George remembered her all right, but in an interestingly odd way.
“Natalie? Yes, the little dark one. Rather cute. But she’s very small or something, isn’t she? I know she does her shifts because she always signs on and I see her coming and going from time to time, but the rest of the time, you don’t even see her…bit of a shame that,” George mused.
“She’s delicate,” I agreed, “Easy to lose sight of, but the camera has a…special relationship with her.”
“Oh?” There went George’s singular eyebrow, up again, irritating me intensely. He also looked like he thought I had filmed her naked or something.
Ah George! Hope springs eternal, doesn’t it?
“Yes. I don’t want to go into that yet” I said, riding over George’s immediate disappointment, “But I have an idea to make the whole project more interactive..”
The eyebrow again. I’d like to bloody interact with it, I can tell you.
“Stop it George, I can see what you’re thinking..”
“So you’re going to disappoint me Peter?”
“Not necessarily, but what I’m not going to do right now is tell you…” I replied, “You’ll just have to trust me. Do you think you could arrange a meeting between us?”
George looked quite put out. He’s a lovely guy in many ways, if you can excuse his prurience and this laziness in the pit of him. He doesn’t like being asked to do things much. It triggers a deep stubbornness in him and he tends to go silent and just not budge. This was perhaps due to a domineering mother, followed by a domineering ex-wife. Come to think of it George was a psychologist’s wet dream, if he could ever be encouraged to actually go to one.
This time at least he was roused to debate it slightly, so I knew I had a hope of persuading him. If he said nothing at all to something, you knew it was over. There would be simply no point in pursuing it.
Not that that always stopped me. I can be stubborn too and I’m a bit of a sucker for lost causes it seems.
“Why not just talk to her at the bar?” he asked. That would be easier for him of course, leaving it all to me.
George will never be anyone’s wingman, of that I am sure. Though it probably also wasn’t an unreasonable question to ask, given he didn’t know the particular circumstances.
So, why not indeed, however George was hardly the sort of person I was going to explain that to – not yet, anyway.
“Too many people, too much noise. I want a proper discussion. I’m not trying to pick her up.”
“Wouldn’t blame you if you were..but yeah..ok..she’s a bit odd, isn’t she?” he agreed, suddenly reflective.
“What do you mean, odd?”
“Don’t know really, just can’t..quite..put my finger on it..or her..” and he laughed at the last few words as though he’d just made the most clever joke in the history of man. I didn’t laugh, and he sobered up quickly, plundering on into the silence “I understand she has trouble keeping jobs. She told me that. She said she’d be loyal and punctual and everything and that she always was, but she’d found it hard to get some employers to notice that..”
“I told her not to worry,” he continued, warming to his theme, “I always notice those qualities. Not to mention a little sleek body and lovely wavy fair hair, and those eyes that look almost always on the verge of tears..”
There he went again. If I didn’t stop him before long he’d be extolling the virtues of women who buckle easily under pressure. I didn’t think she would, and I wondered if he’d ever experienced the fear she could evoke. Probably not. She wouldn’t be employed anymore if that had occurred. He just probably didn’t notice her enough to feel it, and good thing too for her.
I suspect George sees the stereotype of people, or at least women, rather than the actual people themselves. And this would make him an ideal employer for Natalie in some ways.
George agreed to set up the meeting eventually. Muttered that he’d offer her overtime if she wasn’t keen on the idea, and said he’d ring me later to arrange the time. When he rang and told me she’d meet me the next day at about midday at the club I was half frightened and half exhilarated. It turned out she wasn’t reluctant at all.
“When I told her a film maker wanted to meet her she was so surprised I think she agreed immediately. Said the oddest thing actually” George told me.
“Oh?” I asked, though I had already almost guessed exactly.
“Said she was surprised you’d even seen her.” He guffawed. “Aren’t women funny eh?”
“Very funny George,” I agreed, “Very funny indeed.”
(c) Helen M Valentina 2015, All Rights Reserved