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Sport 35: Winter 2007



'Point of etiquette number four.' Janice lifts her martini to the camera. 'Don't spend your evening at the buffet table. Who wants to talk to a girl with her mouth full of shrimp? Mingling is the name of the game.' She stretches out her hand. 'How do you do? Handshakes must be firm and dry. Smile, but discreetly check your teeth first to make sure you don't have cracker crumbs stuck in them. Say the person's name, and remember it. Say a little rhyme in your head if it helps. Like Nancy Gnocchi Nose. Don't stay too long—mingle and tingle. A girl must maintain an air of mystery. Excuse yourself after a few minutes and introduce yourself to someone else.' Janice turns her head a little, takes a sip of the martini. She spins to show the tulle underskirt of her new dress.

'That's great, hon. You're a natural. This is going so much quicker than usual.' Peter puts down his camera and slumps into Janice's salvaged hair-setting chair. He slurps at the martini that has been waiting for him, and pulls out the olive before he's even made it halfway through. 'And this apartment has such fantastic light.'

'What do you mean, quicker than usual? Have you done this before?'

'No, no, no. Of course not. I mean quicker than my usual projects. The Day at the Races movie, you'd think that I'd get enough footage in one day, but no, I had to keep on going back again and again. The bookies didn't want to be filmed unless I placed a bet, the ladies pulled their hats down over their faces, I wasn't allowed near the horses and then my battery ran down when I came across a male jockey who looked just like the young Elizabeth Taylor. It was a nightmare.' He takes another slurp of his martini and looks at his watch. 'Oh shit, is that the time? I gotta go; I'm meant to be meeting some friends.'

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'Can I come?' She hasn't met any of his friends yet.

'Uh, I don't know. It's just a group of guys from the neighbourhood, they're kinda coarse, I don't think you would like them.'

'I like coarse. I'm only fingerbowls and fine china for your camera, Peter.'

'It's a guy thing. They're all married, y'know. They want to go to one of those hooter bars. I don't understand—I'm not into that kinda thing.'

'Whatever. Listen, my mom's coming to town next week. Would you like to meet her?'

'Sure, I'd love to meet your mom. But I might be tied up with work; I can't guarantee anything.'

'So will I see you later?'

'I'll call you.'

'Please do. We haven't even talked.'

'Whaddaya mean? We talked plenty. I got it all here on film.' He smiles, and it's open, tiled with teeth. He kisses Janice on the cheek and slouches, loose-boned, to the door. 'Later.'

Janice wonders what she will say to her mother if he doesn't show. She has offered him to her: her handsome, artistic, financially independent boyfriend who only sometimes makes her feel cheap. After all these years of stoners and garage-band musicians. She knows that her Dartmouth degree, her fluency in French and excellent knowledge of Grecian vases is not enough for her mother's endorsement. But she's sure Peter will tip the balance. He knows how to hold a knife, even if he learnt it in a book.