‘You’ve forgotten your trousers’ Maude observed. I looked down and realised that Esme was bravely wearing a ‘shirt-dress’. Maude was easily distracted as Esme proffered a beautifully wrapped birthday gift. The women communicated for a few minutes in a language made up entirely of giggles and high pitched squeals as they admired elements of each other’s outfit and agonised over which cocktail to begin the evening with.
Pierre and Heidi turned up next. Pierre slid into our booth with his usual ease, kissed Maude and straightened his new glasses. I don’t think that he was trying to draw attention to them, but he did anyway.
‘I love your new specs, Pierre.’
Pierre beamed, removed the eyewear and began to explain how he acquired them.
‘Well I was in this thrift shop back in Montreal. I actually went in for some toothpicks, but my Dad was challenged by security for making an inappropriate comment to one of the cashiers. So, anyway, I had some time to kill and started trying on these old glasses and, would you believe I found my exact prescription in these and they were only….99 cents!’
Pierre replaced the glasses and looked at everyone around the table – to illustrate that they did indeed hold lenses with his exact prescription.
‘That’s amazing!’ exclaimed Maude. ‘They do make you look like a lesbian though.’
After several hours of chat and of cocktails taken, Larry appeared.
‘Don’t I know you from somewhere?’ joked Maude. ’You look really familiar.’
Larry hadn’t visited to see the baby.
‘Helmut cycled over,' noted the new mother.
‘Well, he was in the area anyway,’ retorted Larry. ’You’ve seen one baby, you’ve seen them all.’
‘Well you haven’t seen ours – so how would you know?’
Larry then spent the usual hour or so defending his neglectful ways and louche lifestyle with remarks along the lines of:
‘Well it’s just the way I am’
‘I’m still your friend.’
‘I’ve been really busy out partying and meeting new people.’
‘The ukulele tuition is really taking off and I’m teaching Alan Shearer some tunes to liven up his after-dinner speaking.’
Maude suggested that Larry performed some minor 'tweaks' on his life:
‘Get a proper job’
‘Learn to drive’
‘Marry Dink and have children.’
‘Buy a house’
Larry was touched by Maude’s concern and the amount of thought she had put into her advice. He then muttered something and left the table. I realised a few minutes later – when he retook his place with glass in hand - that the mutter was an offer to buy a round of drinks.
Esme then squeezed into a space between Larry and I which was far too small for her.
‘Room for a small one?’ she asked. She turned to speak to me with a buttock firmly on Larry’s knee. She smiled at me and then opened her mouth to speak.
‘Oh, I’ve completely forgotten what I was going to say to you.’ It was then Esme ‘realised’ that she was sat on Larry.
‘Oh. look who I’m sat on! What a coincidence.’