” Bonjour Monsieur Morrison”, our waiter sayss in a familiar tone, “Quelle belle journée, nes pas?”
“Oh for sure Damien”, Morrison reply’s.
“And what will Monsieur have?”
The question now directed at me, and wanting to be polite, I forget that it is unnecessary to speak anything other than my native language and with a certain trepidation, after all the city was still full of Parisians. I respond with, “un petit cafe pour moi Damien.”
“Parfait” is his reply and as he turns he adds “Je reviendrai bientôt avec votre command.”
I look at Morrison. He seems unable to sit still, twitching, fidgeting and turning to look behind himself. It was unlike his coolness to be so agitated.
“What the fuck is wrong with you?” I said, becoming irritated with his restlessness.
“Is there something special about this woman… it’s not Courson is it?”
“No man. Last I heard she was back in Orange County.”
“Well who is it -anyone special? What’s her name?”
“Well if you must know man, her name is Carmen Cansino.”
“Who is Carmen Cansino? Never heard of her. Is this like a high school sweetheart or something?’
“No she is not a high school sweetheart and you’ll see when you see her.”
So we chatted for a while. Morrison was distracted however, and I repeated that it must be someone special, only serving to irritate him more.
He reminded me to keep my questions to a minimum when she arrived.
“Morrison, what does it matter? It’s not as though you’ll have paparazzi buzzing around you snapping pictures and hounding your girlfriend Carmen Casino!”.
“Cansino”, he says, hanging on to his feeling of irritation.
“Cansino… whatever.” I shot back. No sooner did I do this that Morrison bolted up straight and tall. It was like he grew two inches in a millisecond.
In all the worlds and all the universes the effect women still have on men seems impossible. Made me think that maybe Pound was right. Maybe physicist could never understand the half of what poets did.
I looked up to see why Morrison had shot up with such military precision. I thought for a brief second that Morrison’s father had found us and as is so often the case with children, Morrison had regressed to a habit he had once reserved for the authority figure that was Rear Admiral George Morrison. But as my eyes adjusted to the sun back-lit shadowy figure that now loomed over our table, I was treated to a statuesque beauty with ivory white skin and a mane of red hair lustrously glowing in the sunlight.
This woman was an unbelievable beauty. In fact, I had never seen anyone that beautiful. Thing is, she had the continence of a movie star from the Golden Age of Hollywood, except that she wore white sneakers, no shoe laces and no socks, boot cut jeans and a white t-shirt. Still, she moved like she was wearing the most elegant couture in Paris.
Now the thing about red heads was that they were either very attractive or very plain. Didn’t matter whether they were men or woman. Some years ago scientists from several reputable institutions came to the conclusion that red hair may be a legacy passed down to modern humans by our now extinct cousins the Neanderthals. It occurs to me as I look at this jaw dropping beauty sitting across from me; were Neanderthal communities blessed with prehistoric drop dead gorgeous red heads? Maybe the image of Raquel Welch standing in a fur bikini was not so farfetched. Maybe that’s why our Homo Sapien ancestors were “motivated” to procreate with the Neanderthals. Were the men equally attractive?, Could it be that there was some truth to the notion of the “handsome brute” passed on from generation to generation down through the ages? It’s origins in the prehistory of Homo Sapiens lost in its ancient mist?
Lost in my reverie, I forget myself and am forced to awkwardly extend my hand to Ms. Cansino. Morrison, looking for once a little embarrassed, not to mention agitated by my absent minded rudeness. He offers up the excuse that I am new to this reality and still somewhat disoriented.
“We’re all new at something Mr. Distelli” is her response, a wide and beautiful smile adding to the luminosity of her almond shaped eyes.
Hypnotized by her gaze I stand up and in a gesture that is an act of chivalry borrowed from a loose attachment to a forgotten medieval morality I compliantly kiss her hand.
“Oh, you’re from the middle ages, I was once wooed by a knight, he claimed to have accompanied William the Conquer to England in 1066. Dear Drew, he was always so chivalrous. Almost Cliché, isn’t it!?” a precocious smile revealing a certain self satisfaction. All the while even in this indiscretion her instincts told her she would be forgiven.
“No I’m sorry to disappoint you Ms. Cansina but I occupied the other realm in the later part of the twentieth and early part of the twenty first centuries.”, I said, catching myself not to sound indignant by her mildly arrogant disposition.
“Please call me Carmen forgive my presumption, it’s just that that degree of gallantry is seldom offered by any man coming from any time past the nineteenth century. And more’s the pity I dare say.”
I could tell watching from corner of my eye Morrison was getting irritated by the attention that Carmen and I were sharing. While I deferred Morisson’s irritation Carmin was undeterred.
“So you’re a contemporary of Jimmy’s?’
“No” I replied with no uncertain relief that I had been saved from the vagaries of the 1960s.
“Then, you weren’t alive yet?”
“No I was alive, I was just not old enough to participate.”