Told Between Puffs, Orientation 2015
Updated: Jul 24, 2021
In which our hero loses his fake.
Verily sat up in bed, his hair disheveled, trousers thrown across the room. He had awoken in a fog, and his memories from the previous night were hazy. His cheek was damp with the spittle of his bedfellow, a man he fancied a burlesque dancer and whose school he’d mistakenly heard as “Bard,” but had actually been a protracted, unseemly yawn.
It was a Sunday, and VV arose at an hour that could pass for teatime across the pond.
Dusting off his tweed jacket, he checked his pockets. Gadzooks! A hole in the stitching, and his coinpurse nowhere to be found.
“Perhaps I shall retrace my steps,” VV thought. His wanderings had brought him to 1020 the previous night. As he strolled down Amsterdam, VV stopped short when he overheard an extraordinarily stupid statement from the patriarch of a family dining at the Hungarian.
“Excuse me, madame. This gooseberry pie contains no goose,” the tardy bruncher said, snapping his fingers at a waitress. Hopefully such idiocy was not genetic. Alas, seconds later, their infant child toddled toward the street, chasing a trash bag that would surely suffocate it. VV stepped in the way, handing the child a cigar fresh from its casing to play with.
Brimming with self-satisfaction, VV entered the bar. The floor was still sticky from the merriment of the night before. After pondering a few moments, a solution dawned on him, and he ripped up unused pages from his pocket almanac to shield the soles of his Oxfords. “Pardon me! Would you happen to have a tab open by the name of V—?” Verily asked the barkeep.
He looked Verily once over, then a second time. Scowling, he slammed a receipt on the table, motioning for him to sign. VV paused, straining to remember the name on the ID he had presented the previous night, a passport he had won from a Traveller in Monte Carlo. “I must have lost it at her apartment,” he mused.
As he doffed his hat to the security guard at the Barnard Quad gates, VV called the host of a pregame, inquiring as to his belongings’ whereabouts. The two were not well-acquainted, which provided for an uncomfortable exchange. Yes, yes, the fellow with the accent who insisted on the vermouth digestif. No, he hadn’t seen the corkscrew anywhere, but he knew of a speciality store that sold the most delightful knick-knacks.
His patience grew thin as he described the lost item. “My fake,” he finally admitted to the bemused maiden. “Aren’t you over 21?” she pried.
VV had reached his breaking point. “Yes, but an educated man of Columbia has other needs for a Monacan passport! I am a man of the world, a scholar. I would take the Demilitarized Zone over the the DMV any day.” Though she could not see him over the phone, he did an about-face with a flourish.
As he walked back to his dormitory, thinking of the offending license nestled in his steamer trunk, VV’s expression became stern.
He supposed he would have to start telling people he was actually from St. Louis.