Back in the day (like I’m some old man) I used to be romantic. Setting the scene. Buying flowers. Lighting candles. Great music. Thoughtful gifts. But somehow a lot of that romance lost its way over the years, so the prospect of a real date with Crazy Pam/Bernadette had me thinking about what to do. The date was in a restaurant so a lot of the set up was handled by the location.
But I did want to make a good impression. I did want to ensure that she had a lot to drink so I can later sit her down on my stained hotel couch and ask her about the hack. About the briefcase. And about her role.
I was not expecting what I saw waiting for me at Zep, the new restaurant in Toronto where no one has their own table and some kid chef told you what you were eating.
She was in a word, gorgeous. Another word. Stunning. And one more for kicks. Golly.
“This is amazing. We are meeting for dinner. We are not ourselves. I have a new name. And at this very moment I don’t know your name, real or imagined. So I will call you Peter. We could be Bernadette Peter, like Bernadette Peters without the S. See what I did just there?”
“Yes indeed. Hey, I was walking by Tiffany on Bloor Street West and something caught my eye. It spoke to me. It said, I belong to Bernadette. So I bought it.”
Bernadette opens the blue Tiffany box and voila, an Elsa Peretti Bean pendant necklace. Sterling silver. Boom. And then…tears.
“Oh dear what have I done? I’ve upset you.”
“Oh no Peter. That was the liquid that escaped from me heart and found its way to my eyes since you just broke my heart with this necklace. I’m sure glad that necklace said that to you. Gosh I love spies. Spies know how to impress a lady on a first-ish date. Not counting the Black Bull.”
There was something that seemed, well, real about this. She is either the best actor since Judy Dench (I love Judy Dench) or she is real, emotional, and present. The drinks. Start the drinks.
“Can I ask you something Peter? Are you married? Do you have a white picket fence, a beautiful wife, two kids in private school? A sailboat?” She looked serious.
“I’m afraid not. I live in Alberta. In a condo. By myself. Orphaned. And today I am here, in this restaurant with Bernadette. I am not making this up. This is not part of the act.”
“My husband leaving is true too.” She looked around the room.
“I was meeting with a friend for lunch today and she said, Pamela, why don’t you just take a break and be alone. Which would have been fine. Except I met you. I doubt you are a spy. Or a killer. But I want to spend time with you.” She lit the room with her smile.
“This gift you gave me. You have no idea what this means to me. Everything. You are one incredible man. And that is from hardly knowing you. Tonight we really get to know each other.”
Many drinks and a dozen tiny plates of food later we left the restaurant, popped into McDonalds for dinner (I was so hungry), and went back to my place at the Sheraton. We were both impaired. So I began the questions on the stained couch.
In on it? No. Hack? Don’t know what a hack it. I believed her. They were there. Someone was there. The waiter? The guy next to us who smelled like cigarettes? The woman with the eyebrow pierce? Someone was there. But it wasn’t Pamela. I let her in on my real name and what I really do. We showed each other ID. Her name was in fact Pamela.
I now had an accomplice, and an incredibly beautiful one at that. The alcohol was speaking so I showed her the briefcase, the money, the passports and the gun, and within moments we were both fast asleep. And when I woke in the morning I wasn’t dead which was a nice surprise. And all the money and gun were still there. And Crazy Pam was cranking up the shitty hotel coffee maker. She looked over.
“What are we going to do today Brain?”
I was joy-struck by the reference.
My reply: “Same as we do every day Pinky. Try to take over the world.”