Disclaimer: This is a creation of my own fertile imagination and these are my characters. The characters are not supposed to represent any people, living or dead, immortal or mortal. So far as I know, the establishments mentioned do not exist except in the aforementioned imagination.
Warning: There is some cussing, but it is relatively mild.
Copyright © 1999 by JS Stephens. All Right Reserved.
Kathy carefully pinned the white rosebud on Lynn's lapel as she described Lynn's blind date. "Tall, dark hair, hazel eyes, lovely voice, very intelligent. You and Jerry will make quite a pair, I promise. You will meet in the bar at Capri's for a romantic dinner, then what you do from there is your decision."
Lynn nervously patted her short brown hair. "Kathy, you know how much I hate blind dates, the last one you set me up on was an absolute disaster. The guy would not stop pawing me until I threatened to call the police."
"Oh, honey, this date will be different, I promise you. Now run along or you'll be late." Kathy waved as Lynn left her apartment, then sighed to herself. "This should be the best date of Lynn's life," she mused.
Lynn walked into the bar of Capri's, wondering how Kathy kept talking her into these disastrous blind dates. A few had turned out well, she had to admit, she and Tom had dated for several months, but most of the men were so full of themselves that their only redeeming qualities seemed to be their looks and their money. Lynn wanted more than looks and money, she wanted someone who could be her friend and her lover. Maybe she would get lucky and Jerry wouldn't show up, she thought as she sipped her ginger ale.
"Excuse me, are you Lynn?"
Lynn looked up, nearly dropping her ginger ale in the process. "Yes, are you Jerry?"
"I am, but somehow you are not the gender I expected, but Kathy said to look for someone with a white rosebud on their lapel. She said that carnations were too ordinary."
"Funny, that's what she told me," Lynn replied, puzzled. Jerry was nice, but a woman? Was Kathy trying to tell her something? "Um, can I buy you a drink? Oh, I forgot to put a name down for a table and it's really starting to fill up in here-"
Jerry smiled, showing deep dimples. "Do you really want to get a small dinner for a big price? I have a much better idea, have you tried The Steak Out? It's a quaint little place just down the road. Good food, reasonable prices," she looked around at the noisy crowd, "and much quieter. What do you say?"
Lynn thought for a moment, then agreed. "I'll follow you. Funny, Kathy didn't mention that you were a woman."
"Didn't mention that you were a woman, either. Kathy has a strange sense of humor, but what the heck, I wasn't up to being pawed tonight anyway." The two women exited the restaurant, going to their respective cars.
Several minutes later, two men arrived in the bar, each sporting a white rosebud on their lapels. The taller one spotted the shorter one, muttering, "That damned Kathy! If this is her idea of a practical joke..." The description checked out, short, with dark brown hair and eyes, Kirk Douglas chin."Hi, I'm Jerry, are you Lynn?"
The shorter man turned and stared at the rosebud, then at the man before him."Yes, I'm Len, short for Leonard. Don't tell me that you're Jerry."
"I am Jerry. You don't think that Kathy got confused and thought, you know, that we were..." His voice trailed off nervously as he flipped a limp hand.
Len puffed out his chest. "No way, man." He scanned the crowd, then turned back to Jerry. "I think she's getting me back for the time I sent her those black flowers for her thirtieth birthday. Look, do you really like this overpriced food and fancy frippery? I'd be glad to settle for going to The Sporting Event down the road; it's the best sports bar and grill I know of and I think there's a hockey game on tonight."
Jerry took one last look around, then nodded. "Sure, why not? Sounds better than going dancing, I can't dance worth a flip and most women seem to think a man has to dance."
"I agree with you, Jerry. Okay, it's west three blocks, on the north side of the road. See you there?"
After her initial shock, Jerry was pleased by how the evening was progressing. Lynn had a rather sly sense of humor, cropping up unexpectedly, but pleasantly, as she related tales of the strange questions she received as a business researcher for a large consulting company. "Most of them are business related, but sometimes I get personal questions, like the guy who bet his buddy that he could name all five of Clark Gable's wives."
"And who were they?"
Lynn started ticking them off on her fingers. "Josephine Dillon, his first drama coach; Ria Langham, Texas socialite; Carole Lombard, screwball queen; Lady Sylvia Ashley, heiress and pain; and Kay Spreckels, former actress mother of his only legitimate child. Certainly you can't be interested in this kind of trivia, can you?"
Jerry laid down her fork, smiling shyly. "Lynn, I love trivia, especially movie trivia. I may be a computer geek, but I also have a huge collection of celebrity biographies and movie memorabilia. I was a whiz at that trivia game in college, always coming up with some obscure fact or another, especially in the entertainment category."
"Excuse me, ladies, would you care for some dessert?" their waiter asked as he flourished a tray of samples. "I didn't mean to interrupt your conversation, but I did want to point out some of our more popular creations, especially ones that can be shared. Now, we have the normal cheesecakes and fruit pies, but I'd recommend the sundae pool, our very own culinary delight. The sundae pool is cappuccino ice cream smothered in rich hot fudge, topped by real whipped cream, cherries and ground walnuts. Any takers?"
Jerry and Lynn looked at each other, then agreed. The waiter smiled smugly as he left, humming a tune. "What was he humming?" Lynn asked.
"I think it was 'Secret Love' from Calamity Jane," Jerry replied. "Did you notice the buttons he had? Pictures of Judy Garland, Bette Davis, Barbara Stanwyck, Barbra Streisand and Xena. I'd love to add some of those to my collection." She sighed, then chuckled at herself. "Sorry, I get carried away sometimes, Lynn." The waiter came back, bearing a huge bowl with the aforementioned dessert, flourishing spoons and bowing as he left.
"Best two out of three?"
"Sure, Jerry, sound great. Hell of a hockey game, wasn't it?" Len smoothly stroked his stick back and forth until he hit the cue ball just enough force to break the balls, dropping a striped one in a pocket. "Wonder what happened to our dates?"
"Aw, who knows? Dames, sometimes I think we're better off without them, Len, they can really turn a guy's life upside down. I dated this one girl for two months and I swear she started looking at wedding rings." Jerry sighed heavily as he picked up his beer bottle, waiting for Len to finish his turn. Damn, the guy was good! Five balls in a row without a missed stroke. "I like being single. Besides, if a woman can't handle my dog, she isn't worth bringing home."
"What kind of dog? Aw, shit, man, I missed. Your turn."
"Thanks." Jerry walked around the pool table, then finally leaned over to take his shot. The ball rolled satisfyingly into a pocket. "I have a mutt named Charlie. I've had him since college, found him outside my apartment my senior year, like he was waiting for me." Clink! "Good old Charlie, more faithful than any woman I ever had." Clink! "Damn, missed. Your turn."
Len stood motionless for a moment, then quickly dispatched the rest of the striped balls into various pockets. "One up, old boy. Would you like another beer? I'll buy."
"Sure, why not?"
"I sure miss my cat, he died last year at the ripe old age of sixteen," Jerry said as she fumbled for his picture in her wallet. "See there? He was a mutt, but I think his mother was a Maine Coon."
"That's quite a coincidence, Jerry, my cat Rhett is a Maine Coon, but a purebred. To look at him, you wouldn't know he was the runt of his litter, he is now five and weighs nearly twenty pounds." Lynn looked at the picture of Jerry's cat, then pulled out of picture of her Rhett. "He is quite a lapful."
Jerry held the picture up to the light, looking at the cat, smiling sadly. "He's handsome, Lynn."
Lynn smiled shyly. "Maybe you can come meet him some day." She folded her billfold and stuck it back in her zippered pouch. "I sure enjoyed this evening, I'm glad I got to meet you."
"It was fun, not having to fend off some guy's drunken advances. Hey, let me get this, you can buy next time." Jerry signaled the waiter for the check, then checked her watch. "It's still early, would you like to do something else?"
"Sure, but I get out so rarely I don't know where to go. Maybe our waiter has an idea," Lynn commented as he came to leave the check. "Sir, do you know of a quiet place we could go for a drink, maybe a jazz club or something?"
His face lit up with a huge smile. "Sure, darling, I know of just the place. It's called Judy's, it's right next to that awful sports bar down the road. It's a nice little club, live jazz on the weekends, but not so loud that you can't hear yourself talk. I can guarantee you'll love it and you won't get mobbed by men either."
"Sounds great, we'll have to try it," Jerry commented as she handed over her credit card. She finished her coffee while she waited for the waiter to come back. "Hey, I don't know if you like football or not, but my company has some box seats over at the stadium and I drew the lucky numbers for the game on Sunday. Would you be interested?"
"I love football, I'd be happy to accompany you, Jerry!" Lynn enthused. "Think we'll have a chance at the Super Bowl this year?" Their waiter brought the ticket back as Lynn started explaining why she thought that their team might go all the way to the top this year. Jerry signed with a flourish, then picked up her coat to leave, Lynn still deep in explaining why they had a superior defense this year. "I'm sorry, maybe you don't get into football the way I do," Lynn said sheepishly as they left the restaurant.
Jerry grinned as she opened the door for Lynn. "Maybe not as much as you, Lynn, but I've always enjoyed it. Hey, want to take one car and come pick the other up later?"
"Sure, sounds like a plan, lead on!"
"Damn, why didn't you tell me you were such a pool shark?" Jerry grumbled as he peeled off a couple of bills, handing them to the grinning Len. "I'd never have agreed to play if I'd know."
"Hey, that's part of the game, buddy, deciding whether or not you're good enough to play with the big boys." Len pocketed the money, picking up his beer bottle. He glanced at his watch. "I don't know about you, but I'm about ready to blow this joint."
Jerry shook his head. "No, with the new blood alcohol limits going down, I'd like to stay a bit longer. I nearly got busted last year, but the cop's unit was defective. Look, I'll buy you some dessert, if you'd like."
Len considered, then accepted the offer. "We can always grab one of those chess sets up front..."
"Dude, the way you play pool, I don't trust any game that you'd pick. I'll pick this time, how about Trivial Pursuit?"
"If you insist."
"Okay, a game and a hot apple pie with ice cream."
"Coming right up. Wonder if our dates ever found anyone?"
"Lynn, do you think we came to the wrong place?" Jerry asked as they found an empty table and set their coffees down. "I mean, it's jazz, but it's also, so, um, what's the word I'm searching for?"
Lynn looked at the mostly female clientele, some dancing with each other on the small floor. "I think the words you are looking for are intimate and gay. Jerry, I think the waiter misunderstood us, he thought we were looking for a lesbian bar!"
Jerry groaned and rubbed her face. "I can't believe that I'm in such a place," she mumbled into her hands, "or that anyone would believe I'm that way!"
"It could be worse, we could be fighting off a couple of really rotten guys," Lynn pointed out optimistically. She took a sip of her coffee. "At least the coffee is terrific, try it at least." Jerry sipped her coffee, nodding in agreement. "Look, we enjoy some music, then leave, no one said we had to dance with each other," Lynn continued reasonably. "Besides, you're not prejudiced or anything, are you?"
"I didn't think so, but I never really thought about this," Jerry muttered. She took another swig of her coffee, then set the cup down. "At this point, I'm not sure whether or laugh or to cry." She took another swig, then asked resignedly, "So, what do we talk about now?"
"We've talked about computers, cats, cars, football and our favorite mystery authors," Lynn said, ticking off each topic on her fingers. "I'd say the next topic should be music or movies, but to tell you the truth, I haven't been to a movie in several months and most people don't share my enthusiasm for old musicals."
"Oh, you know, The Sound of Music, The Music Man, " she grinned wickedly, "Victor/Victoria."
Jerry allowed herself a small grin. "You got me there, perfect movie for this atmosphere." She looked around, then drained her coffee. "Lynn, this may sound strange, but would you care to dance? I mean, when in Rome and all that stuff."
Lynn stood up, holding out her hand to the taller woman. "Why not? I taught half of the girls in my church choir how to dance." She led Jerry to the small dance floor, falling into the rhythm of the song, leading Jerry around the floor.
Jerry was stiff at first, then finally relaxed and started enjoying herself. The girl could really dance, she decided as the tempo picked up and the band started playing some hot swing music. "Hey, my brother and I entered a jitterbug contest when we were in elementary school, can I lead this set?"
"Jerry, I'm ready to call it an evening," Len said through a yawn. "Not a bad evening, even if we didn't meet up with the dates that Kathy set us up with. Strange, though, I never thought that the old girl had quite this wicked of a sense of humor." He shrugged on his coat as they walked toward their respective cars. "Hey, would you like to meet sometime next weekend, maybe get tickets to the hockey game?"
"Sounds cool, man," Jerry agreed as he reached for his keys. Before he reached his car, his attention was captured by two women coming out of the club next to the sports bar. One was tall and dark, then other was shorter, both wore a white rosebud on their jackets. "Len, look over there and tell me what you see," he said excitedly.
Len looked over, then yelled, "Hey, either of you know a woman named Kathy?" The two women looked startled, glancing at each other, then over at the men. "Come one over, we won't bite," Len said pleadingly. They looked at each other again, then finally walked over to the sports bar lot. "Hey, I'm Len, this is Jerry."
"Funny, I'm Lynn and this is Jerry. Did you two meet at Capri's at six?"
"Yeah, but we only saw each other. I was starting to think that old Ferris was giving me the runaround."
Lynn stared at Len, asking, "Ferris?"
"Yeah, Kathy Ferris, she told me to meet Jerry, I'd know her by the white rosebud."
"Um, Len," said Jerry, "I was told by Kathy Miller to meet Lynn."
The four looked at each other, then the men burst into laughter. "Hey, different Kathys, eh? No matter, we've all caught up now, should we go somewhere?"
Lynn and Jerry shook their heads. "Sorry guys, but we're beat. Better luck next time." They headed off for Jerry's truck, leaving the guys to puzzle over the mix-up. Jerry finally ventured, "Well, I guess I'd better head home. Too bad, those were nice looking gals."
Len nodded, then looked more carefully at the building they had come out of. "Ah, Jerry, maybe we didn't want to date them after all."
"Look." He pointed to the door of Judy's. Jerry followed his finger, then gasped as he watched several couples leaving, all arm in arm or holding hands. Female couples. Women. Lesbians? "I just can't get a decent break," Len groaned.
"Um." Jerry continued to stare for several more minutes, then shook his head. "What a waste." He turned back to Len, punching him lightly on the shoulder. "See you at the game?"
"You're on, buddy!"