“Two-Minute Tuesdays” are a series of micro-stories written in
two five minutes or less. Consider them “public practice,” like shooting free throws in the park.
“Have you had a doctor look at that?”
I jerked back to the present. He was asking me a question across the table, and I had stopped paying attention who knows how long ago. I didn’t blame myself. What was his name again? I couldn’t remember—he was Thursday on my calendar.
“Your arm,” he said, pointing at my forearm. “Because it doesn’t look okay.”
I hid it under the table, an old reflex dating from back to middle school. That was the year I began wearing oversized sweatshirts and calling in sick to gym on swim days, the year that I started learning to hide, before I decided that I wanted to hunt instead.
“If you cut, that’s fine. I’ve dated girls who cut. That’s something we can talk about if you want to talk about it.”
Jesus Christ. I didn’t cut, and if I did the last person I’d want to talk about it was this guy, this pasty white lump of a man sitting in front of me with glasses that looked like goggles. He was studying me, me and my scars-that-were-not-razor-cuts, not with empathy or concern but with the detached curiosity of a collector examining his specimens under a microscope. His ridiculous eyewear probably provided about the same level of magnification.
“That’s rather rude to ask about, isn’t it?” I asked, putting bite into my voice. Just who did this twerp think he was?
“Well, if you think so,” he said. “I think it’s good to talk about the ways we’re damaged on a first date. That way we can’t disappoint each other later.”
As opposed to disappointing me now. Thursday was going to be so easy to hook it was barely worth my time. What if I took him now, would I have enough time to go out later and find something more interesting? Maybe if I hurried, I could get down to the strip and catch some sharks looking to score around closing time. That was a long shot, but it had to be better than this. Sometimes the fuckboys downtown could have some interesting game, and putting one of those scumbags into the dumpster in a garbage bag was something of a civic duty. Look at me, so responsible.
It wouldn’t take much to finish him and move on. I bet that Thursday hadn’t gotten laid since drama club was a thing. “You want to get out of here?” I asked.
He cocked his head. “No.”
“Yeah, I know a—what?”
“I’ve dated girls who used offers of sex to deflect from attempts at emotional intimacy. Too expensive for me. Also, I don’t want to catch whatever you have.” Thursday got up from the table and left.
Son of a bitch! Had I lost that much off my game? I pulled my arms back up onto the table. Had it been that long? The pores were dilating, larger than quarters now. They were hungry for blood. I needed a plan B.
And he stuck me with the check, too!