I had just put in a solid six hours at Grand Lux Cafe. Dinner was going to be slow, so I was relieved of my night shift double. Good thing, because my knees were starting to ache.
So I walk through Z Tejas and Kona Grill’s patio area, and continue towards the parking garage.
Ahead of me are three Scottsdale women. There are two blondes, and a woman that looks like Annette Bening from American Beauty in the middle.
I’ve unbuttoned my collar and wrists, apron under my arm; I can’t wait for a nap. I follow the women up two flights of stairs, hearing their clacking heels, as breezes bring their powerful perfume.
I move faster than them, and have caught up so I’m about ten feet behind. My truck is in view.
A large Toyota FJ Cruiser, propped up on giant wheels with limo tint, backs out very slowly in front of the women. He’s stuck between two parked Escalades, and can’t see a thing.
“Um, hello! There are people here!” Annette shouts.
Not hearing her, the FJ driver continues to inch out of his spot. The women aren’t in any danger. The two blondes seem to think Annette is just joking.
“Stop! WHAT are you doing?!” Her voice cracked. Something terrible is about to burst through.
The blondes stand still, watching. Annette has placed herself right behind the FJ Cruiser. She’s banging on the back window now, I can hear her diamond rings scratching up the paint and glass, “This is the ugliest car I’ve ever seen! What the hell is wrong with you!”
I’ve set my apron down by my feet and have lit a cigarette, observing.
“This is the UGLIEST FUCKING STUPID SHIT CAR on Earth!”
I hear a power window roll down, and a calm voice comes from it, “Oh, excuse me ma’am. I didn’t see you there.”
Apparently, that was the wrong thing to say.
“Fuck you 'you didn’t see' me?! I hate you! I hate you!” The last sentence gurgled through clenched teeth.
Annette starts swinging her Prada purse like a wild woman, hitting the window over and over. The Cruiser was built for mountains, floods, fires and bullets, but I wince each time her purse smacks the rear window.
Her lipstick, eyeliner, tampons and cell phone have sprayed out all around her on the pavement. The Cruiser’s reverse lights shut off. He’s just sitting there parked now, halfway out of the space.
Annette’s screaming about him leaving her, and she hates him, she hates him, she hates him. That stupid whore too, she hates her too.
A pocket mirror lands in front of me, I pick it up. While she continues to swing at the Cruiser, I quietly start collecting her purse’s contents, hoping to save her some further embarrassment.
The two blondes have since acted like they don’t know her, and have gotten into their car and driven away.
The Cruiser driver resorts to backing out again, rolling up his window for safety. Annette moves aside, and is tiring herself out with a few more swings at the passenger door.
Her screams have deep breaths in between them now, her hair is a mess. Somehow she broke a heel, too.
The Cruiser, with just enough room to leave, does so in a hurry. With one last “Fuck you!” Annette crumples to the floor, grabbing her face and crying deep, shuddering sobs.
My truck is just passed her. I could just go. Leave her here. Blend in.
The cigarette dwindles in my mouth as I approach her, carefully selecting a tone of voice. The one you use with a child throwing a tantrum, or someone holding a shaky gun.
“I got your stuff.”
She glances up at me from behind her hands, then covers her face again. Now she’s embarrassed.
“Oh…God I’m… Oh God…”
“It’s all right.”
“Do you think I could...” she looks at my mouth.
“Sure, here you go.” I hand her a Camel and light it for her, then sit beside her in the parking space.
“Thanks,” she says, taking a drag like she hasn’t in years, but remembers it well.
“Rough couple days?”
She rubs her wedding ring, unsure of its meaning anymore.
“Try a rough couple years,” her voice is still a bit shaky. She wipes her eyes and gives a sad chuckle at herself.
“It’s okay. You should probably never wear those shoes again, though,” I nod to her feet.
She laughs, “Oh geez, he’s turning me into one of those crazy girls.”
“I hope not, we already have plenty of those,” I smile at her, “Do you need a ride or anything?”
“No, the Benz is… right over there somewhere,” she waves her hand in a general direction, fixing her hair with the other.
She’s stood herself up, wiping dust off her skirt, “I just… I don’t know what to do anymore.”
“I’d start with a nice bath, glass of wine, light a few candles maybe. Just relax, you know?”
“Good idea, a really good idea,” she says, taking another drag.
“Okay well, I’m gonna go home. You sure you’re all right?”
“Yes, thank you young man.”
Sometimes they just have to let it out. Other than how she’s holding her shoes in her hands, you’d have no idea she just went murder rage on a stranger.
In my truck now, I start backing out, she waits for me.
“Whoa, careful there. This one’s pretty ugly too!” I holler at her.
She laughs, covering her face.