Bob Bob Ricard

Bob Bob Ricard

Press For Champagne

The button itself is quietly anonymous.

It could be the bell push for the office of a private investigator or a fur merchant. A small surround of brass, a round button. The button looks like Bakelite. The wording is concise and no nonsense. The font is an unspecified serif face, nothing remarkable. There is a flash of pink which hints at misbehavior.

What could possibly happen? What consequence could offer itself? It is only a glass of champagne.

The purpose of the button is its reason. Not the setting of brass and resin and printed paper.

An idea that could be the result of a collision between the imagination of Lewis Carroll and F. Scott Fitzgerald, one of dangerous curiosity and seductive ruin.

Like I say, what could possibly happen?

I asked him if he had been lucky, “Always” he replied, and pressed the button.

She fell in love with him; he defined unsuitable; under normal circumstances she would never have fallen for him; she lost count at the third press of the button. Now, it is a memory. She, however, still believes that love cannot be quantified by time. The brightest stars burn the quickest.

He got offered that part by that director; he thought it was just dinner; a second press of the button mixed with a shot of excitement. He recited six lines from a Patrick Hamilton novel and the director clapped and said it deserved more champagne, to celebrate, “You just got the lead!”

I once saw Lucien Freud in there, exquisitely disheveled. Betting slips covering the table like cherry blossom. He caught me looking and he smiled. I asked him if he had been lucky, “Always” he replied, and pressed the button.

The button is now softly worn. The brass that holds it is scratched and marked. The skin’s human reacts with the brass to darken and patinate the brass.

A million stories: falling in love for the first time; falling out of love for, I swear, the last time; the next big album; an easy fortune. Sometimes they happen and sometimes they do not.

Press for champagne. What could possibly happen…?

Graham Erickson is a freelance editor and writer living in London.