My date, a human female, showed up. "Oh, my roommate is reading that right now," she chirped. "She's about halfway through!"
I paused for a halfway-second, thunderstruck by the coincidence. Then I realized.
"Oh, no, I think your roommate is reading Room, an earnest melodrama about a mom and her bratty kid...."
"Oh! I've never heard of it."
"Don't worry, you will. You will."
"Anyway, how's your sex life? I mean, do you want to order the pate?"
My date's name was Lisa, and she was originally from Palmdale, some made-up place in California. She was new to Colorado, working as a vet tech at a 24/7 clinic in Wheat Ridge.
"Hey, you ever have to put puppies to sleep?" I said, putting on the charm le grande max.
"Or strangle a hamster? Heh heh. I can see it now. You leading the hamster to the gallows and fitting that tiny noose over its neck and a priest there to read from the Hamster Bible. Ha ha."
As the evening advanced toward the gallows, Lisa told me about a former boyfriend and how she surprised him for his birthday by arranging a foursome. Lisa held up her phone and showed me a picture of her with her two friends. The celebration started off sexy, but then one of the girls got extremely drunk and broke a wine bottle and the boyfriend hit her and she ended up in a hospital down on Guerrero Street. Which was weird, since foursome is that most magical of all mathematical groupings.
"So do you hear from your ex anymore?"
"Yes," Lisa said with a sigh. "He's a jerk. He sent me a pic of himself at the inauguration with a Keep America Great cap on."
"Mm! Sounds like a keeper."
"So, you're a writer?"
"Yes, I'm working on the Great Armenian Novel. It's hard. No one told me that I would need to learn Armenian first! But I have a story with the stakes high and a ticking clock."
The moment prolonged itself. Heavy silence.
Finally, I said, "I feel like I'm sitting on an atomic bomb waiting for it to go off!"
"Your views are so different from mine."
The date ended in an orgy of obscure, irritating allusion. I walked Lisa to her car and she hinted that maybe we could see each other again? I frowned. I wasn't sure yet. I was going to be very busy...
Okay, everyone, leave your stupid comments in your pocket!!