Fiction: The Intersection
She stood on a bar stool and yelled the name, “Larry!”
When everyone turned, she rolled her eyes and yelled again, in perfect British English “I’m looking for a man named Larry, or Lawrence.”
I looked around, no-one waved or put their hand up. Slowly, I raised my own arm. She looked at me and frowned, then climbed down. She plucked two whiskies from the counter and stalked over to my table.
“You don’t look like a Larry.” Her mouth twisted.
“Well, that’s because I’m not. I’m Alex.” I held out a hand, but she didn’t take it. “Sorry, I was just worried you might fall.”
She sighed. She turned as if she was about to leave, but then her head snapped back to me.
“Wait. What did you say your name was?”
She grinned. “Holy shit. I found one of you.”
She slid into the booth and handed me a whisky. I suddenly felt like I’d made a terrible decision.
“So, Alex, how’s life going?”
She was tipsy, but not drunk. She had the air of someone who didn’t often walk up to strangers and start a conversation, but hard spirits were bolstering her confidence.
“Uh. Fine. I guess.”
She fixed me with a steely glare. The blue of her eyes was practically translucent.
“I don’t believe you.” She smirked.
I tilted my head to one side. “What makes you say that?”
“It’s Friday night and you’re sat in the gloomiest part of a bar by yourself.”
“Maybe I like to be alone?”
“Oh, you do. But not normally in public. Hence you calling me over.”
I clicked my tongue. “And I guess your life is just fantastic?”
“It’s alright. Not brilliant. I’m on a quest.”
“Yeah. I’m looking for someone.”
She nodded and took a sip of her whisky.
“Who’s this guy to you?”
“Oh, uh, no-one yet. But I’m hoping the love of my life.”
I snorted. “You’re joking right?”
She frowned again. “No. No. Unfortunately not. I’ve never met him. Never spoken to him. But I know he exists. I think he’s American. This seemed as good a place as anywhere to start searching.”
I looked at her. I sure did know how to pick ‘em. She was crazy as all shit, but then I’d got past worse.
“So, what have you done that’s ruined everything?” she asked.
My heart skipped a beat. “Excuse me?”
“Well, I mean. The Alex I know is prone to doing…shall we say, stupid things? Things that have a habit of making his life a complete disaster.”
I took a swig of my own whisky and hissed. “I don’t know you, lady.”
“Oh, yeah, sorry. Lily.” She offered me her hand. I shook it.
“I’m still not telling you anything.”
She grinned. “But there is something to tell! Interesting.”
I grunted. “So, why New York?”
She shrugged. “I’ve always wanted to come here. Figured two birds, one bar stool. Plus, I wrote this thing the one time where Larry was a professor at some university, so I thought I’d check out a few of the big ones in town.”
I raised an eyebrow. “You know you sound completely mental, right?”
“Oh, yeah. Definitely. But I kind of gave up pretending to be sane when I left the UK.”
I laughed. “That sounds like and interesting way to live.”
“So far it’s paid off.” She knocked back the rest of her drink. “Look, I’m moving on tomorrow; I’ve rented a car and I’m headed to DC. You should come with me.”
“What?” I chuckled. “Lily, that’s nice and all, but we’ve only just met.”
“And, apart from the fact that either one of us could turn out to be a serial killer, I have a life.”
“That you don’t enjoy, and that you’ve recently fucked up so badly, you’re inevitably going to turn up at my apartment tomorrow with a bag.” She pulled a pen and card from her pocket. “This is my number, this is my current address. If you’re late, give us a ring.”
She dropped the card down next to my glass. As she got up, she clicked her back and suddenly she held herself with a completely different posture. It was almost as if she’d been possessed by another person entirely.
“I’m not coming with you.” I stated.
“Sure thing, see you tomorrow at 11, okay?” Then she winked at me, and began to walk away.
“Good luck on your quest, Lily!” I called.
I sat there, sipping the rest of my whisky. My heart was pounding and I had no idea why.
I didn’t go the next morning. And I didn’t ring her.
The day after, I packed a bag and headed to Virginia.