AN EVENING WITH ANNIE.
1973 it is, I guess, and Tony is waiting outside Annie's flat having knocked the door some seconds back. He waits clutching a bottle of Teacher's and a long-playing record under his arm and looking briefly about him returns his gaze to the now opening door. Annie stands with the door pushed back welcoming him in. She's five
feet tall and three feet wide and has Tony knows a heart of whatever it is that warm people have.
- Come in kind sir, Annie says gesturing with her hand. Ah a bottle of Teacher's and music to bring enjoyment to our evening, she adds closing the door behind her as Tony walks into the lounge. Tony gives both items to Annie and then sits down on the large red sofa.
- Hope you don't mind me coming round, Tony says sitting back until his head rests against the cushioned back. I feel like shite and I need somebody to unwind with.
- Always here for you, Professor, Annie says as she opens the bottle and pours two large Teacher's. What's made you feel shite as you put it?
- Life itself, Tony remarks watching Annie bring the glasses to the coffee table. When you're surrounded by old age people all day you feel drained. Makes you ask yourself where it's all leading. He holds the glass Annie has given him and sips. I mean what end does all this serve, this getting old? Annie listens over by the record player but says nothing as she places the record Tony brought onto the turntable. She turns and looks at him holding up the record sleeve.
- Mahler's First Symphony, she says, is it good? Tony looks over at her and nods his head.
- Yes, come on sit down and we can listen together, he says softly.
The music enters slowly softly and gradually permeates the room. Tony raises his right finger and conducts an imaginary orchestra. Dum da, dum da, dum da da da, da da da dum dum dum, he sings off key and slightly out of tune and Annie smiles as the music increases in both tempo and loudness.
- Still feel shite? Annie asks lifting her glass.
- The shiteness is easing away, he says still waving his finger and tapping his foot gently up and down and nodding his head in a puppet-like way. Music and drink can be saviours in their own way, he adds.
- Drink can be a demon also, Annie says, I've seen it many a time in Glasgow when I was a girl.
Tony gazes at her. - Wasn't that a while ago now? Tony says mocking. And weren't you a nun at one time? he asks lowering his finger and placing his hands in his lap.
Annie frowns and lifts her glass. - I'm forty-five not eighty-five, Annie says. I entered the convent when I was eighteen and left when I was twenty. I've not been a nun ever since. Robby and I had good years together until he decided he wanted someone younger. So damn all men I say.
- Even me? Tony asks.
- Especially you, Annie says with a smile. The music stirs them again and they lay back to listen. Both sip and drain their glasses and Annie fills them again just as the first side of the record ends.
She turns over the record and places the down needle.
- I need you, Annie, Tony whispers. I know I'm only twenty-six but I love every inch of you.
Annie looks over at him and frowns again. - There are quite a few inches to love, Annie says. She stands listening to the music for a few seconds and then disappears from the room. Tony watches her go and then closes his eyes and lets the music flow over him and into him. The whisky warms him and lifts him out of himself and he drifts momentarily along with the stream of sound and sensation that surround him and wash against him. He sips repeatedly, the sensation slowly undoes him, and he feels as if he were being caressed by a thousand feelings and sensations repeatedly. He smiles to himself and once again waves his finger in the darkness to the imaginary orchestra.
Annie returns and stands by the lounge doorway naked. She watches Tony reclining and waving his finger and looks as he smiles and begins to hum instead of singing. - I'm back, she says in a whisper.
Tony opens his eyes and looks round. For a few seconds he just stares and then he sits up straight and taps his head.
- What are you doing standing bloody naked? he asks. He looks at her pink flesh, which is ample, and bosoms that could kill.
- You said you need me, Annie replies. So here I am. She stands still no longer but moving into the room she sways her ample body from side to side.
- I meant, Tony explains, you yourself not your body as such. Annie mouths a large O and begins to blush.
- My mistake, she says covering up her breasts unsuccessfully with her two hands. I thought you meant... She pauses and walks backwards. Tony raises himself from the sofa.
- No, don't go, he says moving over to Annie. I don't mean I wouldn't want to or want you it's just that...Well I've never, you know actually done it. He looks pass her and sees the picture on the wall behind is slightly skew-whiff or is it me he asks himself putting his arms around Annie as she starts to move away again.
- You're joking, she says, you're not a virgin? Tony nods his head but doesn't look at her.
- Well you know what's like, you say you've had sexual experience when you haven't and then you get too old and ashamed to say you haven't even when you haven't and so you pretend you have and get older and still remain a bloody virgin, Tony confesses crossly.
Annie kisses his chest hairless and smooth and lays her cheek against it. - Time to do something about it then, she sighs. She kisses his stomach and moves downwards. Tony moves backward.
- I don't the first bloody thing, he says. I'm totally in the dark.
- You will be, Annie says and leads him off out of the lounge and into her bedroom.
- What about the music? Tony asks.
- The last movement of Mahler has ended. Your first movement is just starting, says Annie and turns off the light.