A violet satin jacket with a colorful logo embroidered on the back and my name stitched in silver on the front changed my life. Not as significantly as gainful employment in my chosen field had, but a personal positive nonetheless.
I was a degreed artist with programming skills and a talent for technology hired to do computer-based video graphics and animation for a hard-charging post production company. After a couple of months, they gave me this satin jacket, the kind that was all the rage in media businesses of the early 1980’s.
A good gig, though it didn’t hide the fact that I was mostly a computer geek. Somewhat more aesthetic and outgoing, but a nerd nonetheless. I was skinny, none too tall, and sporting a large Seventies mustache. Then suddenly, I was a thing.
Yet still a techie at heart, and you know how suave and studly we as a cultural subgroup can be. For example: once I agreed to meet a group of associates at a strip club in a lame stab at a bachelor party for a video engineer, a nice guy. I arrived about three minutes before the rest of the group and took a seat in a raised area near the front door. Looking towards the back of the building the left wall held three semi-circular stages, each with a mostly naked woman lethargically working the beat. Along the right wall was a 30-foot long bar topped by a second floor filled with racks of electronic equipment driving the sound systems and special effects. A galaxy of little lights.
As my party entered and made their way toward the center of the club, every one of them, every single heterosexual one of them, checked out the wall of electronics first.
On another night, wearing my satin jacket, I met a producer and an audio engineer at a bar to listen to a band for an upcoming job. Between sets, we tried to discuss the project while being repeatedly interrupted by a busty young woman traveling between her table and the bar. “Just a’squeezin’ by”, she’d say with a wiggle of her pertinent parts. She was on her third squeeze-by before my obviously-married comrades, with some exasperation, pointed out she was trying to get my attention.
I was not always so dense. Perusing the bins at a record store, I actually noticed that I was being scoped out. She was cute. I returned the flirtation. She crinkled her freckled nose and I momentarily daydreamed about a junior high crush. Then she walked right up and told me the truth.
“I like your jacket,” she crooned.
Oh. Well, me too, I guess.
Now hip, I became a regular at a diner catering to the bohemian crowd. Beating the surge one weekday morning, I sat alone at a table for two. In minutes the line—there was always a line—would lengthen radically. Naturally, sharing tables was the community norm.
Turning the page of my newspaper, I looked up into the expectant eyes of a stylish, attractive woman well more than a decade my senior. “Please,” I said, gesturing toward the empty chair.
Noticing her wedding ring as she sat, I returned to breakfast and news. After getting herself arranged she began to stare at me. I turned to her and delivered what I thought was a polite, noncommital smile. Her eyes narrowed, but she said nothing. Thinking I was taking the hint, I made a big deal of returning my attention to the paper.
She pulled a pack of cigarettes and a matchbook from her purse. Eyeing me again, she tapped one out and dangled it loosely in her fingers.
She let out a long sigh. I peeked over the top of my newspaper.
Abruptly, she struck a match, lit up and somewhat loudly blew the smoke toward the ceiling. With a flourish, she then propped her elbow on the table and absently waved the glowing ember of her cigarette between us.
She sighed again, a little louder.
Sensing weirdness, I gulped down the last of my coffee.
“OK.” she said, “I probably shouldn’t.”
By this time, I’d already folded my newspaper and risen from my chair.
“Show me your jacket,” she commanded. I did.
“You’re a director?” she asked. “A producer?”
“All I produce is flying logos and animated illustrations.”
She wrote her phone number in the matchbook and handed it to me. I looked at it and then back at her. “Gotta go”, I said.
Another intense look. “Don’t call before Saturday.”
That afternoon I handed the matchbook to a horn dog of a coworker at the studio.
“You could get lucky this weekend,” I told him. “Wear the jacket.”
— — —
796 words – ©2017 Scooter Smith