I just met a girl, Cassie. Cassie god knows what her last name is, told me to met her here at this time. With a fist full of cash and an open mind. A really open mind. I stood there, thinking, this couldn't be possible, that everything that had just happened in my usual breakfast place was just a dream. Yet, here I was, standing by the Cable Car turnaround and in my jacket pocket, eight hundred dollars. I watched the masses of tourists line obediently around the concrete bollards, waiting for their chance to ride the world famous cable cars of the city. I jerked the pale keffyeh closer around my neck and looked around one last time. Five minutes i'll give her. Five.
I heard my name, pitched out through the cold air. "Max!" I spun on my heels to look around. I didn't see anything. People just kept milling about their businesses, togged up in cold weather clothes. "Max!" I heard Cassie, I just didn't see where she was. She finally pushed her way through a throng of tourists. "Max, there you are. Come on, i've been waiting forever. Come on silly."
She grabbed my arm, leading me through the crowd and down into the BART station towards the entrance to the mall. She gripped my arm with a strength I really didn't think she had. We wandered down, below Market street and we found ourselves immersed in the Westfield mall. Couples, groups of college students, all milling about looking and trying on things. I looked at my drab clothes, a pea coat, collared shirt and levis. Nothing exciting. She dragged me towards Nordstroms. All around me stood mannequins dressed sharply in plaid and checkered patterns, beautiful looking people with their noses in the air and old ladies, dressed in their best shopping. Cassie took me by the hands and looked me in the eyes.
"You need this. It's not too late to back out. Just say so, and i'll disappear like fries in front of a fat kid"
"Of course I do. Why else do you think i'm here?"
"Allright. Prepare to go from drab to dapper."
She skired off for a moment then returned with the floor walker.
"Yes I see ma'am. I'll see what I can do. Please."
The floor walker escorted me into a back room and suddenly, without warning, i'm covered and swamped in clothes. The sheer combinations and colors was overwhelming and soon, I found myself presented before Cassie. Wearing a pair of dark trousers, a plaid shirt, skinny tie, wool jacket and a small porkpie. Only one thing could come out of my mouth.
"What is the cost?"
"Sir, this entire combination runs for about fourhundred and seventy five."
I choked. "Come again?"
"four hundred and seventy five. Plus Tax might I add."
Cassie poked me in the ribs again. "Do it."
I forked over the cash. "I'm wincing as I'm doing this as you know."
"You're doing good. I've got a kiss for you." She leaned into my face and placed a small kiss on my cheek.
"Whey hey hey."
"Thank you sir, here is your receipt."
I grumbled in my new outfit as we walked out of the store. Cassie held my hand. I couldn't help myself.
"Let's get a drink ok?"
"Allright, we'll go to The Peaks."
She pulled me onto an F car and we rumbled together into the Castro.