Page 41 - WTP Vol. VIII #3
P. 41

 Oh, please. He was interested and you played along. How did I play along?
You were both pretty cozy in the garden.
Wait. You were watching us?
I had to determine if I was leaving alone. I mean isn’t the possibility of meeting someone the reason we at- tend these parties in the first place?
Marcie had no comment.
Jen then said, Driver, what do you think?
Heat coursed up my neck and I almost said, What? I wasn’t listening. But instead I told her that I had no opinion.
Even having no opinion is a choice, Jen told me. You’re still taking action. She then said to Marcie, This isn’t sexual harassment, but if you want to put in a compliant then go ahead. But wait until morning when you can see things clearly.
Whose side are you on, Jen? We have a right to speak up.
Yes, and it’s good that we have. But you have to dis- cern intention and not jump to conclusions. Did he force you into anything you didn’t want to do? I don’t think so.
This didn’t happen to you. You wouldn’t be question- ing me if you were in my position.
Look, all I’m asking you to do is think before you act, alright? Self-assertion has a place if it’s not misused, but we can’t take other people down just because we think we're right. Some of us are out to punish men for decades of bad behavior, and I’m not saying that
a lot of them don’t deserve it. But what you have to consider is the gulf that’s being created between men and women which does none of us any good. Trust is at issue here and it will vanish unless we all use com- mon sense.
Jen let that settle and in the mirror I saw Marcie star- ing glassy-eyed and pouting. Jen then said, There’s a meanness running through society right now and I want no part of it. You have to be fair-minded. Any- one can jump on a bandwagon. It takes courage to look at the question from both sides and come to a sensible conclusion. Communication, Marcie, com- munication.
There’s usually a spike in calls when the taverns close, my fares usually concerning the gruelingly ine- briated. I thought the fare I had west of the freeway along an avenue running to the ocean was, at first glance, one of them, the man raising his hand and moving toward me in his three-piece suit. He fell into the backseat and mumbled something I didn’t catch and I waited for him to begin snoring. With effort he managed to give me an address in a nearby beach town, saying he didn’t want to drive in the condition he was in. I told him that was wise and put the car
in gear before asking him to buckle his seatbelt. He searched around for it then pulled it too tight, cinch- ing it and causing it to lock. I waited while this simple task became a chore before he finally managed to bind himself in.
I headed toward the coast and the few minutes of silence nearly confirmed he had dropped off until I saw him chugging one of those energy drinks, after which he said with more alacrity than I would have imagined, You ever been fired?
Unfortunately, I knew what it was like to suddenly become an ex-employee. In this town once you’re la- belled as cautionary, questioning, contrary, no studio or production company want your services. There’s a very real black list that exists and if you’re on it then power brokers consider you persona non grata. My dismissal was one of the triggers that led Deanna to decide she needed space to think.
It’s effed up, my passenger said. People you work with for years turn their back on you. Want nothing to do with you. You help make a company a success, but does it matter? Means nothing. The wife’s going to have a fit.
I remained silent, as he went on.
I did a favor for a colleague who had an emergency and showed a house to a client of hers. Simple enough, right? The buyer was your high-end type
and I did my best to point out the desirability of the location in our over-heated market, told her the house would be snatched up in a blink. She asked if that accounted for the price. Going rate, you know?
I showed her the view and she jangled her jewelry, smiled and glanced at the neighbor’s proximity on their slightly elevated perch. She said she expected more privacy. I suggested putting in a hedge or maybe a few trees. Or you can invite them over, I said. She gave me a curious look.
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