By Rodger Jacobs
from Los Angeles,CA
He craned his neck into the windshield of the car and gazed upwards at the rows of palm trees jutting into the night sky on a residential street off Wilshire Boulevard.
“I have an obsession with palm trees,” he confessed.
“No shit,” she said, eyes prowling for a parking spot. “I read your short story.”
“Speaking of which” he said while marveling at the way the palm fronds were etched against a charcoal sky bordered by sodium light, “in that last story I wrote, the one about the bar room meeting, I didn’t mean to use the word ‘disappointed’.”
She laughed. He turned to steal a glance at her face in laughter. Radiant, as always. How is it, he wondered, that someone so lovely can spend her life living under such a dark cloud?
“Anyway,” he said as she circled the Volvo around the block and headed back to Wilshire, “I meant that I was disappointed that we hadn’t planned the meeting for later in the day around two o’clock when the bar was less crowded.”
“Ahh,” she said.
“The thing is, I’m a natural born people watcher. When I’m in a crowded room no one has my complete attention. I’m always watching people and eavesdropping on conversations and, generally, as a writer, like you, too, I’m constantly observing.”
One more loop around the block produced a parking spot. When they settled into the plush red booth in the restaurant, she took one look around the room crowded with L.A. hipsters, lovely and creative and interesting people, and said, “Well, I guess there are a lot of people here for you watch tonight.”