There she is. Such a doll, with her sandy waves falling over her shoulder and her bee-stung pout curling into a smile as she greets thirsty patrons. I called her over. My drink was getting low and who better to refill it than her?
“What are you havin’ tonight, Mickey?”
“The usual, darlin’.”
I looked to the ground out of habit. Neck gets sore sometimes from always looking up. She was wearing those shoes again. She drove me crazy with those shoes. Got my mind racing with thoughts I shouldn’t have been having.
“Did I ever tell you about this girl you remind me of?”
“You did, Mickey, but tell me again. I like that story.”
“Sit down here for a minute.”
She pulled a stool up real close so she could hear me over the sound of the band. Wretched band, but they kept playing no matter how many people got up to leave.
“I went to school with her. Pretty young thing, though she never thought so. Had the voice of an angel, that much you couldn’t argue. Her and Mickey (the other Mickey) were sweethearts, but I always had my eye on her. She never looked at me in that way because…well, I wouldn’t expect her to.”
“What are you talkin’ about, Mickey. You’re a real catch.”
“It’s ok, honey. You don’t have to say that. Anyway, she had a way about her that made you feel…special, even if you weren’t. She’d talk to anyone, laugh at all our jokes, hug you when you needed someone to lift you up. And when she sang, boy. That was the end. We’d all listen. No one said nothin’, just listened to her from the first note until she was done.”
She closed her eyes as if she’s listening to the same song I could hear in my mind.
“She never thought she was pretty enough. Wasn’t her fault, neither. Them bastards at the studio always made her feel bad about not being as skinny as some of them other girls. But she was plenty pretty. Cute as a button and twice as smart. I might have even loved her, if she’d of let me. But…well…”
“What was her name, Mickey?”
“Oh, that doesn’t matter, sweetheart. She’s gone now. Few years past. But I’ll never forget her and every time you wear those red shoes, you bring her to mind. Those shoes and your hair, when you wear it in ribbons like that.”
“Come on, Mickey. You’re a big shot on the strip, everyone here at the Grand loves you. I wanna know who you see when you see me bringin’ you your drink.”
“Speaking of drinks, I’m gettin’ thirsty again. Bring me the usual, will ya?”
“Alright. Sure thing. Next time, maybe you’ll tell me her name.”
She got up to walk away and I saw those shoes one more time. She drove me crazy with those shoes.
“Her name was Francis, but we all called her Judy.”
Please include Judy Garland, The MGM Grand Hotel in Las Vagas, a dwarf, a pair of shoes and a cocktail waitress in your story.