Fiction: Mr. Richard

By David Dumouriez 

Her eyes sparkled throughout. In Paris. Now here, in Casablanca. Daytime, nighttime. Anytime. It’s all the same.
I thought I was the only one she looked at like that. Now I know … oh, what do I know? Always, those eyes! That im-imploring voice. ‘Richard, Rick, Richard, Rick …’  In Paris I was Richard. Here I’m Rick. It rhymes with sick.
Searchlights and shadows, night after night. Searchlights and shadows, never out of date …
What did any of it mean to her? She comes here with him. And then she comes here again. Alone. With all her hogwash about men who put her on a path to some kind of enlightenment. Men she maybe loved. I suppose she says that about all of them, to all the other ones. The ones who come after. Maybe she even said that about me. If I was even worth that much.
The music’s done. There’s just the sound of the bourbon hitting the glass. Like this. Like this!
‘Kiss me. Kiss me as if it were the last time.’ That was a good line. I wonder who got it first. I’m sure it got diluted in the telling.
‘No questions.’ That makes it easy. More smooth. Another kiss. Another look. Another bottle of Cordon Rouge. ‘We said no questions.’ You said no questions. I had any answer you wanted, honey. I thought that was what love was meant to be. If love was anything.
Oh … This place … Night after night, after night … My head’s fit to … Why … why did you … Ilsa … the name, it’s …