Some Future Date
Dating in the risk-averse age
I was sitting at my usual table in Gino's, knocking back a few after a hard day at the office, when I saw her standing at the bar. A face that could launch a thousand space shuttles, legs till forever, a real looker any way you wanted to cut it. Our eyes met across the room, and right off the bat I could tell she was interested; her eyes were brown but the look she gave me was green traffic light all the way. I finished my drink and sauntered over to the bar.
"What say we get to know each other a little better while we wait?"I nodded in the general direction of the barman. "Gimme another, Gino." Playing it cool, making like I hadn't even seen her till I saw her. While I waited for my drink I turned and shot her a look of my own. Mouth set straight, one eyebrow raised; tough but tender, a little world weary. It was a good look, one I'd practised enough to get it down pat. The hint of a smile creased one corner of her full, pouting lips; it was encouragement enough to hit her with a line.
"Hey, baby, who's your lawyer?"
Sure, it was corny, but I could tell she dug it all the same. Those big, brown eyes walked up and down one last time, then she replied:
"Arthur Bingham. Bingham, Klein & Bingham." I flipped open my cell, punched speed-dial and waited. Gino set my drink down on the bar and I tipped him another nod before taking a slug. At the other end of the line a woman's voice chirped:
"Thompson & Sons, Attorneys at Law. How may I direct your call?"
"Let me speak to Thompson, and hold on the Sons." Brown Eyes seemed to get a kick out of that. The London Philharmonic Plays Punk butchered something by The Clash for a few seconds before another voice cut in:
"Bob. Jack Brenner. I need you to file a motion of intent with Bingham, Klein & Bingham. Client name of ..."
"You catch that? Yeah, Brooks. Standard searches, full disclosure, usual terms & conditions apply. Any contractual agreements to be witnessed by Gino Fiore of Gino's Bar, Grill & Notary Services. Forward all the paperwork to my cell and give me a call once you're done, okay?"
I left Bob to get busy and put in another call.
"Peter Briscoe Accountants."
"Pete. Jack Brenner. Listen, buddy, could you make my tax returns, bank statements, insurance coverage and a breakdown of spending habits for the last five years available to one Tabitha Brooks, through Bingham, Klein & Bingham, and put in a request for all reciprocal data via the same? Sooner the better, compadre."
"Jack, you sly dog! Consider it done."
I rang off and turned back to Tabitha. "What say we get to know each other a little better while we wait?" I suggested. Fifteen minutes later we were making pretty good progress.
Her: 2% chance of cardio-vascular disease, clean for STD's and no insanity or hereditary illness in the family barring an aunt on the mother's side who had a nervous breakdown a few years back. Certainly nothing deal-breaking.
Me: 21 million per ml spermatozoa count, with high percentage scores for normal shape and rapid forward mobility, 8% body fat, no history of congenital hair loss.
We'd just about finished cross-checking medical records through an independent healthcare service when Tabitha's phone chimed. No doubt her lawyer ringing in with the verdict. I excused myself and headed for the john, silently cursing the fact that Bob hadn't got back to me first. I gave it a couple of minutes before I re-entered the bar, just as Tabitha was winding up her conversation. It was difficult to read her face, and I felt my stomach knot as she handed me the cell:
"Mr Brenner? Arthur Bingham. I have been instructed by my client to inform you that you meet with the specified legal, financial and medical criteria as stipulated in the standard provisions for contracts of this kind. I am duty bound to mention that there were some questions raised by your felony / misdemeanour conviction for juvenile theft, but my client has waived any objection on the grounds that she finds it 'cute', although obviously not in any legally binding sense. Accordingly, I am authorised to release her telephone number to your lawyer after the signing of said contractual agreement in the presence of a licensed notary public. Good day, sir."
I was walking on air. Sensing we were ready to seal the deal, Gino hustled over to witness the exchange of signatures. I told him to add his notarisation fee to my tab; I figured even in this day and age women still went for that chivalrous touch, and Tabitha didn't say anything to disabuse me of the notion. As she got set to leave the bar, Tabitha leaned in and gave me a kiss on the cheek; not strictly legal at this stage of the proceedings, but I wasn't about to call the cops. When she reached the door she turned and threw another killer look in my direction:
"It was nice meeting you Jack. I hope I'll be hearing from you soon."
"Oh, you'll be hearing from me plenty," I replied.
I was still staring at the empty doorway when my cell phone began to rumble its way across the bar. A glance at the caller ID told me it was Bob.
"Better late than never, Bobby boy. What's the good word?"
"Jack, you're sounding chipper. I guess her people beat me to the punch. I'm forwarding you my findings as we speak, but here are the edited highlights. Tabitha Brooks, upscale address in Pasadena, works in the ad game, low six figures. No arrest record, nothing untoward on the medical checks, six registered previous relationships. Shortest was three weeks, back when she was in college; longest was two years which ended... eighteen months ago. It all looks pretty rosy from where I'm sitting. Arty Bingham released her number to me five minutes ago, it's already been downloaded to your cell. So, you gonna give her a call or what?"
I sighed, and waved Gino over with another shot.
"Jesus, I don't know, Bob. Pasadena, you're talking forty-five minutes on the freeway. I mean, seriously, who needs that kind of hassle?"
© Callum Graham 2008 All Rights Reserved
Date and time of last update 09:44 Wed 12 Nov 2008
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