I finished up my business in Pau, France by Thursday, and had a flight booked to Bologna, Italy the following morning. I got a sudden mental flash--since I didn't have to be In Bologna until Monday morning, why not take the train along the scenic Mediterranean? The hotel concierge helped me make it so. Two associates, Graham from Scotland and Dub from Houston, joined me as well. |
The following day, a beautiful Friday summer morning was gorgeous and arid; perfect for a rail trip along the Riviera. The train wasn't in the class of the ultra-modern 200 mph TGV I frequently took from Paris, but it was comfortable with classy furnishings, and excellent service. Most of the journey featured an unblocked view of the sea, an unexpected and welcomed benefit. The train stopped at both Nice and Cannes, and I regretted that I had to remain on board. I made a mental note to make this journey again, allowing several days stay at both villages. I heard a Siren's call: the lure of laughter, the sound of the sun-splashed surf, and the smell of the sea.
By four-thirty in the afternoon, we pulled into the station at Marseilles, the day still gorgeous; more so with longer shadows that produced added contrast and made colors seem more vivid. Ah, Marseilles, birthplace of bouillabaisse; and I was anxious to get some.
After checking into a hotel, Graham, Dub, and I met at the swimming pool bar to eyeball les jolies jeunes filles (young ladies) getting their boobs a suitable shade of tan. See, the thing is to sneak furtive glances, you know, like it's no big deal. Graham and I are master voyeurs. Not Dub. First trip abroad, y'see? Anyway, old Dub's eyes are practically popping out of their sockets, and by the way he was squirming you could tell he had major wood in his pants.
One of the young ladies decided to leave and passed by the bar with her knockers on "high beams". She noticed Dub, and with sort of a half-smile shook her head. She turned to me, the guy with the nonchalant, couldn't-care-less visage, pointed to Dub and said,
"Americain, n'est-ce pas?"
"Mais bien sur," I said with a Gaelic shrug. I could tell Dub received a "visual" that might keep him up that night.
And dinner? The bouillabaisse? Brack! P'tui! Terrible! Worst I'd ever had! Loaded with bony fish parts and spiny urchin-like creatures, greasy broth--absolute swill! On the other hand, the bread and wine were superb, and the marina in the heart of the port was alive with activity as were the pubs. Most of the latter were caught up in a televised football tie between their hometown team and Toulousse. We managed to have a very enjoyable evening nonwithstanding the rancid fish soup.
The next morning, Saturday, we were free to do as we wished, so after a light breakfast, we swam in the pool, checked out the boobs, er, girls, basked in the sun, and talked a little business. Just before midday, Dub said he'd like to pick up some souvenirs for his family. After a quick change, we strolled downtown and had a leisurely lunch at a picturesque sidewalk cafe--which featured several bottles of wine. Dub had been snapping photographs non-stop except at the swimming pool.
Some time during our metropolitan shopping crawl, we unintentionally walked down a side street that interspersed souvenir shops and girlie clubs. One of these, the Las Vegas Club, had three, tall, gorgeous, scantily-clad, well-endowed African girls fronting the joint. They called out to male passers-by in husky, come-hither voices, the idea to get lonely, perverted, or horny souls to come-on-in and separate them from as much money as possible. From their accent, I guessed the girls were from Cameroon. Whatever, they were knock-outs. They were also probably very good at what they did--good like piranha.
About that time, I got an idea. Looking back, I realize it was not a good idea, but what the hell; live and learn. I signaled one of the girls, motioning my head toward Dub and told her that Dub admired African girls, but was too shy to initiate any action. At first they misunderstaood and came at me until I signaled them toward Dub. In a flash all three were on him, fondling and rubbing. They also tried to drag him into the club. I noticed he dropped his camera.
Poor Dub was frightened witless, but you could tell he was strangely enjoying the experience--though maybe not wanting to. While Graham pretended to be trying to rescue him, I began snapping pictures with Dub's camera as fast as I could. Dub was oblivious to my handiwork, but the girls were not. They really played it up, leaving several vivid lipstick marks on Dub's face. Some of my shots had to be real "keepers". Just before Graham extracted him, I snuck the camera back into the fallen case. Dub was actually shaking a bit and sweating when I returned the case to him.
"Hope it wasn't damaged in the fall," I was all concern and empathy.
He checked it out carefully, still trembling slightly, "Looks okay." Then, "Damn, what did you tell them?"
"Just that we weren't interested...that you're a family man...that we're looking for souvenirs for your wife and kids in America...that sort of stuff," I lied. "Probably thought of you as a unique challenge--or maybe as a deprived, hen-pecked American husband that needed a break."
Graham, who understands French, tried to keep a straight face (and mostly succeeded) during my prevarication and allowed that he almost lost the battle what with three on one. The way he winked at me I was pretty sure he got massaged as well. Dub wondered what the heck I was doing during all the commotion. I explained sheepishly that I was frightened--after all they came at me first--and made a run for it before I realized what happened. I acted all sorry for being a coward, but mentioned that I did return in time to prevent them from stealing his camera. Dub offered me a sincere thank you. Graham was practically peeing his pants.
At the time (and here's why it was a bad idea), I figured Dub would give the film to his wife to be developed. If so, it would also be safe to assume she'd pick up the prints and be the first to view them. I could visualize the outcome: Let's see...the Pyrenees...a charming hotel...some historic monuments...a picturesque marina...and WHA??? I could just hear Dub going, "Hamana, hamana, hamana..." and wondering who took the shots. If asked, I would tell him some guy handed the camera to me after it fell when I returned from my attempted, if shameful, escape.
I never did discover what really happened when Dub returned to Houston. Hmmm. I hope he doesn't read this account.
Copyright by Gene Myers http://www.strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/AfterHours.html Read more in "After Hours: Adventures of an International Businessman", AEG Publishing, New York, NY (October 2009) available from www.Amazon.com and www.barnesandnoble.com and www.borders.com
NEW from Gene Myers: "Songs from Lattys Grove", PublishAmerica, Baltimore, MD (August 2010)
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