Saturday, May 7, 2016

That thing about race from an excerpt of Shuttered Vision

They had actually spent most of the drive quiet.  Commenting on music and scenery.  Nothing truly substantial just comforting small talk to pass the time.  He would make a catty remark about a movie billboard. She would berate the art.  It was rather amusing how comfortable, how quickly each got at their end of it.  They were seated at one of the back tables in the restaurant and poor Colan was confused.
“I always get front and center.”
Fiona was looking at her menu. “You’re always with people they want you to be seen with,” she said without really thinking about it.
“If you knew the company I kept you wouldn’t say that.” He argued gravely thinking about his rendezvous with his Columbian backers. “Not everyone I’m here with is white.”
Fiona dropped the menu and looked at him dead on. “I told you it’s not just about that; it’s about class.” She gave him an odd look. “How much is everything you’re wearing?”
He looked down at himself. “Maybe a grand most likely 2.”
“Just in clothes?”
“Just in clothes.”
“This whole outfit cost $20 at the local mall.  I got the dress on clearance for $10, the shoes were on sale for $3 and the purse I got at a 75% discount for 8 bucks.” She showed him her wrists and gestured towards her neck.  “I don’t wear jewelry.”
“You don’t wear makeup. Your hair is as it grows out of your head and not coiffed into oblivion,” he finished.
She tilted her head at him. “Aw honey, you finally noticed.”
He smiled at her despite himself. “It was one of the first things I noticed,” he admitted.
“I’m not one of you guys.  I don’t have the finance. And,” she emphasized. “I’m the wrong color.”
He winced. “I’m really starting to not like it when you refer to color.”
She shook her head at him. “Why does it piss you off?” she said in a way that completely said that he had no right to be pissed off about it.
He picked up his menu. “Because I’d punch someone that said that to me about you.” He paused a slight sharp smile dancing on his lips. “I don’t hit women.”
She stared at him sideways, literally tilting her head the other way. “I don’t understand you,” she said softly.
He looked up at her. “Then we have more in common than I thought.”
The waitress came over finally. “Mr. Abrams, how can I help you?” She said tensely.
Without looking at the girl he said swiftly. “Ask the lady what she would like.”
The girl next door brunette plastered on a fake smile and looked over at Fiona. “Ma’am, what can I get you?”
Fiona returned the smile dripping with every ounce of fakeness the girl had given her. “Well,” she started in her most country accent forcing Colan to slowly pan his head up at her. “Ah think Ah migh’ star’ with a Pabst Light.”
The girl’s face dropped. “I ..” she stammered. “I don’t think. . . we carry that brand of,” she gestured loosely. “Beer?”
“Well Damn,” Fiona stopped. “How bout some OE.”
Colan was biting his lower lip watching the display as the waitress looked at the woman helplessly. “I don’t think we have that either.” She supplied.
“What the ell kinda bar’s this, awright, awright.” In perfect English she requested. “Actually I’d like a vodka dry martini Grey Goose, very very dirty. Please lace the rim with lemon.”
The girl stared and then finding a solution quickly said, “Method actress; I totally get it.” She turned to Colan.
“The same.” He barely got out.
The girl nodded and quickly ran away. Colan followed by bursting out in immediate loud arborous laughter. After about 30 seconds of this he used the napkin to wipe his eyes and just kept muttering, “Well played, Ms. Canters, well played.”
A mischevious light danced in his eyes as he looked at her and started, “You know I have this role—“
“Forget about it mister.”
Colan smiled at the immediate setdown. “What made you . . .”
Fiona shrugged. “Terrible habit I developed years ago.  Can’t make myself stop.  As soon as someone starts treating me a certain way I like to give it to them, and then show them how I really am.” She shook her head smiling to herself. “Man has it gotten me into trouble over the years.”
“In Texas. I’m sure it has.”
She looked at him in an accusing fashion. “You know a lot about the South, and when you got pissed at me earlier your accent got going.”
“Oklahoma,” he supplied. “Born and raised.”
She nodded. “Makes sense.” Then smirkingly asked. “Why doesn’t Texas fall into the ocean?”
Colan rolled his eyes. “Here we go. Cause Oklahoma sucks.” He fixed her with a look. “Why is Oklahoma so windy?”
Fiona laughed. “Cause Texas sucks and Kansas blows.”
She looked around the room. People were either in various stages of disgust, wonder, or overt self-involvement. “How in the hell did you end up here?” she wondered openly.
“Foolishly,” he supplied. “But I’ve made it work for me?”
Fiona picked up her menu. “Well I think we should be ready when she comes back.”
“I’d rather you take your time.”
“Well Cody and I have a flight to catch—“
“I’d be highly offended if you didn’t let me treat you to at least one night in Hollywood.”
“Really, we haven’t booked a room—“
“There is room at my place.”
“But the plane tickets—“
“I’ll refund, have Mic book you a new flight when we get back.”
“I don’t think—“
“Would you refuse my hospitality?” he let his accent slip as he said it.
Fiona opened her mouth, and her southern breeding took over closing it instantly.  “No sir, I wouldn’t dream of it.  One night.”
“Unless more is required.” He hinted.
“One night.” Fiona insisted.
He smiled, “I’ll try not to push my luck.”
“Ready.” The waitress returned with a much more genuine smile on her face as she placed the martinis on the table.  Colan looked over at Fiona to see if she noticed.  She still had her head buried in her menu.  This probably happened all over the place, and she just never paid attention; still trapped in her sea of distain.
“Fiona.”

She still didn’t see it because she looked at him.  He said her name like a caress, like he cared for her.