DIJON • by Christopher Brummet

I’ve never believed in love at first sight, and rightly so as this was hardly the first time I’ve shared the table with her.

I know her white lab-coat displays ‘Debbie’ on an ID card above her left breast. On rainy days like these she wears a bright yellow poncho over it as she chews through her sandwich with a thoughtful grace. I wonder what madness has made me never acknowledge her beauty! She’s here every lunch hour just like I am. Even in the rain this shared picnic table in the park is better than sitting inside all day.

Is it love? Maybe it was the rain in her adorably tangled brown hair shining like diamonds in the struggling sunlight, or the little dab of Dijon mustard on the corner of her mouth that attracted my gaze. More likely it was when her hand brushed against mine as she caught and returned my empty lunch-bag with a smile.

“Windy today, isn’t it?” Debbie asked.


Her smile fades. I must be staring. I force my eyes to leave her inviting, plump lips and return to focus on my pasta, though the hunger I felt only an hour ago for the meal has been replaced by a longing desire for Dijon mustard. She must work in the pharmaceutical lab a floor above mine. Maybe we could share an elevator ride after lunch?

“It’s supposed to be rainy all week,” I announce, trying to make small-talk.

“Yep,” Debbie agrees.

Her voice sounds like finely tuned violins in my eager ears, and again I linger my gaze upon those pouting lips and elsewhere. The shine off of her glasses hides eyes too beautiful to allow uncensored viewing and I can imagine her name-tag resting upon the full, bountiful curve of her breast. I force myself to turn away before I embarrass myself like a teenager seeing a Playboy for the first time.

She finishes lunch. I follow a few short paces behind her. I can’t bear to miss this chance, even just for another syllable of bliss from her tongue! Fate smiles upon us and we arrive at an open elevator door with nobody else in sight.  Debbie glances at me as I hop in and press the button for my floor.

“So you work at Vale Shipping?” she asks politely.

“You’re the most amazing woman I’ve seen in my life,” I say hotly, unable to stop myself.

She looks startled. “Pardon?”

“Debbie,” I say, taking a step towards her, “I think I’ve fallen in love with you.”

Turning beet red, Debbie shakes her head and backs away, holding out her hands for protection. “Mister, I don’t know what you think is going on, but I can assure you that you are not — ”

I take a chance and lunge in for a kiss. She tries to push me away and then hesitates. I feel her shrug and relax against me as if she too has realized my love is pure. To my delight she begins to kiss me back! Oh, Heaven! Her lips against mine at last! Daring further, I let my tongue loose to sample her lips and she rewards me with a little sigh as if it’s been too long since someone has kissed her like that. She tastes like all those impossible to describe moments… like sunshine being born and flying through a spring shower.

My heart races! My chest tightens! I try to breathe in her warmth but realize I can’t breathe. For a moment I don’t mind, as it gives me more time to kiss my beloved Debbie, but soon… it… is… Oh-oh…

I can’t breathe!

Debbie, my poor sweet angel, screams in horror as I fall down and smack my head on the floor of the elevator.


I wake up to see a smiling nurse standing over me with a pen-light and a stethoscope. After reassuring me that I’ll be fine and only had an allergic reaction to an unknown chemical, the nurse ushers in a visitor from outside my room.


Gone is my angel in rain-gear, replaced by a plain, frumpy woman with chubby cheeks and an oily complexion. Her imagined curves are now suddenly draped in homely attire and a stained white lab coat. Her eyes are narrow and squinty behind giant, unflattering glasses.

“I’m really sorry about this,” Debbie says, smelling powerfully of hospital soap as she takes off her coat.

“I hate to ask,” I say quietly, “but what, uh, happened to you? One minute you were… ”


“Yeah,” I reply, surprised that she doesn’t seem offended at the implication she is no longer beautiful.

She blushes slightly. “I had a little spill at the lab this morning, and well, you see, I sometimes forget to wash up before lunch.” My confused look prompts her onward. “I work with pheromones. You know. Chemical sex. Instincts in a bottle.”

“Oh,” I say. “So you knew that’s why I was acting all love-struck?”

“Of course,” Debbie nods.

“So… why didn’t you stop me?”

“Well, it was just a kiss,” Debbie grins shyly. “It was kind of nice.”

Maybe it’s her blush or the smile on her lips, but now I’m seeing portions of the dream girl I imagined earlier. The more I look at her…

“Well, I’ll let you get some rest.”

“All right,” I reply. “Want to do something tomorrow?”

Debbie looks at me with disbelief. “Pardon?”

“Maybe we could get some coffee?” I offer. “Something after work?”

“Oh,” she says soberly. “Well, to be honest, you’re not really my type.”


“Well, for one, you’re too quiet,” Debbie says, giving me a small, pitying smile. “We’ve been eating lunch together for months and you’ve never said a word to me.  You should try opening up more.”

“But — ?”

“Maybe once we’re finished with the lab trials,” Debbie continues, opening the door, “I can get you a discount if you’d like help becoming more social.”


“See you at lunch!” She waves and closes the door behind her.

Husband, father, and slave to the ideas that rampage around in his head, Christopher Brummet is looking to uncage some of those beasts and let them roam free in the Savannah of published works. Comments & Critiques are always welcome, and help litter-train his stories to one day be ferocious man-eaters.

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