Aubergine
By mauichuck1
Published: November 7, 2009
Updated: November 7, 2009

Aubergine

 

Chaz walks out to the cobblestone streets, and he's stopped by an acquaintance, an old acquaintance, someone he's not to fond of for that matter, either. There in the French Quarter of New Orleans Chaz is with his possible parents and his girlfriend or hopeful fiancée, after this dinner.

 

Ted stops Chaz.

 

"Chaz? Chaz? It's Ted. Christ you could give a warmer welcome than that if you knew I was gone so long."

 

Chaz, now anxious to get moving, was unfamiliar with the street signs.  They're all in French, and down the street walking slowly is Chelsea and her parents, a dreadfully far walk from the hotel, but he must find this restaurant, which will be the perfect place to ask for permission to take their daughter's hand into eternity.

 

"Oh you've been gone, have you?"

 

"Chaz? You fool, I've been away for almost five years. I just got back from France. I learned French -- I'm practically fluent."

 

"Is that so?"

 

"Do you know how hard that is? In such a short amount of time?"

 

"Well, perhaps you can help me out then." The parents with Chelsea now stand only a block away from Chaz. He waves them to come close now.

 

"Could you arrange a taxi, I can't read any of these signs and don't know French."

 

"Chaz, of course, that should be easy." Ted looks desperately for a clue around the fronts of shops, restaurants and hotels, scratches his head and turns back around. Chaz sits motionless eyeing Ted up and down, awaiting his skill.

 

"The thing is, there's different, uh, degrees of, you see, I was off in the-" Ted then spots a sign: "Aubergine."

 

Below the sign in plain English is the word "taxis". Ted puts it quickly together and in the nick of time as Chelsea and her parents walk upon the curb, where now they all stand. Ted flings up his arm and waves his hand in the most masculine way that anyone would expect from such a man and yells, "Aberegenee! Aberegenee!"

 

A hansom cab driver and co-pilot head clopping along toward the family and notice Ted's fatal gesture and assume he needs some assistance.

 

"Aberegenee! aberegenee!"

 

"What in the devil is he shouting?" The co-pilot turns to the driver.

 

The driver turns to his co-captain of sorts and responds, "I believe he's yelling aberegenee".

 

"What does that mean?"

 

"Well, I suppose it means taxi." The captain not short on wits himself pulls the horses close to a stop and asks, "Yes sir, could we be of service?"

 

Ted of course not missing a beat says "Well yes, by the way the service in France is much quicker, my mates here need a taxi. I'm sure this will do won't it Chaz?"

 

As Ted turns to the four of them, Chaz eyeballs the restaurant they're in front of. This place looks as good as any, he thinks.

 

Ted waves off the cab, noticing Chaz's party's disinterest, but he does see something to his liking: it's the old foreign automobile up on the sidewalk, and it also bears the name Aubergine on the side.

 

"I must have this car." Ted looks up at the maitre d' standing at the door and asks -- loudly of course, so everybody can hear -- "Sir, how much for this car?"

 

"I'm sorry, it is not for-"

 

"I won't take no for an answer." Ted pokes Chaz with his elbow, "this guy wants to play hard ball, eh Chaz?"

 

"I think he actually works-" Chaz is interrupted.

 

"I said how much for the vehicle?"

 

The maitre d', now annoyed, turns away.

 

Chaz, Chelsea and her folks are in a little bit of dream sequence, wondering "Who is this guy? And where did he come from?"

 

Chaz explains, seeing the looks on their faces, "I'll fill you all in once we sit, let's get a table."

 

Chaz walks up the small set of stairs to be greeted by the maitre d'. He then turns back to Ted, who awaits eagerly with a pen in one hand and a checkbook in the other. "Ted, I'll take care of this for you -- how much is your offer?"

 

Ted, starting to get the feeling he loves, making deals, even if they're totally awful deals, says "Tell him sixty thousand as long as it runs-"

 

"And if it doesn't?" Chaz anticipates the apparent contingencies of this particular negotiation.

 

"Tell him forty thousand." Ted looks at the family of three remaining on the sidewalk, who are puzzled and now detached at the same time.

 

Ted remarks on, putting the final nail in his own coffin, "If there's one thing I learned in France it's that everything is for sale, even this fine auto-mo-bile." Ted's speech slows as he starts to catch what's inside the vehicle.

 

Chaz, now in front of the maitre d', greets, "Hello. I was hoping you might find a table for four on this being such short notice and all. And tell your manager or owner that I have a business transaction for him I think he will approve of."

 

"But of course sir, very good, I will get him for you after you are seated in one of our best tables, and please, welcome to Aubergine."

 

Chaz waves his future parents and wife up the small set of stairs to one of New Orleans finest restaurants and simultaneously gives Ted the thumbs up.

 

Ted rests his eyes on the contents filling the truck: potting soil and beautiful pink and red petunias reaching up like small children that have just been adopted waiting to feel the warmth of a new parents love for the first time.

 

"What does Aubergine really mean?" the co-captain of the hansom cab asks his mentor, whom he hoped one day to replace in his own aspirations of driving these beautifully romantic cobblestone streets alone with only the company of the clip-clopping of the horses' hooves and the barely audible lovers' whispers.

 

"I think it means…"