The Private Eyes of March

By SuzsPetals

The pub was smoky and I longed for the cities that banned the nasty habit from public places. I didn’t lose much sleep over civil liberties and second-hand health problems; money was short and I simply couldn’t afford another steep dry cleaning bill. Hopefully this would be my last seedy joint for a while. I had a good feeling about it. Maybe the loser I had been tracking for four months would finally surface here.

My business card said “private investigator” and I was one of the best.

My long legs and school-teacher demeanor generated trust in most people and I got what I needed when most Phillip Marlowe types failed. Women tended to confide in me and men pretty much told me everything when I batted my eyes and inched up my tweed skirt.

Cheating? Maybe, but in my line of work you use any and all resources available.

Unfortunately, this latest perp was not in my line of work and all expenses were coming out of my own account. No grateful client writing me a check when it was all over, or in many cases, not-so-grateful when I had to break the bad news about their unfaithful spouse. Fortunately, however, the philandering hubby work was coming in handy since the little guy I was trailing thought with the same brain that has tripped up men since the dawn of, well, man. They always make mistakes when their testosterone contributes to the decision-making process.

Not to say that my gender doesn’t have a few fatal flaws as well, but for now I was in another bar in another country looking for another guy that was looking for another conquest.

Simple as that.

I spied an empty barstool near the door and slid on, crossing my legs so that any casual admirers could appreciate the way they reached all the way down to the bottom rung. The place was loud so charades worked best for ordering. The bartender slid me a sweating glass half full of Ireland’s best single malt on the rocks after I indicated what I wanted.

I turned and surveyed the room. Definitely his type of dive but it was too crowded to see him if he was here, so I sipped my whiskey and people-watched.

Pretty soon I realized I was the one being watched. Just a feeling, but I had been around the world and in a lot of bars recently. I trusted the tickle at the back of my neck and casually looked around me. He waited until he caught my eye then smiled what I’m sure he considered a charming entreaty. It was more of a leer, really, but I forced myself to return the smile and tuck my head slightly in a demure, yet flirty gesture.

It was the creep I had hopped continents looking for and I didn’t want him to spook and run. He was even shorter than I thought he would be and in spite of the lascivious smile, I could see the charm that got him in doors.

“Are you new in town?” he asked predictably.

“I am,” I replied, “and you must not be from around here originally. What is that charming accent?”

“I’m from New Zealand,” he lied.

I cooed and fawned about that for a few minutes, asking questions and polishing his ego. He bought me another drink, admiring my choice in liquor, and we made the usual small talk heard in pubs and clubs around the globe. When I thought it was a comfortable stretch of time, I stood up and tried not to tower over him. The diminutive fellow wasn’t phased at all in our differences in height and took his time checking out my gams.

“I’ve really got to go,” I said, sounding somewhat reluctant, then added, “You could come over for a nightcap if you’d like. My flat’s not far from here.”

He pretended to think about it for a second, then grabbed his hunter green wool jacket from the stool and followed me. He didn’t question my detour down the alley next to the pub and I could hear him right on my heels.

As soon as we were out of the circle of grimy lights spaced haphazardly down the walkway, and I heard no more voices, I whirled around. A short burst of mace and I slipped the cuffs on him before he even knew what happened. My four-door import was just a few feet away and I threw the stunned stooge over my shoulder and dove into the back seat with him.

Breathlessly, I sat him up and demanded my due. “I’ve been chasing you since Ireland, you little twerp; now where’s my pot of gold?!”

I wasn’t sure whether to expect rage, denial or both but he sputtered a little, then looked resigned. He knew the score.

He was a leprechaun, I caught him, and there were rules to be followed. It didn’t look like dry cleaning bills were going to be a problem any more.

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“Remember Me” breaks the vampire out of his coffin

Robert Pattinson shines — not sparkles — as the very human Tyler Hawkins in “Remember Me.” Photo courtesy of Rotten Tomatoes.

by SuzsPetals

(Reprinted with permission from the Berthoud Weekly Surveyor)

“Remember Me” is a poignant little film never intending to be major box office fodder, much less to bump a giant like “Alice in Wonderland” out of first place. So why all the scrutiny and pressure?

It happens to be the indy drama Robert Pattinson chose to shoot between New Moon and Eclipse; Twilight Saga movies two and three for the uninformed or uninterested. I personally am way more informed and interested than I care to admit, but that’s a story for another time. Pattinson plays the intense and devoted vampire Edward in the Twilight series, and the critics have been rubbing their hands in anticipation of skewering his ability to do anything that involves less pancake make-up.

Directed by Allen Coulter — best known for his work on cable shows like “Sex and the City” and “The Sopranos” — “Remember Me” is the story of two young people who have been broken and altered by tragedies in their individual lives. Ally, played by Emilie de Ravin, has risen above her loss but is still shackled to an overprotective father who’s not ready for her to grow up. Pattinson plays Tyler Hawkins, whose personal tragedy still haunts him, manifesting itself in anger, sexy brooding and reckless behavior.

The rest of the cast is skillfully filled out with the likes of Chris Cooper as Ally’s cop dad, Pierce Brosnan as Tyler’s rich and repressed father, and Ruby Jerins as Tyler’s adored little sister Caroline. The strained relationship between Tyler and Charles Hawkins is almost as gripping as the blossoming love story in the film. I don’t think I exhaled once during their climactic confrontation scene, and I was almost as invested in them working things out as I was the lovers. Brosnan fans will relish his significant supporting role.

Caroline is the little dinghy, being tossed around on the family’s sea of grief and Tyler protects and loves her with such ferocity I left the theater yearning for a big brother. Jerins is a child actress we will probably see mature on-screen, such is the depth and vulnerability of her performance.

Lena Olin — who kicked ass literally and figuratively on the series “Alias” — is visibly fragile as Tyler and Caroline’s mother. A lesser-known standout in this film is Tate Ellington who plays Tyler’s roommate Aidan. His character alternates between obnoxious and endearing, providing a buffer and comic relief where needed.

The centerpiece of this story is the relationship between Tyler and Ally, and although it’s built on a shaky foundation, the chemistry and evolution is both believable and watchable. Their passion and humor evoke memories of being 20-something when everyone is brave with the knowledge they have their whole lives ahead of them. Emilie de Ravin, who is best known for her role on “Lost,” does a lovely job conveying Ally’s old soul wrapped in a free spirit who helps Tyler knock down his walls.

And it’s Tyler who the characters seem to orbit around. Pattinson infuses the half-hearted college student with all of the flaws and attitude you would expect a rich, intelligent, yet damaged young man to have. He plays Tyler with honesty and emotion, and I found it hard to look away. Okay, I admit I may be biased, but I’m still convinced the critics can find someone else to hang their one-trick-pony expectations on. I hear Zac Efron is available.

The ending of this movie was somewhat spoiled for me in a press interview (thanks a lot, Matt Lauer) and it has been described as controversial in many reviews. I have no desire to ruin it for anyone, but I definitely had mixed feelings. The filmmakers obviously wished to convey the message to live each moment fully and I got that. But after such an authentic story of intertwining lives, they awkwardly tried to tie up each package with a pat bow that didn’t feel as real.

This may have normally been a movie I’d wait to see on DVD, but I’m glad I enjoyed it on the big screen. It had no impressive CGI, no epic battle scenes, just people learningto live and love in a complicated, unpredictable world. Oh, and it had Robert Pattinson.

The romantic drama is rated PG-13 for some violence, sexual content, language and smoking.