Short Story: The Gulf Coast

by A. Del Star

It was one of those hazy, languid, misty August nights particular to the southern Gulf Coast. It was just after 10 PM and she had decided to have a night cap at the Swizzle Stick Bar on Canal, in the Central Business District.  She loved the look of the place.  High ceilings with rich deep mahogany square coffered ceilings.  Yellow globed, frosted glass etched wall sconces and a long wide deep wood bar with brass rails to rest your delicately sandal clad feet and plush leather bar stools with slim tall chair backs.  Yes, designed with plenty of room to rest your soul, so to speak.  She had just finished a fine meal.  She was relaxed but not sleepy.  She was letting her mind drift and thinking about possibilities.  She thought she might need an adventure.   

She was medium of height, slim, with rich brown thick wavy shoulder length hair, startling deep emerald green eyes and a winning smile that invited one to come closer.    It was hot.  She was wearing a silk slip dress in midnight blue.  It was a business thing that had brought her to town but a curious thing that made her decide to come to the Swizzle Stick that night.

The bar had a number of outsider and normal types of clients, that night.  The two youngsters from Wisconsin, drinking Hurricanes, and laughing in the far corner.  The perhaps newlywed couple, from Maine having Champaign by the corner window, giggling softly to each other.  Three-barrel chested suited guys who looked like locals, talking sports at the end of the bar and a few co-worker types nursing a brew together and sulking. 

The bar tender was a southern young man, probably LSU grad, super clean, trim, crisp and expert at his profession.  She ordered her favorite, a Manhattan, in honor of her grandmother.  She was just savoring the few sips when he entered.  

What luck!  Her favorite type: tall, thick head of hair and very nicely dressed. She lowered her gaze as she flashed a quick smile as he passed.  He doubled back and stooped in conspiratorially close and whispered; “It’s a shame to see a beauty like you sitting alone.  May I join you?”   To which she waved a hand over the empty seat and replied, “Please, be my guest.” 

He ordered a Maker’s Mark neat.  She sipped on her Manhattan.  He looked toward the TV and then cocked his head to the side, revealing a set of startlingly deep, blue eyes, and asked, “What brings you here?”  To which she said, “I just love the sizzle sticks. They really do use them here.  Only place I know of that still has them.  I love the way they feel when you crunch down on them.”  Then she demonstrated by gently revealing her right incisors, slipping the straw between the top and bottom teeth and crunching delightedly.  They both laughed.  It was a great ice breaker.   

The clock was heading towards 10:45.  He asked if she was aware there was a 25thfloor pool top bar.  She said, “Oh.”  He said, “Want to grab a last call up there?  You can watch the river, catch a warm breeze.”  She nodded “Yes.”

The banquet of elevators was in the back, down a highly polished marble floor.   Elevators: how she loved them; such intimate enclosures, stealing a few moments alone with a stranger.  They always had handrails, conveniently placed at hip height.   And stop buttons, too.  She felt her pupils widen at the thought.  She gazed down and hoped he was not looking.

Moments passed in a comfortable silence, as they waited for the elevator to descend and the doors to swoosh open.  It was vacant. He held the doors.   She stepped inside and to the corner.  He had his back to her while he selected the floor.  She propped her left heel against the corner wall, letting her left thigh pivot open.  When he turned to face her, he swung his right hand low, took his left and grazed the bottom edge of the back of her neck, pulled her lips to his and brushed the flesh of his right wrist palm up just to her graze her pubic mound.  It was so subtle but oh, so, electric.  Their lips met and she decided the roof top bar was going to be everything she hoped for.