”Yeah, he asked me out. Okay, I guess. Nothing special. Well, ya never know, one of ’em’s gotta be Prince Charming, right?
“Okay, so he shows up with the whole 70’s package — roses, chocolates, Aqua Velva. Like drowned in Aqua Velva. Oh, and a gold chain. I mean, really. And his voice is lower than on the phone. ‘Hi Gorgeous,’ he says. Who the hell says gorgeous any more? Better than getting my name wrong like that other guy I guess, but still.
“So we get in his pickup — he had washed it so that was a plus — and he had one of those hula girls on the dash and a lemon fir tree thingy hanging from the mirror. Well, that and the Aqua Velva about bowled me over, Francine. I opened the window, but then I got cold, and he said, ‘Slide over here, Gorgeous. I’ll warm you up.’ Gawd.
“So, yeah, it was for dinner. Panda Express. Said Chinese was his favorite, and he didn’t drink anymore since his second DUI.
“Sweet and sour pork. Yeah, it was okay. Like him, about a 6. He was pretty good with the chopsticks. Like he didn’t ask for a fork or anything, but all he talked about was sports and his ex.
“So on the way back to my place I did slide over ‘cause, well, the car still reeked of lemon and Aqua Velva, and it was giving me a headache so I opened the window again. He put his arm around me, and of course then he had to shift left-handed. Not as jerky as some guys when they do that, but awkward, ya know? I asked him if he wanted his hand back, and he said he’d manage. I thought that was nice.
“Yeah, I asked him in. I mean it was only 8:30, for God’s sake. How long does it take to eat at Panda Express? We broke out the chocolates, and they were pretty good. Whitmans, not Godiva, but okay. And I had some wine and he had 7-up — on account of the DUIs — and we watched wrestling which he said was absolutely legit even though I pointed out that if a guy was really thrown like that he wouldn’t be getting up and going back at it.
“Well, yeah, he made a pass. Jeez, Francine, I’d have felt bad if he hadn’t, ya know?
“No, I did not! You know I almost never do on a first date.
“Well, yeah. Next Saturday. He said there’s pro wrestling down at the armory.”
Sarah Russell is in metaphor rehab after spending a career writing and (shudder) editing academic prose. She can be found trying to describe clouds in new and profound ways whilst chewing her pencils to stubs.
This story is sponsored by
Clarion West Writers Workshop — Apply now through March 1 for 2014’s six-week workshop with Paul Park, Kij Johnson, Ian McDonald, Hiromi Goto, Charlie Jane Anders, and John Crowley, June 22 – August 1 in Seattle.