Beckett and the Heathens – Episode Three

A Weekly Fictional Series – Episode Three – ”Why… I never would have imagined”

(Previous episodes can be viewed here, for those truly bored)

Beckett had been told to ‘get bent’ in a variety of ways throughout his 45 years, but none had been so deliciously delivered as Elizabeth’s, he thought.

He eased back in his chair, and with a fresh gimlet set before him and did what he always did – he lit a cigarette, took a sip of the gimlet, and smiled.

“Damn it, Beck,” his brother yelled from behind the bar, “how many f**king times have I told you that you can’t smoke in here”.

Beckett kept smoking and leaned a bit closer toward Elizabeth, “my brother is always a bit tense.  After all, he has to produce mass quantities of bad food and poor liquor in order to keep this sham of a business operating.  As you can see, no one is offended, for those eating in the dining area won’t have their desensitized nostrils offended until way after I’m done with my smoke, and then if offended, my brother, who is a skilled liar, will apologize and tell them something a bit offhand happened in the kitchen.  He’ll then offer to give them a round of his cheapest stuff, and all the more dumber for it, his customer’s will be happily satisfied, and sadly come back a week from now to consume more of his atrocities.”

“But I’m offended, you twit,” Elizabeth said.

paul-wong-501658-unsplash“Oh! How rude of me not to offer you one,” Beckett answered, reaching for his silver cigarette case inside his jacket pocket.

Elizabeth looked around nervously, and thinking better not to possibly induce a rouse of some sort because she too was smoking, feigned a look of disgust at his offering, although after having had two good sips of her vodka martini on the rocks, found herself leaning closer to Beckett to inhale just a bit of the smoke from the burning cigarette.

“What’s with the ornate cigarette case”?

“This?” he asked, taking out his silk pocket square to brush away any offending finger print or smudge mark. “Nothing more than a trifle of tastefulness. You see, I find that life is such rank boredom most of the time, that any and all trifle’s of tastefulness should be fully employed to rub out the sheer monotony of living. It is such an obscenity to have been put here to live on this planet in the first place, that not to have such trifles would make life a living hell.”

She took another sip of her drink, desperately wanting a cigarette. “How lucky for you that you have an income that affords such displays of splashy ugliness.”

“My income is rather moderate, I assure you, as I am not the complete sell-out as those in my profession, with lesser talent than me, I assure you again, who have surely made deals with the devil in order to secure performance dates in extravagant concert venues, hefty-paying recording contracts and the like. I don’t bother with such distastefulness, as firstly, I know my talent is supreme, far above the hackers of the keyboard, submitting sacrileges upon the listening ear with their hideously ugly performances of Bach, and secondly, I subscribe to a way of living where, though I may not have abundance, what I do own is first-class. If other’s chose to take on my rather splendid worldview, we’d find ourselves living amongst a less harried and abundantly more satisfied population…one that doesn’t have a flipping cow because another lights up a cigarette.”

Elizabeth looked around the bar, wondering if anyone had noticed his smoking. She was disappointed to see no one cared.

“Well, I thought the performances of the other pianist’s were horrid. Funny, that one who considers his talents to be supreme, that you’d associate with such hacks. And while I might not be as ostentatious as you, displaying my finery all about for people to get all gushy over, I choose to keep my taste in things a bit more guarded.”

“Of course, you do,” Beckett said, while reaching into his side jacket pocket, producing a small ash tray he’d latched onto that his brother kept behind the bar, he put out the cigarette, and continued on.

“Any person with any observation skills or a wisp of intelligence can see you’re what used to be referred to as a lady.”

“You have no filter in your scrambled-egg head, do you?  Nor do you seem to give a hoot about others feelings, their health, their sensitivities.”

“Well, it depends upon the occasion. If I find that some oaf is is taking advantage of a lost soul, someone a bit down on their luck, I’ll ring them up in short order.  Then, on the other hand, if some witless degenerate, no matter their station, is offended that I not grovel before them and their politically correct absurdities they allow to take root in their brains – I’ll bang them off with gems of brilliance to humiliate them and crush their dreams.”

He made a motion to the bartender for another round of drinks, and thought about offending as many as he could by lighting up another cigarette, but Elizabeth quickly seized the cigarette case, and opened it.

“What? No inscription, no endearing words from your lucid mind?

“None needed,” Beckett started in. “I haven’t the disturbing necessity to inscribe another’s thoughts for me to ponder; for I am an original thinker…and if I’m a bit stuck for inspiration, I only have to order my ten fingers to play a Bach piece and there is immediate gratification and inspiration.”

She took in a deep breath…”Why, I would never have imagined that someone so locked into themselves could play Bach so beautifully.  If I were a god, I’d strip away your talents and gifts and leave you among used portable toilets and nothing else in a fortified underground redoubt to see if you could seep out of the ground.”

The next round – a martini for Elizabeth and gimlet for Beckett arrived. Elizabeth pushed hers away, grabbed her purse and got up.

Beckett, with the gimlet near his lips, raised his glass to her.

Elizabeth gave a sarcastic grin, “If only I had more than two middle fingers to offer you right now.”

Next week’s episode: “Perhaps”

***

Bach: Concerto for 4 pianos – BWV 1065 III – Allegro (David Fray, J. Rouvier, E. Christien, A. Vigoureux)

Photo credit (front page): http://www.unsplash.com/@brucemars

Photo credit: http://www.unsplash.com/@paul_wong

 

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