Who’d have thought I’d belong with such as these? If, indeed, I did.
“And you Peter?” Gabriel said, once she had finished. We had finished our lunch and were left drinking champagne, feeling a bit light-headed and free, “How did you come to discover this?”
The drink had loosened my tongue and so I was a bit loquacious I must admit, and all my petty resentments came to the fore, as though to prove I had also suffered in life, if in no way as directly as Natalie. If I don’t think before I speak as a normal course of events, it’s probably far worse if I’m drunk. I talked a lot and I don’t remember much of what I said now – perhaps this is a blessing – but most of it was about my frustrations with getting anywhere with film and that led inevitably to the tedious and revolting and demeaning work at the home shopping channel.
“That prick Roger” I said, over and over. I followed each expletive by the indignities he had subjected me to, his lack of artistic understanding let alone integrity, and finally the ignominy of being fired by the bastard.
I didn’t even know till then how much I loathed him. I resented his money, his success. I probably resented everything about him in fact, and the casual injustice of a world that would raise one so relatively high. This seems to be a bit of an issue with me, I must admit, making being in the presence of these higher order beings something that was likely to be corrosive over time. But in the middle of my ranting I little realised or cared about such consequences. I just liked talking about it with a willing audience.
“He has a bigger apartment than this,” I spat at one stage, “And it is appallingly decorated, I can tell you, Roger, home shopping’s king of kitsch! And he’s done nothing of merit for it. He’s just a sniveling little salesman who had one good idea in his whole life and has worked and re-worked it ever since. Makes you sick.”
“It certainly does,” Gabriel agreed in measured tones, pouring me more champagne.
My invective knew no bounds. In my testimony Roger represented everything that was wrong in film today, in television, in mass marketing. He was more than a person to hear me tell it. He was a disease.
“It was the exact opposite thing I was looking for in my club filming project, which was something deeper, something more intimate but also more universal. I wanted a statement, a new thought, a new idea, something fresh! Something as far away from Roger’s insipid little universe as I could get” I announced, and then fell back on my chair, as though defeated, with only enough breath for one more statement, “And of course, I found it, in you two, and I can’t use it.”
“Of course you can’t” Gabriel agreed, “Not as film, anyway.”
“I wouldn’t!” I declared, sitting forward again, “I have principles! You are my friends.”
But were they, or was I just announcing this and my fealty because I desperately wanted it to be so? Somewhere in my champagne befuddled mind a little fear was speaking to me of what creatures like this might do about someone who knows their secret, has film of it in fact, after any initial gratitude had worn off. But I wasn’t listening. I was just bumbling on, making statements I wanted to be true, as though by simply saying them they were given the aura and impact of truth.
“Of course.” Gabriel agreed.
“Bastard of a turn of events though,” I allowed, “But that’s my life.”
“Perhaps,” Gabriel responded, watching me with an odd expression in his eye, “Though things sometimes have a habit of turning out differently to what you’d expect.”
He looked at Natalie. I noticed she looked back at him just as knowingly, as though these strange creatures now communed on some telepathic level. It was probably the champagne. I was well and truly wasted, so I can’t verify any impressions by that stage. It’s just what I remember now.
“Tell me about it!” I agreed, and laughed with them both. They had begun the laugh you see, so I wanted to be included, even though I wasn’t sure what the joke was, and I was just a little bit frightened it was me.
(c) Helen M Valentina 2015, All Rights Reserved