It has been a long time since his last date. Fresh off a divorce and unhappy alone, he sits in front of his new/first prospective girlfriend in over seven years; a pine table and a laptop computer lay between them.
He finds out quickly that his charms, the very charms that once got him laid, are now, seven years later, completely and utterly obsolete. He talks about his Corvette (it’s a convertible, you know) and she yawns… so he switches things up and talks about bicycling, his most recent hobby. He is careful to point out that his pedal bike probably cost more than ‘that piece of shit you drive around in’… she tells him that her dad bought her that car before he passed away a couple years ago, and he laughs nervously, without apology: she looks down, studying her Mochaccino intently.
After a few more false conversational starts, he alludes to his ex-wife and, for the first time since sitting down at the table with him, she finds herself interested: “What was she like?” she asks. “Ah, I don’t wanna get into mudslinging, you know? You’ve never met her and I don’t want to give the impression that I go all over town badmouthing her…” “Well, don’t badmouth her then; there must have been something about her that kept you around for, how long, seven years?” “Yeah, seven years too long… ok, quick and dirty: she was a Barbie doll…” “Really? A Barbie doll… was she like that when you guys met?” He scratches his head; he didn’t expect that this would be the conversation that caught her interest.
“Yeah, I guess so.” “Well, why did you marry her then, if you don’t like that type of woman?” He scratches his thigh, “Well, at the time, I thought that was what I wanted… I was young and stupid, drinking every night, you know? I wanted to get out of all of that—settle down, buy a house. I’d just bought the store and her dad was my first customer… he was always buggin’ me, sayin’ that I should take his daughter out on the town… that she was a real looker, so I bit.” “Her dad set you guys up?” He looks down and wonders why that makes any difference, before replying hesitantly, “um, yeah… so?” “No, no, no, I’m just curious… go on.”
He laughs nervously, but tries to make it sound playful… “Oh, c’mon, yer bustin’ my chops here… you don’t really care about her, do ya? I feel like I’m in a shrink’s office…” “Ah, so you are seeing a counselor. That’s probably a good thing…” “No, no, no, I talk to my buds about shit… but you know what I mean…” “Oh, can you hold on for a sec? I have to make a phone call…” “Yeah, sure, I’m gonna go to the little boy’s room.”
He goes into the washroom and closes the door a bit harder than usual. He turns on the light, clenches his fists and whispers an impassioned scream into the mirror in front of him, “what the fuck!?!?!” He notices his face is red, so he throws some cold water on his cheeks and towels off. He then adjusts his collar, and looks into the mirror again, this time, giving himself a silent little pep talk: “Ok, time to move in for the kill: round two.”
She is still on the phone when he gets back to the table. As she starts to give the person on the other end the “I need to get off now” preliminaries, she holds up a finger to signal that she is almost done. He acts casually, looks around the coffee shop and very obviously checks out one of the baristas… he also winks at a young mother across the room. Finally, she gets off the phone.
“So…who was that, one of the lady friends?” “Naw, that was Jake… he wanted me to wake him up at 2:00.” Silence. He smiles his most charming smile. “Ah, Jake, old buddy from high school?” “No, he’s my ex. We’re still pretty close though.” “Really? That’s weird.” “How so? You mean to say that you don’t keep in touch with any of your exes?” “Hell no! Once it’s done it’s done! In fact, I don’t really have any women friends at all…” “…Hm…” “Not that I like guys or anything (he laughs)” “Hm. So, when you meet a woman, you don’t necessarily have friendly intentions…” “Well, I… I don’t know, I’ve never really thought about that” “You are like a true man’s man… interesting… I knew that there were guys like you out there… but I think you’re the first one I’ve ever met…” Silence descends again.
“Anyways, that was some crazy night the other night at Lucky, heh?” “God. I was so embarrassed the next morning… to tell you the truth, I didn’t even remember giving you my number until you phoned me…” He bites his bottom lip. “So you don’t party much, eh?” “Well, not at Lucky, that’s for sure. I was with Layla though. She just broke up with her boyfriend and wanted to go out on the town.” “Ah, the blonde.” “No, she has short, dark hair…” “Oh… (laughs) I was pretty trashed myself that night.” “Yeah, sounds like you drink quite a bit, heh?” “Well, no… not really… love beer though.” “Hm, how many did you have that night?” “Well, I wasn’t countin’ or anything, but I polished off six at lunch… and my bill was like, over $200 at Lucky…. Good night!” “Hm.” She excuses herself and goes outside to smoke a cigarette. He orders another coffee.
When she gets back, she obviously has prepared a list of questions to avoid the fits of silence that have been plaguing their entire conversation. “So, before, when you said you were into some stupid shit, what does that mean?” “Seriously? … Yer full o’ questions, aren’t ya?” Nervous laughter again… she laughs along this time, “I’m just a curious gal” she says playfully, “you don’t got nothin’ to hide do ya?” “Na, na, I’m just not used to havin’ conversations like this… well, when I was younger, no, always, I’ve always had this energy in me that I’ve gotta release, you know?” “Hmm, so how do you release this… ‘energy’, as you call it?” “Oh lots of ways… when I was younger, I would always do weird shit like pulling down my pants at friends places, getting’ in fights, y’ know?” “Really?” “Yeah, and when I was older and me and my buds would go to the pub, I would do other shit… stupid shit… everyone was doin’ stupid shit, drunk, y’ know, but I would always be the one pushing people into it…” “…”
“Like the other night… we were dancin’ at some club, can’t even remember which one, and this chick punched me in the face…” “What? She just punched you in the face for no reason?” “Yes! She asked me to dance… kinda outta the blue. She was alright, but I certainly wasn’t checkin’ her out or anything… she asks me to dance, so we were dancin’ you know? Everything’s goin’ alright, and then she just winds up and fuckin’ hits me…” “So what did you do?” “What do you think I did? Fuckin’ pushed her away and called her a crazy bitch!” “You pushed a woman?” “Well, what the fuck am I supposed to do? Let some fuckin’ crazy slut punch me for no reason? Then, when I went outside and was tellin’ my friends about it, they started makin’ fun of me… punched out one of them too… fuckers!” “Hm.”
Sensing her obvious discomfort, he changed topics once again. “So, today I’m gonna go out and get me a new bathing suit: one of those James Bond ones, y’ know?” “James Bond bathing suit? What, does it have his face on the ass or somethin’?” “Serious, you don’t know what I’m talkin’ about? Haven’t you seen any James Bond movies?” “Well, yeah, but I don’t remember a bathing suit…” “They are awesome… go down to about here… really tight, y’ know?” “Like boxer briefs?” “Well, kinda, but a bit shorter… and tighter too” “Hm… so who are you going to Mexico with?” “My accountant’s takin’ me… it was a good year!” “Is he married?” He shoots her a strange look. “Uh, divorced…” “Ah, so you boys are gonna go down there and get yer yaya’s out, hey?” “Uh, yeah, I guess…”
At this juncture, one would expect our man to cut his losses, say something like, “Well, I’ve gotta jet, but maybe I will give ya a shout some time” and never see her again. He was persistent, however, or a bit daft or, probably, a little bit desperate. He attempted to take things to the next level.
“So… you wanna get some dinner tomorrow night?” If she was taken off guard, she did a good job hiding it. “Sure. Where do you like to eat?” “Well, I’ve been watching what I been eating lately… gotta look good in the bathing suit, y’ know? Love sushi though!” “Hmm… I had sushi for lunch today, might be rushing things by going again tomorrow night…” “Well, you decide then. What’s your favorite restaurant here in town?” “Tough question. I like different restaurants for different reasons. I mean, I really like The Superior for the atmosphere, but I’m not big into tapas…” “So what kinda place do you wanna go to tomorrow night?” “Hmmm… well, we should go somewhere loud…” He had no idea how to take that remark.
“Alright, well, let’s just play it by ear then… we’ll go where the night takes us… what time do you wanna meet up?” “Hmm… well, the earlier the better… I’m supposed to meet up with Layla later… she is still pretty hurt over everything… actually, maybe she could come to dinner with us!” Obviously disgusted, he forced his next words: “Yeah… that would be… great.” “Done. So I will call ya sometime tomorrow. What time is your fake-n-bake appointment again?” She grins. “3:00”. “Cool.” “Alright, I’m out… things will be closing soon… want me to walk you to yer car?” “No thanks. I’ve gotta get some work done.” “Ok, well, see ya tomorrow.” “Yip.”
He gives her a half hug and walks out of the coffee shop. She shuts down her computer, sighs audibly, wipes up his spilled coffee with a tissue from her black purse and walks out to her ‘piece of shit’ car.