13 February 2012

The Night the Gin Froze - Part VI


Janie squealed as Charlene and Thomas took their final spin, bowed and collapsed on the oversized chair to her left. Thomas rose almost as soon as they sat and took a straight backed chair next to the couch. Charlene adjusted herself in the seat as if Thomas had never been there and turned back to Janie.
Charlene’s attention left Janie conflicted. She was never comfortable in the spotlight and Charlene’s affection was the brightest light of all. Charlene kept her on a pedestal, whereas Paul felt she’d fallen off years ago. He got more arrogant each year; even Alexander no longer met Paul’s exacting standards. If only he came home more, he could show Paul what an amazing man he’s become. If only Paul would let up on him, he may, in fact, come home more.
“Oh Paul, this one is delicious.” Janie said, licking her lips and giving him a thumbs-up. His study of current wine theory prior to their trip was worthless as the wine shop owners in Arles trounced him on the subject. Pandering to Paul kept away his condescension; pandering to the others brought it on.
“What flavors are you picking out of it?” Paul asked her, sitting on the arm of the couch.

05 February 2012

The Night the Gin Froze - Part V

Part V - Subterfuge

Paul continued to rub the area on the back of his head. It had felt like a jolt, but was unlike any electric shock he had ever received before. He glared at the research material sitting in his chair. His latest book, and its importance to his career, was consuming him. Once a Keynote Speaker, he was barely invited to participate in second tier panel discussions anymore. Paul did not know how to handle his diminished relevance. He set the bar; he didn’t strive to meet it.
He was so tired of Sir George Puttney’s theory on Teutonic lore, it choked him. Everything about his elite field choked him lately. He wished he could go back to resting on his laurels.
“Oh that sounds like fun! Paul?” He heard Janie say.
“Charlene wants to go into St. Remy tomorrow and find the hospital where Van Gogh stayed. Then we can drive back at sunset and take pictures of the countryside. What do you think? Doesn’t that sound groovy?”
“Groovy?” Paul replied.

The Night the Gin Froze - Part IV

Part IV - Stasis

Charlene drained her glass. She looked to Thomas to refill it. He was engrossed with the wall. She looked to the others. No one was available to help her. She hefted herself up, stumbled to the table and emptied the last of the brandy into her snifter. Winded, she rested a moment. She would have to consider some form of exercise routine when they returned. She silently toasted Raul and took another pull on her glass. Others might be nervous that they needed this much alcohol to feel.
Raul made a good confidante for Charlene, as she had no confidantes. Her family didn’t bother with such things; the only people you disclosed your feelings to were paid. But Charlene found that when you don’t talk about yourself, people jump to all sorts of conclusions and that suited her. It saved her the trouble of having to make up a persona.
“OK, one more time. Bonjour. Je m’appelle Brittany. Comment allez vous?” Thomas slurred.