Smoke gets in your eyes

“Yes, it’s real,” I say, quickly suppressing a knowing smile as I remove my coat.

From the corner of a tired but trendy oak panelled wine bar, where fairy lights twinkle and whimsy yawns, I sense reality shift as my new friends, Derek and Annie, take in the implication of my words. 

Derek, terribly noble, looking for an affair, lover of beard art, shifts uncomfortably in his seat. Like his wife, Annie, Derek is facing a moral dilemma. 

“Sorry,” Derek says in a half-whisper, “I might’ve misheard you. Did you say that your coat is real fur?”
“Yes darling,” I reply, oozing nonchalance with a touch of glamour. 

Derek isn’t happy, but he puts on a brave face.  His wife, Annie, Vegemite lover and secret collector of tattoos, is disgusted.  After a few seconds of indecision, she settles for a grimace squeezed into the shape of a smile.    

For the last two weeks, Derek and Annie have been pursuing me as a friend.  Over the last week, their pursuit has intensified.  When things get intense like this, the past has taught me to work out if people like me, or want airtime with daddy.  For tonight’s temperature check, I’ve selected mummy’s old mink. Fur tends to divide a liberal principled crowd. 

Smoke Gets in your Eyes drifts across the wine bar. I pick up the tune and start to hum, masking the uncomfortable silence.  


Wine Bar, Crystal Palace, London

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