After spending a week traveling to dog shows and candy stores with Cindy, John had taken a new meaning to life: he had begun to realize why having a mid life crisis could be fun. He would wake up at 7, shower (he was shaving every other day now), dress (he was now wearing ties because he felt it would look ironic), and drive his new Benz to work. Then Cindy would give him his marching orders (and boy would he march) and they would be off for their story.
Then right after lunch he would take a few swigs off of his flask (he had never been a heavy drinker but it took the edge off the afternoon assignments and the hangover) and Cindy and he would go to dog show number two, or the new donut store that sold beer and was open to midnight.
At first Cindy and John would take her car to get to get to the locations. That was until John realized what a bad driver Cindy was. It wasn't just that she would talk on her cell phone and do her make up while driving (at the same time on a few occasions) but she just couldn't drive.
John didn't want to be driving Cindy around in his old car. She was the type of woman that may sleep in high heels if it meant she would have a high class dream and he knew she wouldn't step in his old ride. Buying a new car was something he had said he would do when he retired and now that his career was on the brink he decided to do it anyway.
So now when a cat would get stuck in a well and John and Cindy were rushed off to report on it, they would be driving in style; Cindy in her short dress and stilletos and John wearing sun glasses and a tie loossened under his neck.
After the day was over John would type up an article between sips of bourbon. Usually this is when Cindy would tell him goodnight.
"John, I was thinking maybe it would be a good idea if we let loose a little. We have been working together for a few weeks now and we haven't much about each other. Want to grab a drink?"
She must not have known John was already a few fingers deep and had been steady faded since after lunch.
He grinned. "I don't have any plans."
"Good. Pick me up at 8. I'll text you my address."
She handed him a piece of paper. John watched her leave. He knew it wasn't a date but he didn't mind having drinks with such a good looking woman.
John finished the article - something about 21 Things Successful Women do Everyday - left, went home, changed his shirt, poured himself a full drink (probably his fourth of the day), and went to Cindy's. He arrived about 5 minutes before eight, knocked twice, and waited a minute. She answered the door with a smile.
"You were early and I was still not dressed. Wait a minute while I put some earings in, would ya?"
John nodded. He looked around. She had a nice place. The walls were not cluttered, a few paintings were hung up. There weren't many pictures and she wasn't in more than two of them. She walked out into the living room where John was waiting with a big smile. She had her hair down, she usually had it up, and she was wearing a tight dress.
"You ready?" She asked rhetorically.
They made their way to a restaurant that was very popular on the Beltway. Sam's Clubhouse was an old fashioned joint. It was dimly lit and had big round tables on the sides, but also had high tables and stools in the middle of the room. The big tables took reservations, but the high tables had a high turnover. Many people would meet for drinks at Sam's and move on to other bars. John and Cindy took a seat in the middle of the room.
They ordered drinks and started talking. Cindy did most of the talking. Then they ordered another round. Cindy talked some more. She had been talking so much that John realized he wasn't paying any attention to what she was saying.
"That's when all the girls pulled me out of the lake and sat me by the fire. I don't remember much before that!"
John nodded. He was actually curious what had happened. John looked around the room. Men in Brooks Brothers and women with Yves St Laurent purses were everywhere. John realized he might be having drinks with the best looking woman in the room. He smiled and took another drink.
He looked across the table. She was still talking. He realized that he was nodding and smiling in cadence with her body language. She was very easy to be around. He didn't even have to hear her words to enjoy her.
"Then the cat jumped out of the tree and landed ON the cameraman!"
John laughed and finished his drink.
"Another round?" She asked.
He nodded with lips pursed.
"K. I'm going to use the ladies room. Be right back."
He watched her walk. So did everybody else in the room. John didn't know that covering the latest in "style and fashion" could be so enjoyable.
"Excuse me, do you come here often?" A woman said, standing right behind John. "Excuse me?"
John turned around. "Oh, sorry, I didn't know you were asking me. Ah, not often, no."
"Do you have a smoke?" She asked.
"Ah, no, I don't smoke."
"That's ok." She said. As she turned around she looked through her purse and something dropped out. It was a pill container.
John got up, bent over, and grabbed it.
"Hey! You dropped this." He said, but she was gone.
He looked at the container. It had "John" on a piece of tape written with a sharpie covering it.