Connie Shonz is my name and keeping Rikki Beaumont on the straight and narrow is my game.
We’ve been together 26 years and I’m telling you it’s not been an easy road. The problem is she doesn’t listen to me as much as she should. I’ve been forced to do a bit of research on this GenerationX thing and she’s pure GenX.
She can’t be reasoned with. If it feels good, she does it. How does she know if it feels good? Well, her gut tells her. So the old signposts that I was used to, that I’d been taught in Conscience School, they’re on the scrap heap. She gets to be thirteen and she’s not interested in thinking things through logically. She doesn’t care much about consequences for actions. If it doesn’t hurt anybody – well anybody that she could see at the time – then it’s OK. Gut reaction! What if Pharaoh decided not to release Joseph – he of the multi-coloured coat – because he had indigestion?
Worse, she listens more to my arch enemy, Migh Way, and ends up in some very tight places. You think Rikki’d learn to give Migh Way the flick. No such luck.
I’m really worried about Rikki’s relationship with her new boss, “Can’t-lie-straight-in-bed” Leon. Between him and Migh they’ve undermined what little relationship Rikki and I had.
Leon got Rikki this great job and she’s really grateful – too grateful.
In Rikki’s defense, she’s been lonely since one-time boyfriend, Nate, ditched her for seriously wealthy, skin and bones, Meredith.
OK, where am I?
It’s late Friday afternoon, the week’s been full on and Rikki is feeling like her head’s gonna burst. With her help Leon has pushed through a huge deal that will net the company billions and send her rocketing up the corporate ladder. She’s contemplating an early night but also feeling like she should be celebrating. But she’s in a new town. No Nate. No girlfriends yet to let her hair down with. She gets off the bus. Half a block from her apartment block it starts to rain. I mean really bucket down. Outside a brightly lit bar Rikki slows. Bad sign. One drink and Rikki is dancing on the tables.
I drop a hint. Home, a video, put your feet up. No need even to cook, there’s left over pizza in the fridge.
‘Hey, Rikki, come on in.’
Ambushed. It’s Leon, standing at the door, glass in hand, hair flopping over his face, grinning lopsided like an adorable puppy.
Rikki, don’t go! You know you won’t be able to resist a drink.
Rikki hesitates. Leon opens his arms. ‘You were brilliant, today. What a team. Aren’t we the team? Come and have a drink on me, pardner.’
Brilliant team! You owe him a celebratory drink at least. Trust Migh Way to get in on the act.
Leon guides her to the bar. ‘You are the woman! You have Upstairs eating out of your hands.’
There will be no glass ceiling for you, babe, thanks to Leon. Celebrate with him. You owe him.
Migh is rabbiting on about what Leon has done for her. I can’t get a word in edgeways. He hands her a glass of wine. They clink glasses. His eyes go all soft. ‘Here’s to a very successful partnership.’
He empties his glass in one go and she. No! No! Follows suit.
‘Barman, the same.’
A slow tune starts playing on the juke box. Rikki eases off her stool and snuggles up to Leon, swaying gently to the music.
This is war. If I want to get her home safe I have to bring out the big guns. Enjoy yourself, have the other drink. Yup, I know it sounds weird, but that’s my advice.
Rikki looks at the glass.
Go on, have some fun. Migh Way adds her voice.
Leon holds her relaxed body upright. ‘Let me take you home.’
Like I said: ambush.
I’m hoping they make it to the foyer of her apartment block. She’ll be safe then.
At the elevator Rikki says, ‘Coming up, Leon?’
Leon smiles. ‘Sure, thought you’d never ask.’
But he’s not looking at her. He’s thinking of the next hour. He doesn’t see her colour change. Doesn’t have time to react when she doubles over and throws up all over his handmade Italian shoes.
We’re home safe.
One drink gets her dancing. Two? I don’t need to spell it out.
Maybe I’m getting the hang of this gut reaction thing after all.
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