Picture it and write: The Lotus

by joetwo

Here is my contribution for this weeks picture it and write from ermilia’s blog, here. The picture isn’t mine, I just used it for inspiration. Anyway, enjoy.

The lotus

Frank had had a terrible year. It had been a non-stop deluge of foolish requests and inane bureaucracy. He needed a holiday, now more than ever. As it was the done thing, he had booked a travelling holiday through Europe, in an effort to catch all of the sights and culture that he could. He had never seen the point in it, holidays were supposed to be about relaxing, but this was supposed to be what you did when you were young and he still liked to think that he was young.

He started in Berlin, a morning flight, which gave him most of the day for sight-seeing. He figured that if he got most of the “must do” stuff out-of-the-way on his first day, then he would be able to relax and rest for the second before he had to take the train and move on. That way half of his holiday could be spent relaxing.

He spent the day wandering around the city, visiting the museums and ticking off the names in his guidebook, most stuff he gave only a cursory glance, never stopped to take anything in, but he was there, and most importantly, he had the photos.

That evening, Frank found himself in the hotel bar nursing a whiskey, waiting for an acceptable time to go to bed. There was a DJ after setting up and there was music blaring through the large room. Crud mostly, american pop and eurodance.

“You don’t look happy!” Frank heard a voice behind him say, it was a woman, speaking English with a hint of an american accent. He turned to reply when he found himself unable to speak. To call her a vision would be an understatement. Long blonde hair, deep blue eyes, and soft white skin over a blood-red dress, curving in all of the right places. Frank was still trying to get his breath back when she continued “You can take your chin back off the floor. Ha Ha! You’re funny. My name is Erika, with a “k”, pleased to meet you”

Somehow that snapped Frank out of it and he was able to ask if she wanted a drink. “I would love to take you up on your offer, but the music here is terrible and I am going now. I have a friend who is having a party at his club. Would you like to come with me?” Whatever notions Frank had of taking it easy were long gone and without question, he agreed to follow Erika out of the hotel and into the night.

The taxi ride took longer than Frank expected and he had to fill the silence with talking. He talked mostly about his job, how stressful it was, how much he hated it. Erika also talked a little about herself. She was american, had come over as a language student and was finding the living there tough. She had met this friend of hers, Josef, only recently, but his club was great for letting off steam, perhaps Frank could us it too?

The arrived at an address, to be greeted by an old office block, there was light and noise emanating from the tenth floor. Erika, holding Frank’s hand, lead him through the door.

The party itself was all that Erika suggested and more. Frank hadn’t seen the like since his own student day, people filled a wide open-plan room, dancing to the techno music. Everyone had a smile on their face. As he walked in, someone handed them both a bottle of beer, there was no charge. Frank really found himself getting into the music and he and Erika, who must have been at least ten years his junior were soon moving very close to each other.

After only a few minutes of this, Erika said that she was getting a little tired and that she was going to head to the bathroom. As she made her way to the toilets, Frank found himself an old couch to sit in and finish his beer. He noticed other women giving him the Eye, but he politely refused them all, happy enough to wait.

After about twenty minutes there was still no sign of her. He got off the seat and made his way through the dancers. There was not much of a queue near the toilets and he wondered what to do next. It was there that a door opened next to the elevators and the sound of laughter and a pungent smell came out. One of the voices sounded familiar, it was Erika.

Frank looked in through the door. There was about ten people in a circle, sitting or lying on blankets or large pillows. One of the other men passed something to Erika, it was a pipe of some sort. As Frank watched, she used a lighter to fire one end as she inhaled deeply. She then, lay back on her pillow, the white smoke, holding around her mouth before it was exhaled in a billowing cloud. She opened her eyes and looked straight at Frank. “Come in” she smiled at him, “say hello to everybody”.

Frank had come this far, he couldn’t stop now, he sat beside Erika, on the cushion she had offered. A dapper man on the other side of the circle, was Jason, their host, she didn’t know the rest, but they were eager enough to offer Frank their names. Frank didn’t know how it was possible but Erika draped herself more over the pillows “When I am getting stressed” she said “When I am feeling that I cannot cope, I come here, I smoke a little, and I feel soooo much better.”

Frank could not keep quiet “You know what that is don’t you?” She didn’t seem phased though “Yeah! But I’m not addicted, I just need it if I’m feeling a little down with study. I can quit whenever I choose”

She then offered the pipe to Frank. “You told me how hard things were for you. You should take some, it will help you. You can trust me, we can make all your troubles fade away.”

Normally Frank would just have run at an offer like that. But this time, looking into the seductive, pleading, blue eyes, asking him, looking at the others, he did not find it quite so easy. His job was terrible, his life was dull, he found that, against all he thought he knew, he was tempted, ever so tempted, to take it.

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