I stared down at my jambalaya, took a glance at the Ranger-Bruin hockey game at the screen in the far corner of Ash Creek Saloon and savored a sip of my Wild Turkey Rye on ice. Folks to the left and right of me were drinking quantities of Hurricanes, the ladies were festooned in flashing gizmo glasses and beads… many, many strings of beads… it being Mardi Gras, even here in Norwalk, CT.
Hector offered me a taste of a Hurricane. Not bad… it reminded me of Planters Punch, which I used to enjoy years ago when traveling to warm weather destinations. I stayed with my Rye. But the guy seated to my right was to content to keep pounding Hurricanes… which he did without apparent enthusiasm, pausing only to scribble a few words onto a sheet of paper, actually several sheets of paper… stationary that appeared to be stained by Hurricanes and shreds of spicy chicken wings.
And here I thought I was the only patron who used the Ash Creek’s bar for writing purposes! After a couple of forkfuls of jambalaya (very good, by the way), this guy started to bug me. Not a regular. Drinking Hurricanes like they were OJ… and writing. Writing what? For the first time I had a sense of how folks at the bar would view me! Writing what? And for all I knew, he was a gifted writer!
Well, even gifted writers have to go and relieve the accumulating pressure on their bladders… if you know what I mean (and I think we all do)… particularly if you have been guzzling Hurricanes. And when this fellah left to take care of his bathroom needs, I couldn’t resist taking a peek at what he was writing.
Thru the various cross-outs and re-starts, legibility seeming to be negatively impacted by the volume of Hurricanes, I could make out the following… “Dear Jorge: Thank you for attending the Conference, your participation was instrumental to its success and greatly appreciated by the firm’s Partners & Senior Management. I personally wanted to offer my sincerest apologies for the incident at the pool. On behalf of our Team, please accept this gift…”
Incident at the pool?
Hector replenished my Rye Whisky, the Rangers were up 2 nil… did I mention the Jambalaya was top shelf?
Whatever this “incident” was… it had to be special to send this guy to composing a letter of apology thru the fog of Hurricanes at Ash Creek Saloon! Who knows… maybe there was the risk of losing a key client or contact? Maybe his job was on the line?
Halfway thru my second Rye, I figured it out…
First… the pool. It had to be outdoors, embarrassing incidents don’t take place at indoor pools other than peeing in the pool, and peeing in the pool doesn’t require getting sloshed on Hurricanes and writing a letter of apology. Next, the Conference. It had to be International… Jorge, right? Super Brain, super connected with multiple degrees from M.I.T., Wharton and Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, multi-lingual, makes big bucks and wears tailor made threads. Time and place? The conference just concluded in some warm weather location. Outdoor pool, right? This Hemisphere. Barbados? No, closer to the States. Bermuda? Wrong season. OK, Turks & Caicos.
The nature of the Conference? The demise of the Spotted Owl? Global Warming? What killed off the dinosaurs? Ixnay. It’s impossible to create an embarrassing incident that warrants a tactical fix-up in a Conference involving a beaten-up subject. This Conference clearly involved big time players, with heavy money at stake. Probably in the bio-medical sphere… sorta like Jurassic Park, only real!
And this Jorge dude? He’s the technical lynch-pin. He’s the one that the “Team” was counting on to close the deal with the international investors (which probably included the likes of NASA, the Colombia Drug Cartel, Walt Disney and an unnamed Shanghai Restaurant). Jorge is a wünderkind, in addition to being a genius, child prodigy cello player and a great dresser, he is an avid sportsman… exceptional downhill skier and polo player. In fact he met his future wife while competing in a polo tournament at the Taupiri Polo Club in Auckland, NZ. She is a five time Sports Illustrated Swim Suit Model & a member ofSweden’s Olympic Downhill Ski Team.
Speaking of the “team”… Our “hero”, taking a wiz (and maybe more) in Ash Creek’s loo, works for a hedge fund… one that has a ton of money, and was left unscathed by either Bernie Madoff or Wall Street’s collapse. The “Team” (with “Senior Management” involved) had spent 21 months putting together the deal, and the “Conference” in Turks and Caicos (actually the third one during that time frame) was in preparation for signing-off on the details and before the official “product roll-out”. Mr. Hurricane was probably lower down on the feed chain (either highest level mid-tier, or lowest level upper-tier), but in anticipation of the beaucoups of green that would fall into his lap, he had already gone to contract for a good sized home on Meads Point in Greenwich.
To the incident itself. “All work and no play, makes Jack a dull boy”. And it is clear that at this high powered Conference where the work was undoubtedly intense, a gazillion dollars hanging in the balance, and when matters concluded, the play would be equally intense. And so we find our intrepid hero, rubbing shoulders with the heavy hitters on the Team, and the other heavy hitters at the Ocean Club West… a tall beverage in hand, admiring the beautiful free-form pool with its bridge connecting to an island with tropical flora and a gazebo. Azure waters, blue skies, a settling sun, the sweet scent of gardenia lifting on a pleasant sea breeze, a satisfying Mojito… or Planter’s Punch… or maybe even a Hurricane in hand! Life was good… no, make that: life was great! Conference done, 95% of details locked up (which the higher ups felt was good enough to launch into a happy dance). And life was getting even better with each frosty cocktail. The sun continued its descent to the horizon forming a breathtaking sunset. Aided by the booze, the natural inhibitions for Mr. Greenwich Hedge Fund also descended. Caught up in the moment and in the scenery (which included spectacular looking women) he strolled across the arched bridge to the island with a Rum-Whatever in each hand, finishing off one, he merrily tossed the empty glass into the pristine pool and approached a woman who he had culled from the herd of fabulous looking women that populated the artificial island.
Perhaps he didn’t adequately measure his point of attack. Or maybe he was just using a line that he used as an undergraduate. Or maybe he was just too stewed to know any better when he approached this rocket, “Excuse me Miss… I’d give the world for several strings of beads so I could have a look at your breasts!”
Well… maybe it worked when he was an undergraduate… or at least when he traveled to New Orleansfor Mardi Gras. Call it unfortunate that his target on this occasion was none other than “5 Time Swim Suit Model”… the fact which he rapidly discovered when the previously unseen Mr. Jorge stood up from his near-by chair to defend his wife’s honor. Making things worse, our friend, on realizing the gross faux pas, accidently spilled the contents of his Long Island Ice Tea (or whatever he was drinking) down Mrs. Jorge’s cleavage. And understandably, Mrs. Jorge got up from her chair with quite a start, knocking into a small table, badly twistng her ankle in the process, losing her balance, savagely gripping Mr. Jorge’s arm… who in turn lost his balance, collided with a waiter bearing a tray full of mojito’s, rum swizzles, flaming scorpions & etc., and with no hope of recovering their collective balance, the trio… Jorge (in his bespoke tailored suit), Mrs. Jorge (who also lost a heel in the commotion) & the waiter (who gamely tried to retain as many cocktails on his tray as possible) tumbled into Ocean Club West’s free-form pool.
Maybe that vision of calamity was on Mr. Hurricane’s mind as he returned to his place next to me at the bar. Maybe he was thinking about the missing 5% on closing the mega-deal. Or maybe the Hurricane’s took him to the blue skies and puffy clouds, before the regrettable incident at the pool transpired. Would that it be true…
Hector put yet again another Hurricane before him. It was an Ash Creek Special… $20 for all the Hurricanes you can drink, and clearly this guy was getting his money’s worth!
He picked up his pen to put it to the paper, he blinked a couple of times and let the pen fall from his hand… he tried to wipe the haze from his eyes… he turned slightly and looked at me…
I looked back, smiled and sympathetically nodded my head, “Writer’s block?”