Shop Talk


It was a send-off bash for an American who was quitting. The owners arranged for everyone to meet at a favorite restaurant that had a nightclub downstairs. I was finally going to get to sample some of this nightlife I’d heard so much about. I’d found the place easily enough and as we were gathered round the table I inquired about a drink, a tall beverage with leaves crammed into the bottom. “Oh it’s a Mojito. Here, it’s really good, have this one!” “Thanks!” I was pleasantly surprised and when we all decided to migrate to the club, were paying the bill and an owner commented she was buying everything but the drinks “that mojito’s hers”, I was surprised again. The stress barrier having been lowered, at the club I did buy a second mojito, maybe a third… anyway, around 2A.M. I was satisfied I’d had enough; decided to catch the metro, head home. As I bade everyone farewell I discovered the trains stop running at 1 and don’t run again until 6. I had no excess cash seeing I’d spent my party allowance, but not to worry I’d thought thanks to a special travel pass so travel was covered. Although I said I’d wait until 6 that didn’t stop a new found friend from jumping to my aid combing out our colleagues for contributions so I could take the bus. Before I had the chance to step out the door another of my co-workers seized the moment to put the moves on me to get me to go home with him, first with a drink – interesting they’d run out of ingredients for a mojito so I’d have to have something else, never heard of that happening before – and then sexy suggestion. Even now just recalling it I can feel his alcohol-soaked breath spray in my hair onto my neck as he stumbled into my ear to whisper, “do you want to?” The entire scenario of what could be flashed before my eyes. I’m a lot older, well not that much but enough, still he was feeling pretty good, sex could be nice but what about when he came-to in the morning? I had an inkling of what he might say and me being me told him, which always throws people (being me), “oh, you don’t want to sleep with me… it’s not a bad idea… look how wasted you are, but you know what…”


What I did and wanted to do anyway was point him in the direction of a woman who I knew wanted him; I’d overheard her talking about him in the ladies room; how about that, yes, girls shop-talk too! He was perplexed yet happy sort-of with that and once he was better situated and they’d left together – he couldn’t help but look back but she was chewing his ear off demanding attention so with barely a glance to remember me by he snapped his head forward – I left to wait for the bus. At the casino across the street the party was still going on. People were in and out, the police were in and out, and once or twice an ambulance pulled up. A group of college students staggering by stopped for directions (yes from me, the other American who had walked around Madrid so much she could be a tour guide, this was their lucky night), did their best to strike up conversation and discovering I was a teacher (I’m that good) decided to practice their English, so I conducted a street side class for those few intoxicated youth of Madrid, which made for a great time as I was discovering the universality of slurring and how it slowed down language enough – in this case being the Spanish I was learning – to understand what was being said. The bus I was supposed to take finally arrived but didn’t want to let me off where I needed, something I was warned might happen – another quirky thing; can’t say you come across many bus drivers who tell you “no, I don’t feel like stopping there” – but by then it wasn’t much longer until 6A.M., so I sat back down on the bench, continued watching the night life, the night become light, appreciated that my friend from Holland had raised 20 euro for me, and reflected on being able to tell people, “I went to a club in Madrid and was up all night”.




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