Today, thought Dennis O’Connor, would be a marvelous day.
Most Mondays heading to work, a slew of other adjectives — words commonly used by waste management professionals — colored his outlook. But today, dressed in a special brand new blue suit, he felt confident that the day would prove otherwise.
Confident that Zoey Larsson would have no choice but to fall in love with him.
That morning, the elevator’s ding onto the well-lit eleventh floor of his workplace sounded like an ensemble of angelic trumpets to Dennis. So grinning, he stepped out to answer their herald.
Dennis’s mediocre performance as a salesman, formulaic personality as a coworker, and unremarkable features as a face had led his colleagues and superiors to overlook him these last five years. But Dennis had finally saved up enough money and done enough Google searches to conclude that all his everydayness could be replaced with clever braveness if he had this particular suit.
Which he did.
He sat down at his shared cubicle, took in a deep breath of the wonderful moment, and turned on his computer.
It didn’t work.
Not daunted by this inauspicious beginning, he swiveled his chair and asked his coworker Anna for help. She turned, her tired smile brightening for the first time ever when looking at him.
“My computer won’t start,” he said. “Does yours?”
She nodded and walked over, stood beside him, close beside him, and tried pressing the same button — with her own finger mind you — that he had just been pressing. “I don’t know,” she said. “It looks like you’ll have to call tech.” Her hips were very close to him, her belt buckle almost flush against his back.
“All right, well thanks for trying,” he said with a nod.
“Is there… anything else I can help you with?”
“I’m all right,” said Dennis, standing and inhaling her green apple perfume.
“Are you… sure?”
He just grinned, nodded again — he was good at nodding — and grabbed a file from his desk before exiting the cubicle. He needed to find his boss, Mr. Miller, in order to get a signature. In order to test his new suit once more.
“Excuse me, Mr. Miller,” said Dennis, spotting the man near the elevators.
“Yes?” The single word almost sounded like two: the first half, the ‘ye,’ cranky at being bothered, the second half, the ‘s,’ enchanted when seeing Dennis.
“I was wondering if you could sign off on my sales quota.”
Mr. Miller’s left hand awkwardly rose and hung halfway between them, his silver watch gleaming, before he patted Dennis’s shoulder. “You know I can’t do that until the end of the week.”
Dennis leaned forward, flashed a smile, and held the form up in front of him. “I’d really appreciate it.”
The silver pen gripped in Mr. Miller’s other hand lifted almost as if by telekinesis. “Uh, well, since you have the form here…” The scratching of the pen was like another ensemble of angelic trumpets.
After dropping off the file, he went straight for Zoey Larsson’s cubicle before his drunken courage could sober up. “How does coffee sound?” he asked.
The pretty brunette with dark brown eyes turned. “Hmmm?”
“Coffee. With me.”
She tilted her head at him, suddenly intrigued. “But work just started.”
“Then what better time to get coffee?” He never said things like that. Then again, he had never worn this midnight blue suit with a black tie either.
They went to Exspresso, a popular coffee spot about a city block away. Their conversation was light, amiable — which in comparison to their previous conversations, empty, nonexistent, only bolstered his confidence. Along the way, men in glasses openly stared at him, married women reached out to touch him, and a collection of pigeons became infatuated with him, scuttling after them down the block.
And when they sat inside the coffee shop near the front window, Zoey seemed to place her wire chair unusually close to him.
“Something’s different about you today,” she said, blowing into her coffee without looking down.
“I know,” he said, sipping his tea. “I bought a new suit.”
“I saw that.
“Do you like it?”
“Quite a lot.”
“The tailor said it fit me well.”
“It does…” She paused. “But that’s not it.”
“What’s not it?”
“What’s different about you.”
“It’s part of it.”
“There’s something more. You feel… sure of things.”
“That’s just my confidence in the laws of physics.”
She smiled, but before more could be said, there was a pecking at the window.
More than two-dozen pigeons, their heads cocked to the side, all stared at them.
Zoey grinned. “How come you’ve never asked me to coffee before?”
“I never had this suit before.”
“You didn’t need a suit to ask me to coffee.”
“No. But I did if I wanted to ask you to dinner.”
Her dark brown eyes twinkled at him. “That’s only true if you take me to that French restaurant on 44th. Say, tomorrow night, around 6:30.”
After work, Dennis returned to his small apartment happier than he could ever remember. His arms and legs were tired from wearing the new suit all day, but it had been well worth it.
He retrieved some leftover Chinese food from the refrigerator and closed it in the microwave before he began removing his suit. In just his undershirt and boxers, he carefully stuck his jacket and pants to the refrigerator, then cleared the needles and thread from the coffee table so he’d have a place to eat.
He had pricked himself twice sewing all those magnets into the lining of his suit. Throughout his jacket. Throughout his pants. Furthermore, the technician that morning had said Dennis’s computer would need a replacement hard drive due to “inexplicable magnetic exposure.” But no matter, these were small sacrifices for such a marvelous Monday.
Small sacrifices for a date with Zoey Larson.
Jake Teeny graduated from Santa Clara University in June 2012 with a dual degree in psychology and philosophy. Returning to his home of Portland, Oregon, Jake currently scopes out potential graduate programs for his doctorate, while he continues to work on his other career as a writer. His hobbies include magic tricks, basketball, and playing the piano.
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