Starring Erick Davidson: The Glasses
Submission by TNG contributor Terrence Moss. Terrence Moss is a short fiction writer and media commentator with articles featured on Associated Content and Suite 101. More “Starring Erick Davidson” stories appear in the blogs section of www.frontiersla.com. Other works can be found at www.terrencemoss.blogspot.com
Erick Davidson is an early thirtysomething from New Jersey who has lived in Los Angeles for the better part of a decade.
“Well this looks like trouble,” Tato says from behind the bar as Erick and his managing editor John enter for their weekly Friday happy hour at Larrabee’s in West Hollywood.
“If you play your cards right,” Erick responds as he and John slide into the stools on the other side of the bar.
“Let me wear those glasses for a while and we’ll talk,” Tato replies.
Erick smiles, takes his glasses off and hands them to Tato. Erick’s small collection of non-prescription glasses that he wears for fashion and refers to as windows with frames, is quite popular with the bartenders at Larrabee’s – many of whom take the liberty of trying them on whenever Erick isn’t wearing them. This particular pair is unique in that the inside is lined with a blue tint and seems to look good on everyone — especially Tato, a taut shortie of Brazilian descent with dark brown eyes, smooth skin and a naturally flirtatious smile.
Tato comes around the bar and checks himself out in the mirrors that line the wall behind Erick and John. “These glasses look great on me.”
“Name something that doesn’t look great on you,” John challenges.
“He could have toilet paper stuck to his shoe and make it look sexy,” Erick adds.
Tato turns around, “you two are very sweet.”
“Translation: ‘you two are very right’,” Erick teases.
Tato walks back behind the bar. “You’ve got to let me buy these off of you.”
“They’re not for sale,” Erick answers.
Tato stands in front of Erick and slowly wiggles his hips. Erick’s eyes follow the back and forth movement. “Please?” he asks as he flashes his irresistible smile.
John playfully slams his hand down on the bar. “Can you table this negotiation until after I get my margarita?”
Tato laughs as he starts to mix the cocktail. “And what would you like, handsome?” he asks Erick.
“A cranberry vodka will get you a lot further with me than flattery.”
Tato laughs again. “I’m serious about these glasses. You have to let me buy them off you.”
“Why don’t I just buy you another pair?” Erick asks.
“Because I like these. They look so good on me.”
“You don’t think they look good on me?”
“Not as good as they look on me. I get so many compliments from the customers when I wear these glasses.”
“See? That’s the problem. You’re already a gorgeous guy. Why would you need further assistance from mine or any other glasses? It’s tough enough for us average-looking folk to date in this crazy world without you getting a further leg-up on the rest of us with my glasses. Those glasses can’t do any more for you than has already been done by the hands of God who, by the way, gypped the rest of us.”
“What are you talking about, Erick? You have a boyfriend,” John interjects.
“I didn’t always have one. Chris is a relatively new development. Besides, I am speaking for the huddled masses who are still Chris-less or Tato-less.”
Tato shakes his head and laughs as he hands John his margarita. “Not everyone feels the same way you do about The Tato.”
“Then those opinions don’t count,” Erick declares.
Tato mixes Erick’s cranberry vodka, drops a lime into the cocktail and hands it to him. He then reaches into his pocket, pulls out a folded wad of bills, takes out a twenty, places it on the counter and slides it toward Erick.
Erick stares at the greenback. “Twenty dollars? That’s it? These glasses cost sixty-five!”
Tato snickers. “Sixty-five? Whatever. Those cost all of fourteen ninety-nine,” he retorts as he walks away to wait on another customer.
John laughs. “Well, it was worth a shot,” Erick says.
********** ********** ********** **********
A few hours and a few cocktails later, John flags down Tato to close out the bill. “Ok Tato, we’re getting ready to leave. I need the glasses back,” Erick informs him when he brings over the check.
“Here’s another twenty,” Tato offers as he places another bill on the table. “That’s forty dollars total that I’m offering you for your fifteen dollar glasses.”
Erick takes the twenty he received earlier out of his shirt pocket and slides the forty dollars back to Tato’s side of the counter. “I don’t want your money. I just want the glasses back.”
“At least let me where these the rest of the night,” Tato begs as he slides the forty dollars back toward Erick’s side of the counter. “I’m working tomorrow. You can come by and pick them up then.”
“What if you aren’t here?”
“I will be.”
“What if I don’t make it back here tomorrow?”
“Then I’ll hold onto them until I see you.”
“Which could be another week,” Erick concludes. “I’d rather have the glasses back.”
John hands Tato his credit card. “No,” Tato teases Erick as he turns around to run the card.
“I’ll come back there,” Erick threatens as he slides off the chair.
“Customers aren’t allowed back here,” Tato continues.
“They are if their glasses are back there,” Erick responds as he proceeds to walk behind the bar.
“You can’t be back here,” Tato tells him as the pulls the receipt from the register, turns around and hands it to John.
“I want my glasses back,” Erick repeats.
“Ok, just go back to the other side. I don’t want either of us to get into trouble,” Tato acquiesces.
Erick goes back to the other side of the bar and takes back his stool. “My glasses, please,” Erick asks firmly as he holds out his hand.
Tato folds his hands and begs. “Can’t you just come back and get them tomorrow? I have to have these tonight. I look so good in them.”
Erick stares at Tato for a moment before standing up on the stool, raising his leg and climbing on top of the bar counter. He grabs for Tato’s pants to pull him toward him so he can remove the glasses from his face but Tato backs away at the last second. Losing balance, Erick grabs for another, much larger bartender for stability but he is caught off guard and unable to keep Erick from falling. As Erick falls behind the bar, he pulls the other bartender down on top of him and they both wind up on the floor.
Stunned, the other bartender slowly rises. He stares angrily at Erick as he reaches down to help him up. “Perhaps I could make you a cocktail while I’m back here?” Erick offers as he climbs up and back over the bar. He grabs his bag and scurries out.
“See you next Friday!” John jokes as he signs the credit card receipt and walks out behind Erick.
********** ********** ********** **********
The next afternoon, Erick returns to Larrabee’s. Tato is standing behind the bar making a cocktail. He is wearing Erick’s glasses. Erick sits down. A stone-faced Tato comes over, pulls off the glasses and hands them back to Erick. Erick reaches into his messenger bag, pulls out a pair of glasses that look just like his and hands them to Tato.
Tato’s face lights up. He reaches into his pocket, pulls out forty dollars and hands it to Erick. Erick takes the forty dollars and hands it back to Tato. Tato runs out from behind the bar and gives Erick a tight hug.
“That’s more like it,” Erick says as gives Tato a hug back.
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