Saturday, 9 August 2008

09 August 2008

I said “You mean to tell me you’re going to spend a hundred dollars on your father---he’s got more money than you’ll ever have!---you’ll be in debt man!” “That’s all right,” said Henri quietly and with defeat in his voice “I ask only one last thing of you---that you, TRY at least to make things look all right. I love my father and I respect him. He’s coming with his young wife, straight from a summer of teaching at Banff in Canada. We must show him every courtesy.” There were times when Henri was really the most gentlemanly person in the world. Diane was impressed and looked forward to meeting his father; she thought he might be a catch if his son wasn’t. Saturday night rolled around. I had already quit my job with the cops, just before being fired for not making enough arrests, and this was going to be my last Saturday night. Henri and Diane went to meet his father at the hotel room first; I had traveling money and got crocked in the bar downstairs. Then I went to join them all, late as hell. His father opened the door, a distinguished little man in pince nez glasses. “Ah” I said on seeing him, “Monsieur Cru, how are you? Je suis haut!” I cried which was intended to mean, in French “I am high, I have been drinking,” but means absolutely nothing in French. The man was perplexed. I had already screwed up Henri. He blushed at me. We all went to a swank restaurant to eat, Alfred’s on the North Beach, where poor Henri spent a good fifty dollars for the five of us drinks and all. And now there transpired the worst thing ever. Who should be sitting at the bar in Alfred’s but my old friend Allan Temko!---he had just arrived from Denver and got a job at the Sanfran Chronicle. He was crocked. He wasn’t even shaved. He rushed over and slapped me on the back as I lifted a hiball to my lips. He threw himself down on the booth beside Mr.Cru and leaned over the man’s soup to talk to me. Henri was all red as a beet. “Won’t you introduce your friend Jack?” he said with a weak smile. “Allan Temko of the San Francisco Chronicle” I tried to say with a straight face. Diane was furious at me. Temko began chatting in the Monsieur’s ear. “How do you like teaching High School French?” he yelled. “Pardon me, but I don’t teach High School French.” “Oh, I thought you taught High School French.”

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