No room for dessert

Call and Response to Un-OLWG #168


“It’s his thing,” Linda said.

“What?”

“The ringtone. Disco Duck. He’s…well, a friend, and….Anyway, it’s his thing.” Linda shrugged.

“I’d completely forgotten about that song.”

I said it with a smile, but not to be encouraging. I didn’t want to talk anymore about Disco Duck, her phone, or her friend Chip, who she assigned as her get-out-of-jail-free card. We sat in silence, neither of us knowing how to make our way out of this particular paper bag. So, I apologized, again, for running late.

“Totally OK,” Linda said. “Like I said, I was early because I’d not heard of this place. Wasn’t sure where I was going. I like to plan, you know? Make sure where everything is, and…But…whatever. Anyway, I am sorry about the…phone. They say it’s…anyway, like I say, I like to plan…”

The waiter mercifully arrived with our appetizers. “One arancini with peas and mozzarella, and one bruschetta with white bean, prosciutto and arugula. OK?”

We nodded. Finally, synchronicity.

“More wine?” the waiter asked.

I said yes; she said no. Back to disjointed, awkward moments. We hadn’t even made it through appetizers.

My daughter-in-law’s gentle reprimand echoed in my head and I wish to hell I heeded her warning. Dinner at the Fare and Feed with a woman I met online was now the last thing in the entire world I wanted to be doing. Should have gone for the coffee thing, like everyone said. Should not have even tried, in the first place. Dating really is just for the young, inexperienced and recklessly hopeful.

“No, that’s fine. I’ll pass. Water’s fine.” I said to the waiter. A blatant, and, frankly, dishonest gesture, but at least I’d be called safe at base. What I actually wanted was to be called out. And a Scotch, if I had the balls. Might as well make it a double.

“Well, shall we?” Linda divvied up the appetizers onto two plates.

“Ever been to Italy?” I asked, excited to discover a path out of our little circle of hell.

“Ah, yes. Years ago. You know. Before job, marriage, kids, blah, blah, blah.”

“The land of fat men in Speedos!” I cheerfully quipped. Linda raised her eyebrows. Jesus, was this strike three? I wished for her phone to throw aspersions again with its vibrating Disco Duck. Or, maybe I’d get lucky, in the other sense, and she’d just leave. I wouldn’t consider it rude. I’d be off the hook! I wondered why I hadn’t thought to make an arrangement for someone to call me.

“Cats, is what I remember, actually.”

“Cats? The musical?”

“No. I mean, cats, wandering around. Lots of old tabby cats. Everywhere you went, there were cats.”

“Ah.”


Prompts are: running late; a fat man in a Speedo; an old orange cat

They also say it’s a numbers game

“One for the money, two for the road, three to get ready and go, Tigers, go!”

Therese made a mock stick landing, hands in the air and legs together. Her face beamed with silly pride.

“Of course, I used to be able to do back flips and all that stuff,” she said. “We’d step up on the boy’s knees and they would flip us over, like this…” Therese tried to pantomime how the move worked.

Paul frowned. “I never could do any of that stuff.”

“Well, gymnastics isn’t everyone’s thing.”

“I mean, I wasn’t athletic. I was more of a bookworm. I mean, I didn’t hang with the jocks. Actually, I was one of those kids that got picked on a lot.”

Therese didn’t know what she should say. She was part of the group of kids in school who made kids like Paul miserable.

Guessing the reason for the awkward moment, Paul continued. “Well, you know what they say. Opposites attract.”

“But that’s why we sign up on a web dating site, right?,” Therese laughed, “To avoid meeting stupid…” Therese stopped. Words had a nasty habit of falling out of her mouth before she knew what she was saying.

“Nothing is fail-safe. But, hey,” Paul gulped down the last of his beer, took out his wallet and placed two twenties on the table. He stood and held out his hand. “Anyway, nice to meet you. And Good luck. Meeting someone, I mean.”  Therese stood, but didn’t shake Paul’s hand.

“Mind if we walk out together?” She asked with a nervous laugh.

“ ‘Course not. I’ll walk you to your car.”


This week’s prompts: I’m broken; One for the road; That’s not what I do