Sean Bracken: Manhattan STory

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Manhattan Story

By Sean Bracken

I’d had what could only be described as a rotten day. My boss, Regina Heinz, had kept me under constant pressure all afternoon. 

I’m a computer programmer. I’m good, NO, I’m gifted at what I do. So, when a bitch of a boss constantly interrupts your thinking, destroying your concentration with, “Hey Jack, I could do with a cup of coffee.” Or, “Hey Jack, where did I file the Arturo Contract?” 

You get the picture. A shitty, shitty day.

Leaving the office was like a prison break. Out onto the streets of Manhattan, free at last.

The skyline was the same as always. Massive buildings shadowing everything. Too many people crowding the same space. And just when you need one, no yellow cab.

It started to rain, not heavy rain, more of a penetrating drizzle. Half an hour of trying to catch a taxi, the rain, combined with Regina treating me like dirt, only added to my foul humor.

At last success. After frantic waving and almost suicidal attempts to flag down an elusive ride, a cab pulled up beside me.

Happy Days. Good Time Charlie’s Bar, here I come. A game of pool. A few beers. Relax. Unwind. TGIF.

Just as I reached out my hand to open the cab door, a woman pushed past me.

“My cab, I think,” she said, as she jumped inside.

No fucking way. This was my cab. I held onto the open door and forced myself in beside her.

Before I had a chance to speak, the cabbie called out, “Where to, folks?”

With almost one voice, we said in unison, “Good Time Charlie’s, downtown.”

I looked over to the woman and began to laugh. She joined in. A deep-throated rich laugh, vibrant and infectious. The stress of my rotten day evaporated and I began to think that perhaps things weren’t so bad after all.

As the cab pulled out into the rush-hour traffic, I reached out my hand and said, “John Smithwicks, but my friends all call me Jack.”

“Pleased to meet you, Jack. I’m Ellen, Ellen Daniels,” she said.

She was mid-thirties, dressed in a tailor-cut navy jacket, with a matching skirt that exposed just enough thigh to be interesting. Loose auburn hair emphasized her rich blue eyes, full lips, strong chin and high sculpted cheekbones.

“Sorry for jumping your ride, Jack. I’m late for an appointment that I’ve looked forward to all week.”

“Don’t worry about it, Ellen. It’s about the only thing that’s turned out well all day. Glad to be of service.”

“I love your accent, Jack. Where do you come from?” she asked.

“Dublin, Ireland, but I’ve lived here for nearly five years. I’m a programmer analyst in Heinz Software,” I replied.

“You work for Regina Heinz? My God, I don’t believe it.”

“Yes, unfortunately,” I said. “Sorry if she’s a friend of yours, but she’s impossible to work for. My contract ends next month. In the meantime, it’s like working in Purgatory and praying for the relief from Hell.”

“Oh no, Jack. She’s no friend of mine. Quite the contrary in fact. Regina is one of my worst competitors. That woman has no morals in business.”

The rest of the ride was spent assassinating the character and moral fiber of Regina. All too soon the cab pulled up in front of Good Time Charlie’s. Ellen insisted on taking care of the fare, and I agreed on the condition that she allowed me to buy her a drink.

We ran from the cab, through the rain, to the safety of the bar. 

“What’s your poison?” I asked, while trying to catch the attention of a barman.

“Why, a Manhattan, of course,” she said, with that deep husky voice.

I was very quickly becoming enchanted with Ms. Ellen Daniels.

“Would you like me to wait with you? Until your date arrives?” I asked.

“No thanks, Jack. It’s an online first date and he might get the wrong idea if he sees me flirting at the bar,” she said. “Here’s my card. Get in touch when you finish your contract. I’d love to hear from you again.”

Disappointed, I left her at the bar and wandered over to the pool tables. I’d been shooting pool for about an hour, when I noticed Ellen putting on her jacket and paying her tab. I conceded the game and threw my ten bucks loss on the table.

Moments later I was at Ellen’s side.

“What’s up?” I said. “Where’s your date?”

“Seems as if I’ve been stood up, Jack. Wasn’t the first time, won’t be the last. I’m heading home to soak in a bath with a bottle of Chablis.”

“He’s a fool, whoever he is. Please, let his loss be my gain. I’d love to treat you to dinner and continue our conversation. You really did brighten my day when you jumped in my cab.”

Ellen hesitated for a minute, as if undecided. I pushed my luck and said, “Come on, we’re practically friends. What have you got to lose?”

That was four years ago. I never joined Ellen’s firm. After all, office romances usually end badly. No, we married six months later. She is the love of my life and our first baby is on the way.

The End

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Please visit Sean on his blog: https://sean-bracken.site123.me/

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