L.A. SHORT STORY - Part 5 of 7
Continuation from Part 4 of 7.
(c) 2018 - TEXAGONIA
Without warning, his chin slams into his supra-sternal notch, squashing his tongue between his teeth and jarring his eyes open. "I can't nod off like this," he chides himself. "Not here."
He rises slowly, pushing his chair back from under the table. The absence of teflon glides on the bottom of the chair creates a jarring scraping noise that halts the din of conversation throughout the restaurant. All heads turn silently in his direction.
A fork clatters to the floor.
The muted squawking of central Americans in the back of the restaurant stops in mid-sentence.
He surveys the room slowly, his eyes stopping upon each attentive, upturned face. He notices with disappointment that they are awaiting his next move. Eyes are wide and glassy. Mouths are frozen open in a glossy "O", bordering on panic and anticipation.
"I'm just going to make... a phone call," he struggles to say, masking his disgust.
Not a word.
"I'm not going anywhere. Really."
Shoulders relax in relief. Conversation returns in a gradual crescendo. He brushes past Oliver Stone, who attempts to elicit a high five. Alex merely responds with a quiet, stony stare - more borne of sad curiosity than outright pity. He leaves Oliver behind with his hand still raised, as if with a question,s waiting to be called upon.
"Celebs," he grated sharply.
He ducks out the back door, amid perplexed looks from the waitstaff.
Behind the restaurant. reamed limes, rancid aioli, and scraps of roasted pepper squelch underfoot, unnoticed.
He was determined to make it back to the hotel - a hotel where the staff and the clientele know not to stare or initiate unsolicited conversations.
"Ahhh... home," he sighs languidly, slipping into the welcomingly soft bed.
---- o ----
He is wrenched away from the solace of sleep by the shrill alarm.
Another day blurs by. He wades hip-deep through obsequies of pusillanimous customers, indistinguishable from one to the next. The day is punctuated only once by a unique event; the CTO, chin quivering in enthusiasm, bursts through the conference room door, garishly adorned birthday cake perched in his canned ham-sized hand.
"Happy birthday, Alex."
Speechless and unmoving, Alex is caught off guard by the unexpected gesture.
The CTO coaxes the reluctant VP's into a warbly, dry version of "Happy Birthday to You." Alex's colleagues stare at him, nearly catatonic, as they had never witnessed such a spectacle on any customer visit.
Tears brim in his eyes. The superior turbinates in his maxillo-facial sinuses swell in protest. His throat clicks dryly as he swallows hard.
He is touched.
Stay tuned for Part of 7 next week.
Visit some of my other, memorable posts:
- L.A. Short Story (creative writing)
- The Pink Sands of Polynesia.
- Incredible time-lapse of storm and cloud activity in coastal Brazil
- My self-introduction post (introduceyourself)
- How-to make a huge vacuum-tube light fixture (creativity)
Chinese, China, Shenzhen, shanghai, beijing, hong kong