Simon Plumpleton, whose surname was the result of an ancestor’s misguided social ambitions, pulled his stomach in and admired his Botox-enhanced face in the mirror. He grinned, and smiled at the memory of his frequent chats with the lovely Araminta Brankowitz during his visits to “Flatters,” a club for apprentice millionaires, where a wide range of affectations were catered for. “Image is everything” the knowing Manager said to his team of bonus-chasing workers. “Most people have no idea what is going on but are loath to admit it: charge them without mercy” and the staff did just that: wallets were drained, cups emptied and bottles uncorked as brave social climbers gorged their vanities at an establishment where waiters and waitresses were trained in the skills of stroking limited abilities.
“You are so dignified” said Araminta as she looked on at Lord Montecule, ( a purchased title ) climbing outside a bottle or two of a freshly harvested Pinot Grigio. “Anyone worth his salt,” he realised, “Would not buy vintage wine in this establishment but, at £ 30 a bottle, the price of recent vintages were still inflated enough to make him feel he had ‘Arrived,’ and what better feeling is there?”
Leaning over the bar the fair maiden, revealing a generous amount of cleavage owing to her carefully chosen wardrobe, asked, “Will his Lordship be gracing our tables today?” and we all know the answer don’t we? Her new manner and vocabulary were acquired during the “Client Filleting Module” on her “Continuous Improvement Programme,” reserved for the more attractive and astute among the waitresses. Male waiters were a rare breed in this exclusive club, where an air of bravado mixed with sexual malnutrition was common among the majority ageing male clientele.
“I Love lettuce. It’s so green isn’t it. So very green. That gentle green” said one member to his half-full glass while standing by the bar. He had forgotten what love was and the nimble Araminta, straining her modesty to breaking point, leaned further toward him and asked, “What is it you want?” and he raised his eyes to hers as they filled with unrequited sadness and he told her, “I just want to understand the point of life. Just understand one thing.”
“You are my favourite client Marky.” she replied. ” You are a Poet, No, Yes, No,Really” which has a bard-like nuance to it don’t you think? Her admiring phrases nearly drew his attention away from her angelic figure and, inspired by her attention, he heard himself saying. “A bottle of your finest and damn the cost.” He looked at her as if he had discovered friendship.
With skilful movements, she was already un-corking a Puligny Montrachet 2010 at £435 a “pop” while extending a tactful hand for his credit card. “Damn it all” he thought. “No one cares anymore and perhaps Araminta really understands me.”
So skilful did she become at handling clients, and those she wished to influence that, without really understanding what was happening, the Owner of the club, Gus Forthright by name, was found waiting at the altar of a nearby church some months later wondering how he had handed over half the shares in his business to a women half his age and more, and whose parents he had never met. “You are my soul-mate” said the angelic Araminta when she joined him at the altar, in a tone touchingly reminiscent of the genuine. As long as he could pay her bills and offer a life of soft-furnishings and compliments, her smiles would be for him alone, because, now she had arrived, her word would always be her bond. Yes,No, Yes ?