Drop #46: Hope

I’m waiting in the bar for Max. He’s late, as usual. I’ll end up buying the drinks too since he’s always broke. I’ve been seeing plenty of the guy, though I can’t say why. He’s not particularly smart and never has anything interesting or unique to share, as if he has a doctorate in Cliché. He’s uncouth and offensive, dealing out inappropriate, insulting nicknames, and specializing in crass, teenage jokes. He’s annoying, drawing deep connections from events that didn’t really happen and expanding on them exponentially, and endlessly repeating exaggerated stories that should never have been told, even once.

Not that I care about how guys look, but there’s plenty amiss there too. He’s kind of flabby and loose and he dresses terribly – think red plaid shirts, oversized green jeans and laceless boots. His curly, shoulder-length mop is ever-greasy and he wears three earrings that really don’t fit. He sports a rather pubic beard on his neck and face, which I guess makes some sense since his mouth distinctly resembles an anus.

Anyway, the whole package is somehow dreary and obnoxious all at once – so why do I keep seeing him? Good question. A flaw of mine, and not his, I’m sure. I have several more that baffle me just as much.

Waiting for such a man upsets me, as does thinking about him, so I look around for something else to focus on. It doesn’t take long to find: a girl sitting at a table nearby, drinking a cocktail: curly amber hair, bright, soft skin stretched subtly over high cheek bones, and eyes that appear imbedded with a lovely, long ago memory. She is dressed in layers of gray, in an upscale way that calmly provokes through contour and fit. Her beauty, effortlessly detailed, seems too good for this place.

I keep observing. She is mesmerizing. Her mannerisms make her so: the way she sits and sways, one leg balancing on the other; the way she scratches her back over her shoulder (I’d love to help her out); the way her mouth plays with that thin red straw. She’s so charming, joking around with the waitress, her ready smile yielding tiny dimples, and it’s official: I’m half way in love.

I consider approaching but I’m nervous. She must have a boyfriend or need something more than I can offer. Few guys would be in her league. But come on, I think, what have you got to lose? She’s here alone and you’ll regret it if you don’t.

So I walk over and introduce myself.

‘Hi,’ she quickly says, sticking out a hand. ‘I’m Olivia. Nice to meet you.’ I love that name, and there’s that smile. It cuts me in the gut.

Wow, I think, this is going well, so I ask if I can join her.

‘Sure.’

‘Great,’ I say. I’m ecstatic. I never put much faith in destiny but this is starting to feel like it.

I make a joke or two and she laughs. I’m smitten. I’m just waiting for her to finish her drink so I can buy her another when I see Max coming through the door in his ugly plaid shirt. I’d forgotten all about him. He sees me and heads towards us and I feel disdain in a whole new way.

He’s walking over like a big, greasy goon and I’m slamming my brain for ways to get rid of him. I could pretend not to know him, call him crazy. I could say he insulted me, and how dare he act friendly. I could tell the truth: that I actually dislike and want nothing more to do with him. Murder even pleads a case, though only in panicked, paranoid flashes.

He’s almost here when a waitress drops a full tray of pints. Everything shatters with an instant stink and a layered, jarring racket. Patrons are startled, as am I, but when I look back at Olivia, she is only amused. ‘How many trays must have been dropped in the history of the world,’ she says. ‘I like the idea that each will have made a unique sound hitting the ground.’

That second, while we are still alone, I love a woman and hate a man more than I have ever done before; then Max reaches us.

‘How’d you like that for a dramatic entry!’ he says, smiling stupidly. ‘Great!’ he adds. ‘I see you’ve met,’

‘Yeah, just barely,’ says Olivia, then turns back to face me. ‘I’ve heard so much about you, Jack. I would have said hi sooner if I’d known it was you sitting there.’ She scoots over to let the appalling man slide in beside her.

‘I hope you don’t mind that I asked her to come,’ he tells me. ‘I know it’s kind of guy time!’ He froths out his rancid laugh.

He can’t be with her. Surely!

‘I can’t believe you two never met!’ Max says, hugging the inimitable beauty.

I feel a terrible sadness.

‘My favorite cousin!’ he adds.

I feel an incredible joy.

‘Pretty hot for a dyke, right?’

‘I’m not a dyke, Max!’

Hope, that plump, needy pigeon, soars again.

‘I’m a lesbian.’

Shot down for Sunday lunch.

‘A woman wantin’, lady huntin’, girl lovin’ lesbian.’

‘Plucked, gutted and braised with raisins.’

 

By E.M. Vireo

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About EM Vireo
flooding the world with fiction

4 Responses to Drop #46: Hope

  1. MCL says:

    I truly enjoyed this drop, bravo! and had a good laugh with your description “He sports a rather pubic beard on his neck and face, which I guess makes some sense since his mouth distinctly resembles an anus” Priceless 🙂

  2. KK says:

    For me, one of the characteristics of good writing is when words become so graphic that one instantly has a visual connection. LOVE IT! And your never-ending resources of unexpected turns is a real turn-on. Keep on rocking bro!

  3. Laura says:

    Loved it! Was waiting for the twist (and there was more than one) and never disappointing!

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