Drop #9: An Act

Once I got through security I ambled around for a while, keeping an eye out for a spot of fun. Anything to pass the time till my plane boarded in an hour. I stopped in at the pharmacy to check the price of my favorite sunscreen (rip off), then washed my face, brushed my teeth and carefully combed my hair in the bathroom nearby. Soon after, I saw them at the Starbucks, recognizing them at once.

‘Excuse me.’

‘Yes,’ the man answered indifferently. The woman looked up with small, pinched eyes. She resembled an Old English sheepdog. They both drank coffee and were sharing a piece of pie. I’d thought they were in their mid forties but they looked late thirties up close.

‘I don’t mean to bother you,’ I said, ‘but I noticed you earlier at the airport train station.’

‘Yes?’

‘You were saying goodbye to another couple, perhaps a shade younger than you?’

‘Oh, that was the Friedericks,’ the woman said, looking at me with her slits. ‘We stayed with them the weekend. Lovely people. Very generous.’

‘I see,’ I said. ‘Fascinating.’

‘Why do you say that?’ the man asked.

‘Well,’ I answered. ‘I don’t know if it’s my place to say this, but I heard them talk after they sent you off, and, how can I put this?  It wasn’t all positive.’

‘What did they say?’ asked the woman quickly.

‘Well, they kept repeating how relieved they were you were gone. Thank God that’s over, they said. Never again. I don’t know how I survived—things of that nature’

‘No!’ said the woman, aghast.

‘I’m afraid so. I paid attention because I’d watched them send you off so warmly and now they were so unsavory.’

‘I don’t believe it.’ She was visibly upset. ‘They were such darlings all weekend. Nothing was too much trouble. We all got along so well and had such a lovely time.’

‘They said you were needy and needed constant babysitting,’ I told the woman, ‘and that you never shut up. Actually, they talked about shoving a dirty sock in your gob, if I remember correctly. They called you boring,’ I told the man. ‘Said conversation with you was like watching grass grow. And they weren’t too fond of your sense of humor either, let alone your personal hygiene.’

‘Well I never!’ said the man, hacking off a bite of pie but deciding not to eat it.

‘I’m really sorry,’ I said. ‘I was torn about whether to tell you, but I have found that honesty is usually best and thought you deserved to know.’

‘Yes. It’s good you did. Glad someone saw their true character.’

‘I don’t believe it!’ the woman said again. ‘I really thought Gwynn and I had bonded. I really thought I’d made a friend.’

‘Sometimes,’ I said, ‘it’s nothing more than an act.’

‘That’s so mean,’ she added, thinking of crying.

‘Yes, people can be very cruel.’

‘Now my headache’s back,’ she said. ‘I can’t afford a migraine on the flight. I just can’t!’

‘I’m sorry I’ve upset you.’

‘Not your fault, sport,’ said the man. ‘You’re only relaying facts.’

I still had time before my plane boarded so I stuck around for a tea. The guy behind me was incredibly serious putting in his order at the counter. Hand up and palm forward as if taking an oath, he conveyed it wasn’t to be messed up.

I sat at one table then moved to another when a girl sat down nearby with her back to me. I most certainly wanted a face to match with that ass.

God, I hate my habits sometimes.

By E.M. Vireo

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About EM Vireo
flooding the world with fiction

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