Last Picked

Short Fiction for Guests of the Wordfeeder
Friday, December 30, 2011


“Hey. ..I’m just finishing up. What can I..”

“Some of us are going out for burgers, the little Happy Hour kind. Why don’t you join us?”

“Well, for one thing, I don’t eat beef and I have absolutely no social graces.”

“Why don’t you eat beef? Is it a religious thing?”

“No. It’s a saturated fat thing.”

“What about forks? Do you eat with your fingers, or do you use forks?”

“Only when I order soup.”

“Great. What more can a girl ask? You’ll fit in perfectly.”

“I tend not to relate well to people.”

“How do you know if you never go out with them?”

“Twenty four years of experience.”

“I thought you were twenty three?”

“It started the moment I was conceived. I wouldn’t have thought it was possible, but I have a prenatal memory of my parents giggling through intercourse. I think they may have been drinking, at a minimum.”


“When two people..”

“I know what you meant. It just seemed like an overly technical description of what they were doing. ..Maybe they just had funny sex. Maybe they actually liked each other. Sometimes people who like each other giggle during sex, you know, because they’re having a good time.”

“Are you saying that it’s normal for the girl to laugh?”

“It all depends?”

“On what?”

“On whether she’s laughing with you or.. Com’on. What’s the worse thing that can happen?”

“I’ll say something embarrassing. People I work with and who respect me will know for sure how socially awkward I am rather than just assuming it.”

“Don’t worry. No one you work with respects you.”

“Good point.”

“Okay, how ‘bout if I be your wingman, figuratively speaking? ‘Wing-woman,’ to be precise.”

“You’d cover for me?”

“Absolutely. I’ll them we’re going out for the evening, so we can’t stay long. We’ll leave before you make a fool out of yourself and you can take me out for a real dinner. How ‘bout that?”

“You’re beautiful and impeccably dressed in a casually fashionable way. I, on the other hand, am not. Shouldn’t I be the boy version of you for ‘us’ to be believable?”

“I don’t know. You have potential.”

“A diamond in the rough?”

“More like a cubic zirconium.”

“I’m not sure what that is, but I get the point. ..I don’t think they’ll buy that we’re dating, particularly since no one has ever seen us together at work.”

“You’re right but, if we play it right, we can make the shock value work for you. They’ll start imagining positive things about you that clearly aren’t true.”

“So your aura will be rubbing off on me?”

“Figuratively speaking. There won’t be any actual rubbing involved.”

“I get it. ..What will we talk about?”

“It’s a sports bar. How about sports? What sport did you play in college?”


“That’s not a sport.”

“You’ve never seen me play.”

“What about high school? Did you play any team sports?”

“Does the debate team count?”

“What about Phys Ed?”

“Are you asking what sports I played on the days when no one stuffed me in my locker?”


“I was good at running.”

“Sprints? Hurdles? Cross-country?”

“It depended upon where I was when they started chasing me?”

“Were you beaten up often?”

“Not really. It never occurred to our high school thugs that I could pick the lock to the janitors’ supply closet. I had a flashlight, and used the time to read my History assignments on a desk I made out of rolls of single ply toilet paper.”

“How creative.”

“In retrospect, it was good preparation. My apartment is only slightly larger.”

“Word around the office is that you have a Murphy Bed.”

“Not exactly. I have a bed that folds into a couch. ‘Murphy’ is my cat.”

“You have a cat?”

“Not really.”

“But, let me guess, telling people you have one makes you seem more normal?”

“I left Murphy with my parents because my apartment is too small.”

“Sorry. Being normal is over-rated. ..Do you miss him?



“Not so much. We FaceTime on the weekends. He has his own iPad.”

“That’s nice.”

“It could be worse. At least I have a place of my own.”

“I live with my parents.”

“And I would too, if they were my parents.”

“I’m kidding. I just wanted to see how you’d react under pressure.”

“How did I do?”

“If pathetic was what you were after, you nailed it.”

“..And you were what? A cheerleader? Homecoming Princess, maybe even the Queen? Student government President?”

“I liked softball, but didn’t get to play much, but I was on the school paper and the debate team.”

“You too? Hm. Hard to believe we have something in common. ..Brainy intellectual sex kitten, my favorite.”

“You’re not going to drool, are you?”

“No. ..It’s a chronic, weather-driven saliva disorder for which there’s no known cure. They really need to turn the air conditioning dow..”

“Brainy intellectual, maybe, but these.. didn’t show up until my freshman year at college.”

“You didn’t date much in high school?”

“You could say that. No one asked me out to the prom, if that’s what you’re asking. Well, that’s not strictly true. No one asked me that I wanted to go with.”

“I would have asked you?”

“My point exactly.”

“..So why me?”

“Wow. You really don’t get it, do you?”

“I’m just being realistic.”

“Okay, let’s see. You leer at me less than the other guys I know.”

“I avoid looking at you on purpose and it’s not easy. Even Morgan stares at you and he’s legally blind.”

“You write well. I’ve been reading your blog.”

“What blog?”


“Oh. That one.”

“You have sense of humor.”

“True, I’m good a sensing humor when I hear it. ..Is that it?”

“No. ..You have no pretense. I’ve lived in a world of pretense ever since I went to college.”

“Ever since you grew boobs?”

“You know, I think you may be onto something?”

“Can I write about your boobs on my blog? the context of an strictly academic discussion of the impact of late developing body parts on self-image and personal relat..”

“No. ..But maybe we can talk about them later if you buy me a really really nice dinner?”

“Okay, let’s go..”

“You just knocked everything off your desk. ..I can’t believe you use a blotter.”

“..but I still won’t eat any beef.”

“Can you dance?”

“I vibrate. Is that okay?”

“By the way, I heard you’re being promoted to Project Manager. Congratulations.”

“Thank you. I’ll be hiring and would consider allowing you to sleep your way to the top.”

“Wouldn’t that be harassment?”

“You’re right. How about if you sleep with me, but I don’t hire you?”

“That might be okay. We’ll see how dinner goes.”

“Uh, for the record..”


“I’ve been working on getting up enough nerve to ask you out.”

“I know.”


“A girl can tell.”

“Well, thanks for taking the initiative and asking me out first.”

“I got tired of waiting.”

“..I mean it.”

“You’re welcome but, in case anybody asks, it was the other way around.”

“Of course. ..Maybe they’ll have veggie sliders.”

“Will you stop talking if we hold hands?”


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