" I asked...then: "Fog?...ashore yes...fog's alright ashore." I
at sea though." she said. "Not at sea though." I thought to myself. "That's
strange for her to say."
"No...not at sea. I'm joining a ship in the morning...I hope it lifts." I
wished I hadn't said that. Wished I hadn't said I was joining a ship. Wished I
hadn't mentioned hoping it would lift...fog wasn't an issue any more anyways,
what with radar. Didn't want to get personal...was sorry the silence was broken.
Since it was, it was time to join the real world.
I buy you a drink?...doesn't seem to be too busy around
"Sure...thank you." she said.
"Great!...maybe you can join me then...at least until someone comes in."
"There won't be any more tonight." she said as she turned, and returned
to the bar to fix herself a drink.
Strange again...how'd she know there wouldn't be anymore people
"Okay" I thought to myself..."...back to your old normal
the moment I snapped out of the funk I was in with this dopey "silence" game. As
a seaman of many years at the time, though I never purposefully went looking for
female companionship when away from home, the door was always open if perchance
one got "close".
of my time in port was spent with the guys in bars, or walking...I loved to
walk, and explore ashore...sightsee. Never frequented "houses of ill repute" so
to speak. Mostly I walked alone...few could keep up with me...or they found bars
more interesting. Women I'd meet were part of groups...usually always introduced
to me...with someone.
lost in my thoughts when there she was, drink in hand..."Sit down, sit down." I
said as I got up to pull the chair out that faced the doors for
set her drink down, and sat, angling the chair so it faced me
somewhat. She crossed her legs...the "gown/dresss" covering her knees just
are you drinking?" I asked.
same as you...our favorite." she responded.
favorite theme, our favorite drink." I thought to myself.
seem to have at least two things in common...the music, and Chivas" I
"Yes...seems so." she said.
"So...now you know I'm catching a ship...how do you know there won't be
anymore customers tonight?" I asked.
"There won't...I know." she said...continuing: "I also know you won't be
if the ship doesn't sail...I could be back." I said.
won't be back...even if it doesn't sail...which it won't...it will the next
day." she said.
"Okay, okay...this is some weird." I thought to myself. "I'll wake up
shortly...but not yet...it's kind of spooky, but
looked at her...she was smiling...smiling like how little I knew. She took my
hand from off my glass, pulling my hand towards her, and covering it with hers.
It was soft, and warm, and comforting. Through the touch came an all
encompassing sublime feeling of completeness...the "all in all"...male, and
female in one...subdued unto perfection...the perfect creature...isn't God
supposed to be both male, and female?
held captive by her eyes, her touch...a beautiful form...perfect in every
way...her voice so clear...melodious. "We have spent many hours together." she
said...continuing: "Those beautiful, but lonesome hours on calm seas during
beautiful sunsets. Do you now remember?"
squinched my eyes for a better focus...strained to remember fantasies...they
came, and went...life is full of fantasies...thousands spread over time
especially for seamen...pacing the bridge, or the deck outside my cabin.
Fantasies while pacing cold train, or bus platforms, or sitting in mostly empty
airline terminals in the wee hours of the morning.
"Yes." I said...continuing: "I remember, oh how I remember...that was
"Yes...that was me...your perfect invention...everything you ever wanted
in a companion." she said.
was true...not that I imagined such a creature either...I would see her on
occasion on the seven-ten out of Huntington for New York. Lovely thing,
quiet...standing, like myself and others when the train was packed. Never got
close to her...not close enough to say hello...but probably in those days would
be too shy to. Anyways, she looked shy too...hardly ever looked up. On a few
occasions I'd spot her waiting for the train in Penn Station...always in a crowd
No...she was no imagination...I'd spot her every so often over the few
months I worked ashore in Manhattan...a temporary office job between ships.
began to say: "The girl in..." when she said: "Penn
"Yes." I said: continuing: "...that was thirty years ago, or
"Yes." she said.
look the same...now I remember...you haven't changed."
"No...would you want me to have." she asked.
"Tripoli some years later...you had the gangway watch..." she began to
"Yes...you were..." I began to say....
"Standing alone on the dock...our eyes met." she
reached for my drink...it was empty...that was two doubles, though I didn't feel
a thing...totally sober.
another." she asked.
"Yes...please...you were...it was hot, but calm...you the only one on the
dock...it was large, open area...almost like a parade ground." I said. An hour
previous it was packed with passengers waiting to board.
released my hand, and stood, then leaning over me, and cradling my chin in her
soft hand she looked closely into my eyes for what seemed like eternity,
though only seconds, smiled, stood back and took my glass, and hers,
which also was empty to the bar.
Before returning to behind the bar she went to the two large doors, and
locked them...the sound of the large latches startling me some. She then pulled
down the shades to the two small windows, and turned off the neon signs in
both, then the one over the doors. Back behind the bar she began refreshing
the two drinks...the dim bar lighting highlighting her every move. The music
kept playing over, and over, or was I imagining it.
swallowed hard...re-adjusted myself in the chair, and said to myself: "This
place is now closed!"
also dawned on me that I was thirty-or-more-years older than this creature...or
to her was I only her age? I foolishly looked about for a mirror...none...except
those behind the bar. Should I get up to look...get closer to her now as she was
busy. A thought occurred to me...there's a saying: "A seaman can fuck up a free
meal.". How true it was...I decided to stay put. "Get up, and this parties
over." I thought to myself.
forgetting how all impossible all this was...I surely had to be dreaming, but
no...it was real alright...I tapped the wooden table...counted all the other
little candle lit globes...sniffed the smokey air...it was real
came out from behind the bar carrying the two drinks, smiling...her stride like
that of a cultured lady...her posture perfect. Placing the two drinks side by
side in front of me. I had stood like the perfect gentleman just before she got
to the table, leaving my chair back a little. She placed the chair a little
further back, and ever so lightly pushed me back down into the chair, turning
herself just enough around, set herself on my lap...leaning back on me...her
left arm around my neck. Now taller then me, and looking straight into my
eyes asked: "How's that...comfortable?".
Warm...soft...the light fabric covering her leaving nothing of
consequence between us. My right forearm across her waist...her breath
warm, with the fraqrance of Chivas...her hair sweet
looked away, and took up her drink, taking a sip. I did the same using my
music had stopped...it had been off for a while...actually since she last got up
to refresh both our drinks...now it returned.
started the music." I asked.
did." she said.
"Oh...right." I said.
was a bit awkward having to look up to her, but not uncomfortable...she hardly
felt of any weight...just enough to be noticable. I reached for my
cigarettes...she said: "Here, let me get them." removing her arm from around my
neck, and sitting forward, though at an angle.
Removing two from the pack she asked: "May I?"
my guest...they're Turkish...quite strong." I said.
know...my favorite." she said.
"Right...of course!" I said as she lit the two using my Zippo, which she
flicked open, lit, and flicked closed like a pro.
Taking one from between her lips, and placing it in mine she said after
she lifted her face aloft to blow a perfect smoke ring: "Where we headed for on
"Adak...baby...Adak, Alaska!" I said.
let out a painful "Oh"...continuing: "In March? No glassy seas, and beautiful
Sweety...it's going to be a bear."
then, using her foot, pulled the empty chair next to us out at an angle, and put
up both her feet, crossing her legs at the ankles.
"There...that's better." she said as she layed back against me...my free
hand on her soft tummy.
"You'd be happy to stay like this forever...wouldn't you." she
"Yup!" I answered.
child like." she said.
"You're easy to please."
is your idea of heaven?"
Putting out her cigarette, she lowered her lips to mine, and kissed
"That's the first time we kissed." I said.
there's supposed to be anything electric, magical, or sensuous about a kiss I
can only express in the context of it fusing...melding...merging two into
you in heaven now?" she asked.
"Yes...been there all along." I said.
two great doors opened, the fog rolling in followed by a couple - a guy, and his
gal...laughing, and then by another. I was startled by the intrusion...the long
ash of my smoke falling into my lap...my empty lap...my trench coat
lap. Gone was the "old" place...it wasn't old...just made to appear
old...everything plastic, chrome, and styrofoam.
"Hey...hi gang!" came a female voice from behind the bar...a
youngish redhead. "What'll it be.?" "The usual." came the answer from
one of the guys.
looked at my watch...it was eight-thirty...my drink almost gone. I finished
it, lit another cigarette, put the pack, and lighter in my pocket, gathered
up my hat, and went to the bar to pay my tab.
"Leaving so soon?" asked the red head. "Yup!" I said as I paid
opened the doors, I took a last look behind me...she wasn't there.
the street the fog, though still there, was disturbed by a light
breeze, coming, and going. It was as before chilly...clammy...damp...I
pulled my collar up, my hat down tighter, and started back for the motel. I was
half-way down the street, when I spotted some distance ahead of me, just before the corner,
a woman, her long hooded gray coat flowing back in the breeze, and walking fast
just about to turn the corner.
I quickened my pace, arriving at the wide, desolate avenue seconds behind
the figure...there wasn't a soul in sight.
ship arrived the next morning, but didn't sail until the following day. I thought that evening of
returning to the bar, but didn't.
night the ship departed, as I wrote up the night orders in the dimly
lit Chart Room, I heard from behind me: "Hi there."
is a true story.