The bar was dark and still. The only motion came from a baseball game playing on the several wall hanging flatscreens. A small group sat around one table. A solitary drinker sat at the bar.
The woman wandered in from the hotel lobby, paused a moment as if uncertain whether to stay or go on out and sit on the deck overlooking the beach, half the tables there were occupied. There came some laughter from one. A wave of sound from a big party going on close by seemed to decide her. She walked to a bar stool, rose on the toes of her moderately heeled sandals and lifted herself with a hand on the bar and a hand on the stool's cushion.
She was quite a pretty thing though none of the bar's inhabitants, not the bartender, not the guy sitting at the bar nor the 4 guys at the table seemed to notice. The 4 guys at the table were watching the game. The bartender attended to some unfocused point out over the beach beyond the deck. The solitary guy had his iphone out.
She wore a white dress with thin blue horizontal stripes. It was of a thin translucent material. Sadly for the bartender and the guests, she wore a white slip under it. Her legs were slim. Sitting on the stool had caused the muscles of her calves to tense and lift quite fetchingly. From where the man at the end of the bar sat, he'd've been able to catch a hint of thigh before she smoothed her skirt. Not that he had.
She watched him out of the corner of her eye. There was no sign that he'd noticed her.
She was distracted momentarily by the bartender drifting over, he could've been composed of congealed smoke. She bought herself a gin-and-tonic. Taking her purse from her shoulder, opening it and checking her room number on the keycard showed off the fine lines of her bare arms and slim hands.
How old was she? Neither the bartender nor the solitary man seemed curious. Her early thirties at the worst. Her hair was brown, she had a nice wide expanse of forehead, dark eyes, they could've been black in the dim light, a nice nose, a wide mouth whose lips were almost as pale as her skin and a slightly cleft chin. About her neck she wore a blue velvet choker with a blue flower embroidered over her throat.
Her phone rang, "Hey honey," she said with a yawn.
"No, the party's down the way. I'm just sitting by myself having a drink to unwind. I'm sick of people and I'm definitely sick of document management systems. I'm gonna suggest we invest in 3 ring binders and ditch this computer shit."
She slightly raised the volume on the last. She had a nice alto voice with enough overtones so it almost sounded like she spoke in harmony. The guy down the way glanced up from his iphone and smiled slightly then looked at the game.
"I got out for a swim after lunch, but it was too damn hot and these bastards schedule 100% of your time anyway. You're lucky to be back there in Minneapolis."
"I am, I am feeling sorry for myself," she said. "If you only knew how to be nice to people and how to lie you could take my place next time. This's no fun at all."
"What do you care that it's snowing and just 10 above? Did you have to go outside today? No. You worked from home. Bet you didn't even get dressed."
"No, that's too much information."
"Well hon, I'm beat, I'm going to finish my drink and head up to bed."
"Love you too, bye."
She idly placed her phone, a Blackberry, on the bar. She made no move to finish her drink and leave. She uncrossed and crossed her legs, scratched one just above the knee, sliding the thin material of her dress back and forth.
She eyed the guy down the way while pretending to watch the flatscreen on the wall in front of him. The multicolored ballplayers on the green carpet reminded her of male birds displaying for a mate. Like any good lady bird, she kept what interest she felt hidden behind an impenetrable poker face.
The guy eyed the game briefly, then he picked up his phone and dabbed about on its screen. He frowned with concentration. He brought it up close to his eyes and looked at it carefully. Then he turned it over and looked at its back as if there might be something useful there. He put it on the bar and ran his fingers over it again.
"He's having some troubles getting his phone to behave," she observed in a low tone to the bartender. The bartender glanced down the bar without interest and then looked back out over the deck.
The guy downed half his beer and said something under his breath. He looked over towards her and when it didn't look like she was paying any attention, he shook his phone vigorously.
"I don't think that's going to help," she murmurred.
He looked at the game and then slyly, without looking down, he poked at the phone some more.
"He thinks that if it thinks he's not really interested in it, it'll do what he wants."
It rang, one of those retro clapper ringtones. The man dropped it on the bar in surprise.
"It's too smart for him. He forgot that deep down inside it's still really a phone. Now it's scored another point."
He picked it up, fumbled about, said shit, then put it to his ear. All she could hear was the bass of his voice. From its tender reassuring sound she figured he was speaking to a spousal unit of some degree of closeness. She frowned.
He was a graying fellow. He wore a suit. The top buttons of his shirt were undone and his tie hung loose. His hair was short and there was a definite thinning at the top. She admired his hands and his fingers. They always seemed to be moving. They made her shiver. She did notice that he wore a wedding band.
After his call, he looked back at the game. He moved his finger over the phone's touchpad.
"He's back to his old tricks."
He said something and firmly depressed its sleep/wake button. She watched his lips move as he counted.
"He thinks if he turns it off and on it'll start working. When in doubt, reboot is his motto. And a good motto it is, it's always served him well."
The phone came to life and he tapped at it some more. His fingers struck it with some force.
"Careful now," she murmured, "You'll do some damage."
She finished her drink. "I'll have another," she said. Then when it was served, she slipped off the stool, stretched, picked up her phone, dropped it in her purse, smoothed her skirt where it'd risen on her legs, and said a lazy, "Wish me luck," to the uncaring bartender. She strolled to where the guy sat.
"Having trouble?" she asked as she hoisted herself onto the stool. She made sure he had a glimpse of the side of a breast as she settled herself. Her dress had two thin straps that left her shoulders bare.
The man glanced at her.
"What're you trying to achieve?" she asked.
"TO get our fucking application to launch."
"It's not my fucking application," she said primly, "I presume it's your or more precisely your company's fucking application. You work for the vendor. I work for the customer. Let me see it."
She took the phone from his hand, laid it flat on the bar so he could watch. She gently caressed it with knowing fingers. "Here, it wants your login."
She pushed it back to him. She watched with amusement as he actually tried to touch type. There was no way his fingers could be crammed onto its tiny screen.
"The double prehensile thumb method works best," she said.
He grimaced. A mistaken movement brought up a photo of 2 children. 2 girls, maybe 10 and 8.
"Here," she said patiently. She took the phone back from him. "Those yours?"
"Yes," he said.
She looked at the kids a moment without expression, then brought back the application he wanted, now authenticated.
"Thanks," he said. "I'm supposed to show the damn thing off at our new products forum tomorrow morning."
"I look forward to being there," she said.
She took a sip of her drink. "You know, it's funny, at home I couldn't've managed that. I'd've made a mess of it and my guy would've said 'Here let me'. When I pick up one of our thirteen remotes, I'm sure to turn on the DVD player when what I want is to change channels. I think once I turned on the microwave all the way in the kitchen, though my guy swears it has no remote at all and is not connected to anything but the power grid. At home I'm not allowed to touch anything. It's very sweet to be helpless."
He looked at her with a faint smile.
"No," she said, "I don't think you were trying to get me to come over. You, I think, really are helpless."
There was a slight pause. He idly moved his finger on the phone. He actually managed to get his application to open a document.
"I enjoyed your talk about the differences between social and collaborative networking," she said.
"Emm," he said.
"Shit," she sighed, "Look, how about we pretend we already know each other and're having an affair? We'll waste less time."
He looked at her steadily for a moment. He sipped his beer. "OK," he said, "So how did we meet?"
"Shit. How do I know? There's no need to know. Just pretend you remember."
"I want to know."
"Look. It's like we're 2 kids playing house. One says she's the mommy, the other takes the daddy role. To play, they don't need to agree on when they met, where they first did it, when they got married, how many hours of labor it took to actually become a mommy."
He kept looking at her, "Still, I want to know."
.... There is more of this story ...