The last chapter in the story...
Title: Passing Strangers(Ch.#3)
Starring: Midge Ure, David Sylvian, Bryan Ferry, Nick Rhodes
Related song: Passing Strangers-Ultravox
Comments: A woman finds herself meeting a slew of enjoyable passing
Midge looked a little dispondant for me while he ushered me into the
leather-lined seating. So I reminded him I'd figure something out soon(when infact I
needed telling that to myself too). He grinned and retold his driver what hotel I told
him to take us to.
Being the tidy person I am, I just kept on thinking about that foolish
id card. And I know I could have had Midge run in and out of all the bars in town to look
for David, but no doubt he could have been anywhere, and it was so late, and, and, and.
He could see I was worriedly looking out the window. He laced his
fingers into mine and kissed the back of my hand. Turning, I caught his smile to cheer me
up."I'm certain something will work out Juliette", he said softly.
And at that moment, it hit me. David and I got on alright-surely he would
go back to the hotel I hailed him infront of! Wouldn't he? In time before I left midmorning?
It really did feel like chance now. But the odds did seem they were in
my favor. I decided to break my silence and ask,"So! Does this limo open up so we can see
the night sky?"
"You read my mind." And in moments, the limo roof opened, and the chilly
air rushed past our faces. Without asking, I stood up with Midge right beside me. My hair
was practically 'glued' to my head, though I did manage to feel the air travel through it
somehow. I brightened up, figuring life was too short for me to worry-even for a second more.
My cohort popped in to turn on some loud synth music,and we beamed with
joy out of that limo, like two happy purebred canines.
Still not knowing how late it was, I glanced at the hotel lobby clock
above the desk. Ee-gads! It wasn't as late as I thought it was! Only 12:30am. Granted, I
did head to the downtown area just after nightfall. Time to stagger upstairs and play some
I fiddled with my freezing cold hotel key with Midge making walrus sounds
to try and distract me. Which, might I add, worked. My cheeks were so sore from laughing, and
I could only imagine how many hotel neighbors we were angering.
We entered allowing Ure to flop lazily onto my massive bed.
"I like big beds", he said humorously, his face burried in the blankets.
I shook my head at him, musing, and began combing the gel out of my dry hair in the mirror for
comfort."Oooh, what's this", I heard him say and spun around. He was snooping like a little
boy in my desk papers.
"You leave that lone you. I have those in a certain order for my work."
Smacking his hand, he went about his naughty sleuthing.
He picked up a pair of very colorful socks from beside the bed I'd left.
"Oh, I do quite like these!" Pulling and grunting, he pitifully tried to pull them over his now
Now he was just being silly."Don't your parents ever let you out to play??"
I asked him, grabbing the polka dot socks off his own socked toes.
He stuck his tongue out at me when a knock came at my door."Oh Lord",I
whispered,"we must've woken the other guests!" Dreading the confrontation of the hotel manager
or worse, some next-door-meanie, I gradually opened the door.
"Surprise!" Came the two most unexpected faces I even hope to guess I'd see.
After the unison greeting, I sized up the cabbie David and the handsome stranger from the lobby,
'Bryan', both heralding up bottles of champagne.
"We brought you champagne," cheered David."Though I brought it, Bryan paid for
both of em. I could feel Midge peering very questioningly behind me from the bed.
"Come in, come in", I said, knowing I simply had to let these silly men into
my hotel room with alcohol,in the middle of the night,in a town I didn't even live in. And it was
all very funny indeed.
They 'hoorayed' as Bryan danced into my room with a samba-like hand, flattened
over his pricey black trench coat and scarf. David was the complete opposite in a more trendy
grey jacket and button-down pinstriped shirt. He smiled, stuffing his hand in his pants pocket,
waiting for introductions.
I sighed in disbelief and introduced Midge to the other two. " Midge, this is,
David, the cabrdriver and Bryan, the...man-from-the-lobby?"
Bryan shook Midge's hand and sat down on the bed beside the perplexed man."And
you know Juliette..how?"
"Juliette! So that's your name eh?" Announced Bryan handing David his bottle
of bubbly. He began sharing some zany story of he and I meeting to Ure but I got distracted when
a loud pop exploded behind me. I turned around to see David pouring some champagne with his
back to me, and began talking.
"Bryan says this stuff is the very best money can buy. So naturally, he bought
two." He made a soft laughing noise with the fizzing drink backing him up and handed two glasses
from the small bar to me."What a card-eh?" I simply shook my head at David as he raised his own
glass briefly and said nothing, whilst sipping happily. I think I was dealing with sensory overload
inner mingled with a company expansion of sorts and sighed.
"What a 'card'-eh??" I shook my head confused at the strange repeat of his
sentence when I clearly heard him the first time-and why was he staring at me like that? Not that I
minded totally... I raised a glass to my lips when something hit me lightly in my bottom lip. My
id! Feeling utterly foolish, I threw my hands around his neck smelling his woodsy cologne while I
exclaimed. The lads on the bed stopped talking, noticed my hugging another and quieted up when I
But Bryan started again," Yes, so you see, I was downstairs waiting for a friend
to come by, when David here was overheard at the front desk about an id that'd been lost. And since
I frequent here often, I decided I'd take my chances and ask the man about it. As luck would have it,
I was able to see you again!" He stood up, took a newly poured glass from David and saluted me. For
once, Ure looked like he was nearly out of charming things to say.
I sipped gladly from the other glass in my hand, and welcomed the men to make
themselves comfortable. Poor Midge was being asked a string of questions from Bryan again, which
gave another moment for Dave to speak with me.
"Do you like him?" Asked David, rather forwardly. I looked at him, understanding
quickly that his glances in the cab earlier were interested ones(though he seemed to know I knew
"Well", I said sipping again," if you mean Midge, he is very nice." He no doubt
watched my smile form and when I looked over at Midge on the bed.
"Just nice", challanged Dave further."Not 'hot'?'Steamy'?Sex-say?" I laughed,
giving him this,'Where-did-that-come-from' kind of look. He was eating it up though-making me
uncomfortable like that. A way to get in better with me, perhaps. But very tempting to take,
He pressed a little more,"And that whimsical 'Bryan'.I'll bet he has a house some
where in a gorgeous part of Tuscany. He told me he wanted to surprise you with the champagne since
he knew how excited you'd be when you had your identification returned. And aren't you happy it's
safe and sound...",he paused taking a silky sip of champagne,'Juliette?'
I smacked him on the shoulder, but he felt he had my number too.
"There isn't anything funny going on", I said, dropping my voice down a little.
"I just like to remain a little more private until I know someone better."
He nodded in agreement, because he too could see I was traveling and didn't seem
to purely 'bed' someone, thus use a one-night-stand sur-name. I appriciated him not questioning it
any more. He was being respectfully playful. And he could really rub it in if he wanted to-
knowing my real name and address and all.
"So, Midge is in, Bryan's out then?" He kept doing this soft chuckle every time he
got a successful rise out of me that was aggrivatingly attractive. He was not Mr. Polite at work,
speaking to a lady customer anymore-the gloves were clearly off.Damn his naughty teasing. I smacked
his shoulder again and swore he said,'Yes please mistress, some more', but there was too much verbal
frivolity going on in the room to be sure. I only caught him laughing with his broad, cheshire smile.
"It depends I guess, really", he said composing himself.
"It depends on what 'you' want." He held his gaze, fixed at me, in a rather obvious
way.And though I looked away for a second, I did return the stare. His bleached bangs were hanging
coquettishly over one eye, with his eyeliner and lipstick fading slighly.
Meanwhile, either Midge was getting along jovially with Bryan,or they were now
really getting pickled. I pulled David over to join the two talking and emptying the bottle. I
wondered who had had more?
Midge's previous quiet wonder was squelched with red-cheeked banter. He welcomed me
back onto the bed and rested his head on his shoulder sweetly."Bryan and I have some of the same
things in common.Remember some of the musicians we were talking about earlier? He likes all of them!
Isn't that lucky?" Bryan had his leather shoes, trench and jacket off, with his legs interlaced on
the bed. Both his hands leaned on the edge of the mattress, and he turned and looked at me with a
wise, yet flirty glance. He was built broader than the other two men in the room. The breadth of his
shoulders a little fuller, his chest a little wider. Midge was shorter, and smaller while David was
lean and slender like a crane.
It was clear I knew the least about Bryan, though with him sitting there, out of
his jacket, he looked sophistcated still. In a way, I felt like I was seeing a side of him, legs
folded up on the bed like a school boy, that many other wealthy people he knew would never see.
There was a free-spirit quality about him(thus him able to wait about in the lobby with little to
do on a night like tonight) that was similar, though not the same as Midge. It seemed more serious,
but with an unexpected edge of surprise.
Midge wanted more to drink, so he got up and promptly tripped over one of Bryan's
shoes. David let out an uproarious laugh with Bryan chuckling right behind him. Ure looked a bit
stunned shaking his head a little and David thoughtfully went to his side to help him up again.
"Easy does it lad, that's the way". How funny watching David call Ure,'lad' when he appeared a
little younger looking. David was walking Midge to the mirror to show him how his perfectly high
quoff had since fallen slighly. They both had a good laugh over that one.
I was just content to watch them get along so easily. But Bryan had turned himself
to face me and handed me his card. It read:
"These are a joke-right", I asked hoping.
"Well, quite. You see, some chap of mine suggested I make some up to meet the
opposite sex, and before I could tell him the idea was silly, 200 of them were delivered to my
address the very next day." He laughed and rubbed the back of his head a little."Imagine my
embarassment when I hadn't the courage to give the first one out."
I set the card on my hotel bedside table,"But you gave one out to me,
His dark bangs fell over a narrowed eye,"Ah yes, but you are the first I actually
thought was worthy of such a thing." There was some trouble with him getting out a few words
properly, but I knew what he meant. He was not a sloppy, drunken mess. Curiously, he held his
liquor very well, not wavering at all.
"Did my card work", he asked with a lift at the end of his voice.
"Hmm, that remains to be seen", I replied confidently.
I'd too removed my jacket and shoes, and the two of us sat there almost identical,
save for the ties and socks. There was a strange, mirror image, only gender difference,that I found
most endearing. A curious kinship of menswear I thought curiously.
Relaxing back against the pillow nearby, I sensed how late it was, and found myself
not caring too much. I had a feeling I'd be up all night, which suited me. I was having a glorious
He pointed at my feet with his glass in his hand saying,"You know, I am a notorious
foot lover. That, I will actually profess to."
"Oh really?" I knew for sure the flirting had officially begun. I did need to know
more however, so I inquired about his mutual interest in Midge's preferred music selections. And this
opened up a whole new side of Bryan I did not see coming. Before me was a man, rather well off, who
had a fantastic arsenal of songs and writing ability at his disposal.His influences and even some of
his musical contacts were enviable. I listened to him share casual stories about some of his outings
with friends of very famous people, who just wanted to tag along. Though even so, there wasn't a hint
of arrogance or bragging in his tales. He said he sang too, though it was only a 'hobby'.
I went to ask him to sing something for me, when my attention was grabbed by the
smaller gents struggling to open the champagne. Must have been a difficult bottle, as David got the
first one alright. Then there was another,'POP', a 'WHAYHAY', and glasses rushed to the rim to try
and catch the frothing.
It had to have been near 3:00am at least, I considered,while watching Bryan stretch
back a bit and suddenly start singing. It must have been something he himself composed, but it
was utterly wonderful. His voice was mellow and sultry, and he waved it around in the air like a
Naturally, the chuckling twosome across the room stopped still and listened to
him along with me,wide-eyed.
We listened for a time, wondering if Bryan even knew anyone was listening, since he
was after all rather full of drink and his eyes were closed. His singing softly tapered, and the other
two gents joined myself in applause. Bryan looked sleepily from one side and then another, sitting up
again, rubbing the back of his head with thankful recognition.
Like children, the other men came over saying,"I can sing", and,"Me too!"
"By all means", I encouraged them. Then one at a time, they too shared their own
David's song was low, with smooth, drawn out grace. Facinating. And Midge completely
blew us away with his lung power and creativity. What were the chances I would meet up with three
such unique individuals??
They all offered each other encouragement, while I ordered some late-night food. I
didn't even ask what everyone wanted, because I was certain they'd all call out at once like little
kids. An order of this and that, just so long as we get some food in our drunk stomachs.
David began tickling me, which cause this chain reaction of,'Let's-pick-on-the-
only-female'. So I scrambled off to the bathroom to hide. I washed my face and got some of my things
together for tomorrow before I forgot, when I overheard them chatting unusually softly.
I didn't catch all of it, but I thought I made out something from Bryan like,"So,
who's going to be the bigger man and let the other one have a go at being the only man in the running?"
"Not me", whispered Midge selfishly. After all, he did spend more time with me than
the other two.
"Me neither", retorted David softly. No doubt because he was the far less wealthy
of the three of them, and might have felt he,'saw me first' in a sense. That, and he would feel he
had some footing after our little conversation earlier.
Then they all whispered at once, and the delivery man came, prompting Midge and Bryan
to fight over who was paying. Humorously, I didn't hear a peep out of David. After all, if they were
battling it out with large wallets, why should he?
I heard the tearing of opening bags as I walked back into the room. They all welcomed
me warmly, turning on something faint and decent on the late night radio, with Bryan tenderly making
up a makeshift tray of goodies.
The enjoyable richness made us all terribly sleepy, and the last thing I recalled was
curling up on the loveseat and fading to the sound of their chitchat. My wristwatch bleeped awfully to
awaken me, and I groggily complied, hurridly getting my few remaining things together.
The guys were all asleep on the bed, with Midge and David out like a light on the same
pillow.David, of course, stole the sheets, and someone placed the blanket over where I had lain.
At 10:35am I was already running late, and simply had to catch my ride out of town.As
much as I wanted to spend the rest of the day with them, I knew it was impossible. So, to make things
fair, I slipped my business card with the address I'd be at the next day inside each gent's left
shoe. I also made sure to call down to the desk and ask them to be kind to the trio when awakening them
by phone an hour before the room would be cleaned, explaining they were my good friends.
Who knows which of the three would actually come to visit me. But I already knew who
I gave one final look at their sleeping, far away faces before I left, slipped my
sunglasses on, and softly closed the door.