A Girl Called Len
Chapter 3: More conversation and an idea
Copyright© 2010 by Texrep
My day was one of pressure. The programming system for these new machines was different. The older machines had a long program bar on the back, into which you slotted differently shaped keys. These controlled the function of the accounting machine. Now we programmed these new machines with a written program of alpha-numeric instructions. In fact what we didn't really understand at the time was that this was the first step towards the personal computer revolution. Computers up to then had been huge machines needing a clean air room to function. With the development of the microchip, computers became much smaller, but they were very expensive so it was only businesses that could afford them. Bill Gates and Microsoft was still years away. What we had here was in effect a small computer designed to carry out accounting procedures, and I and my colleagues were learning how to program them. I was not particularly brainy at school, but for whatever reason this programming appealed to some part of my brain that quickly understood the process. Hence I became the blue-eyed boy on that course. I don't know why my brain understood the programming business so quickly and easily. I had programmed the older accounting machines and found short cuts on them that would enable a three register machine to do the work that other companies needed four to do, therefore I could do the job at less cost. As a result of this I was quite successful in my sales, and suspected that was why I was chosen for this course.
Back at the hotel that evening I made notes on what I had learned. Of course I had the large instruction manual, but I had found it useful to make my own notes as well. I suppose it was part of the learning process.
I didn't really enjoy the evening meal which the hotel provided, the standard of cooking was not particularly great, and the menu was not that adventurous, but it was food! Going out for a meal would have taken time away from my studying, and now it would ingress on my time with Len. Just as I was leaving the hotel I looked into the lounge where some of my colleagues on the course were settling down for an evening of booze and chatter. The television was showing an excerpt from 'Singing in the Rain'. It was the part where Cyd Charisse dances, wrapped in chiffon which blows away from her in the wind. I immediately thought of Len. Possibly she could adapt that idea to her routine. With this in mind I almost ran round the block to tell her.
Len was waiting for me. She had obviously showered and changed into a sweat shirt and pants. She hadn't bothered with make-up. I was not put out about that, as I could see the girl she had once been. She greeted me with a kiss.
"That's three." She said. "Well it could be four but I don't know if a kiss on the cheek counts. But have you remembered the first?" She wore a cheeky grin as she said that. I had remembered it. It had come to me in the classes during the day. Why I should think about it then I have no idea.
"Yes." I said triumphantly. "It was just before I got in the car with my family to leave, and I kissed you."
"Yes, on the lips! I'm glad you remembered. A girl wouldn't like to think that the first man who kissed her lips would forget it. I was so upset." Len told me. "I didn't know why, except that my best mate was leaving, and I would probably never see him again." I noticed tears in her eye. "I cried buckets for hours." What could I say about that? I was fifteen and she was fourteen. At that age you had no say at all in your destiny.
"Anyway," Len laughed. "It made sure that I didn't get to sweet sixteen and never been kissed." Len went off to make coffee, and I made myself comfortable. As she was doing her bit in the kitchen I called out to her.
"I have thought of a routine for you." Her head came round the door.
"Have you?" She sounded doubtful.
"Yes. You just dance, but you don't have to strip. The wind will do that for you."
"Give me a moment." She called back. "Wait until I finish the coffees." A minute later she came in with the two mugs. She put one down for me, and then sat in the other chair with her mug clasped between her hands.
"OK. Tell me."
I told her about seeing the clip from 'Singing in the Rain'. Len had seen the film, but in Paris, dubbed into French, so, as she said she was so busy reading the English subtitles, she didn't really take the film in. But she could recall that sequence. Len was thinking deeply, so I stayed quiet. Finally she started, almost as if she were talking to herself.
"It could be done. The choreography would be bloody difficult, and the wind machine would be a problem too. It would have to be powerful, but could not be noisy. How many yards of chiffon will I need? It will have to be very light and filmy. It would work best with just one spot light, a super Trouper would be ideal, keeping the rest of the stage in darkness. Hell, there's a lot to think about, but it could be absolutely fantastic." She looked up at me. "Danny! I think you have a brilliant idea." She put her mug down and came over and kissed me. We said in unison.
"That's four!" We laughed together. It was a good feeling.
When I left Len, she was involved in thinking about how she could do this. We had discussed the wind machine and how on a large stage it could not possibly have sufficient force to maintain the chiffon airborne. So Len started thinking about a dance routine that would never take her more than two to three yards from the centre spot. This was all getting too technical for me, but Len seemed to be in her element. But then I would not expect her to be able to program an electronic accounting machine. The Cobbler should stick to his lath.
We met three more times before I came to the end of the course. She gave me her telephone number at the flat.
"Danny I won't always be here, but leave a message." She had an answering machine. "Let me know how you are. I don't want to lose touch with you for another ten years."
Back home Jennifer, my wife welcomed me happily. I had been away for six weeks, only getting home on occasional weekends. I again demonstrated my prowess in finding my way around the body of a woman in pitch black conditions. Although I must confess that in the darkness I found myself fantasising that the body underneath me was Len. Well at least I had seen her body, something that I could never say about Jennifer.
My Boss asked to see me as soon as I got back to the office on that Monday.
"Danny, the reports from the training course tell me that you have adapted to the new technology very well. It goes without saying that this now puts you into the management category. Apart from a good rise in salary and a company car, you will also benefit from medical insurance. Will you see your usual Doctor and arrange for a complete medical. The company will pay for that, but the insurers do need a certificate from him. Will you do that?"
"I will do that of course, Mr. Jackson."