Life’s a Hoot

Bill’s in insurance. Arlette, banking. Eddie, accounting, or he was until opting out for the good life. Me, well let’s just say I am a writer of minor renown who likes to tag along with the three of them from time to time, mostly to see what kind of hijinks Eddie is up to when he’s not walking his dog, working part-time as a courier or frolicking with the grandbabies. Four’s not a crowd where we’re concerned. Being of French extraction (although I have never seen him wear a beret or an ascot, attempt to grow a mustache, exhibit a painting he has done of the Eiffel Tower or even say “bonne journe´e” by way of greeting), Eddie seems to have a preoccupation with the fairer sex. Has had it for years. Which explains why his favorite movie is Moulin Rouge, why he subscribes to Elle magazine and why he has long harbored a desire to meet Brigette Bardot (like all of her most ardent admirers, he takes the liberty of calling her “BB;” as in “did you know that BB is an animal-rights activist, like me?”). Given the chance, he would, as others who are similarly infatuated have, enter her house and wander the grounds. He has seen all of BB’s films going back more than a half century to And God Created Woman (1956). Eddie was just nine or ten when he snuck into the cinema on Mill St. at Webster Square in Worcester with a couple of friends to catch a glimpse of the bombshell who would instantly be hailed by the press and the public as a smoking-hot “sex siren.” It was love at first sight. Eddie is a septuagenarian now, a little thicker around the waist (aren’t we all, of that age set?) and not as spry, but this has not diminished his zest for displaying affection toward the women in his life. There are many, starting with his wife Cindy of course but including countless others he has met in and outside the business sphere in which he still circulates (he is, for instance, the longtime revered president of a merchants organization in the north part of the city). Hugs and kisses? He owns the patent. The verbal suggestiveness that has become a staple of his persona in every instance in which women are present? It’s tolerated because everyone understands that it’s meant in jest. It is never viewed as out of line. It’s fun-loving Eddie being Eddie. The ninth day of September, 2016 was no different than a luncheon meeting at O’Connor’s or an after-hours social at the Goddard House. Arlette somehow ended up as Eddie’s “cart mate” for the Harmony Club of Worcester’s golf tournament at Leicester Country Club even though I had recruited her for our team when he told me we needed a fourth. Eddie swooned when he saw Arlette, gave her a long embrace. I swear I could hear him utter an “oou-la-la!” (is that French?) as he did so. Getting into the spirit of the occasion, which is what Eddie expects of his friends—in order to keep the banter flowing and the atmosphere light—I said “Arlette may be riding with you, buddy, just make sure she doesn’t become your playmate.” Asked by the Harmony Club’s “Mikey” at the buffet that followed the competition how we did, I said “we tore the place up, Mike.” “Literally, right?!” Mike said, his eyes dancing with merriment. I nodded. We were nowhere near the 14-under-par it took to win the thing. Bill, playing golf for the third time that week, admitted he was golfed out. He put aside his driver after a while, out of frustration (Bill, however, could have easily won “Best Dressed” had such a prize been awarded, in his two-toned golf shoes, plaid shorts, blue shirt and wide -brimmed hat) Arlette hit some nice shots. “I just wish I could hit it farther,” she said (I was waiting for Eddie to say “I just wish I could hit on you, baby” but he didn’t). Eddie made several timely putts. I was not surprised to learn that Eddie and the Harmony Club guys had hired Hooter girls to embellish the experience. Imagine Eddie’s disappointment when we reached the fourteenth hole, a long par 5 that bends left just before the green, and he was pulled aside to be told that the Hooter girls had taken off (not taken off their clothes, simply disappeared). They’d only been on the grounds for a couple of hours. Eddie never got a chance to see them. Neither did we. Had Eddie been denied a table at Les Deux Magots (a favorite spot of Hemingway, Camus and Picasso) or the Café de Flore, or told that the Seinne cruise boat wasn’t running, he would not have been more distraught. “What on earth?” he said. “We paid them to be here.” “Etre de bonne humeur, pal,” I said (translated, “be of good cheer).” Don’t forget, you got to ride with Arlette.”

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