“It’s true,” he told himself, “she could be more beautiful. But then that more beautiful female would no longer be the woman sitting across the table now, the one called Noa-.”
“Noa-,” Pete said, as he noticed their hands almost bump while reaching for a chip, “if our hands touch while grabbing a chip, you know that I’m going to read into that, don’t you?”
If only for a moment, Noa- shook her head and cast her eyes about. She was smitten. She then found the strength to rebuff Pete’s subtle, though ingenious play and said, “Pete, there’s never going to be anything to read into.”
Laughing heartily, Pete soon noticed the jaded, slightly-too-terse, and preferring-a-thousand-yard-stare-to-eye-contact server walking towards the trio’s table, meals in hand.
“That’s what I’m talking about!” George said as piping hot fajitas along with the fixin’s were lowered to him.
Feeling the pressure to finish the complimentary chips and salsa before they were gone for good, Pete snuck in a few last bites before reaching out to receive his chimichanga. “Thank you,” he mumbled, unable to hide that his mouth was full.
Finally, the lady lowered Noa- her plate. Noa- didn’t notice. Like a student pretending to be reading her textbook in her lap, or perhaps just behaving like an adult with an office job, Noa- clearly was attempting to hide her addiction.
“Noa-,” Pete said, smiling. “I can’t believe you. You’re sitting across from two of the most eligible bachelors in,” he hesitated, clearly searching for the proper radius, “in America, and rather than enjoy the company, you’re on your phone. This is what’s wrong with the world.” Turning to George, he knew he had nailed it.
“America, eh?” George asked. “I thought you were going to say Denver, but I can’t argue with America.”
Noa- smiled at the attention, but still couldn’t quite pull herself away from the device.
“My question,” George began, turning towards Pete and filling the conversation’s lapse, “is who could be more eligible?” Upon uttering the inquiry, his countenance reached an uncommon gravity, which led to a rephrasing of the question. George asked again, “Or rather, how could I be more eligible?”
“Yeah,” Pete chuckled, his belief in his hastily developed though now affirmed sentiment strengthening with every passing second, “how exactly are we not the most eligible?”
Opening the door, he simultaneously managed to drop into the seat, press the brake, insert the key into the ignition, and start the engine. “Finally,” he thought, “I’m outta here.” He turned up the Christmas music and began his drive to pick up some dinner.
He made believe that he hadn’t decided where to go, and ran down the list of options–mostly fast food. He knew, though, that he was only craving one thing. His own version of crack-cocaine. Or at least his own version of crack’s most common feature that the planet’s comedians can’t stop talking about.
Turning into the familiar parking lot, he avoided the enormous dip that surrounded the manhole cover. He got out of the car and noticed there were a couple people waiting in line as he pulled open the door to the restaurant.
He overheard the entire conversation between the current customer and the cashier. It was shocking. The lady had ordered a pizza other than pepperoni or cheese. “Wow!” he muttered, shaking his head in disbelief. The rarity of the moment caused the cashier to take a moment to place the order during which he noticed three more customers pile in behind him. For a restaurant bent on having its food hot and ready the growing line created a palpable angst. Finally, one lady near the end of the line couldn’t take it any longer and broke the awkward silence. Gripping her cigarette pack with the familiar three-finger cradle, she nervously packed the tobacco against her left hand with the recognizable staccato “thwack! thwack! thwack!” and said, “Man! This place is hoppin’ t’night!” The others rewarded her benevolence with wide-eyed nods and exhaling.
He smiled. Then he wondered if they knew how much he loved them.
Sitting in class, he found himself amazed how the successful application of the words juxtapose, pejorative and convention made it abundantly clear these people were serious scholars. Try as he might, over the course of a lifetime he never would discover non-academics offering such tidbits of wisdom as, “Ghetto simply meant neighborhood. It only became pejorative in the 20th century.” Or, “I was just thinking about the ridiculous modern conventions which require us to see differences where there aren’t any.” Or, “More than simply two women having coffee together, the author juxtaposes timeless love with unsustainable passions of the flesh.”
These scholars, in their own right, were a group deserving marvel. They believed they would boldly lead humanity to the Utopian future that always sits ripe for the picking, if people would only reach for it.
Returning from a brief break, he happened upon a group of these beings that had surrounded his chair with the never-ending favorite discussion topic of Americans–diet. Quelling his nausea, he sat down and calmed himself with the reminder that the subject usually provided uncommonly hilarious statements, most often centering around rationalizing some form of a stunning lack of discipline. These intellectuals didn’t disappoint. Below is a record of the dialogue.
“Yeah, I tried doin’ the whole cook-everything-for-the-week-on-Sunday-to-try-to-eat-healthy-during-the-week thing. It just didn’t work. I ended up wasting a lot of the food.”
“Me too. I always start the week off strong, but by Wednesday I get bored with the food.”
“I agree. What I didn’t like was having to thaw things.”
More proof that the saying was true–“If it isn’t one thing, it’s another.”
It happened back in the early 2000s. He couldn’t remember the year exactly, but for some reason he remembered seeing a PT Cruiser drive by when she said it. They were eating at a restaurant, him and his woman. She had just spilled some food on her favorite pair of pants. He was not surprised. Hell–by this time detergent companies had specifically developed pen-size on-the-go cleaner in an effort to save relationships. And on this occasion his girlfriend said, “What’s the point of trying to not spill if I have a Tide-stick in my purse? They work wonders!” Unintended consequences as they are, the invention of Tide-sticks resulted in women, his girlfriend included, becoming more daring while eating.
What happened next was unbelievable. Women everywhere just gave up on trying to not spill while eating. At first this was all silly. He would even find himself laughing at all the funny ways women would splink. Splinking–that’s what they called it. Women would intentionally miss their mouth in the most nonsensical situation possible and capture the result on camera. Like planking and duckface before it, the photrend caught on quickly. In the first month, the major social media players actually shutdown for an entire day because of the unexpected traffic. People weren’t laughing for very long though. What no one seemed to notice was that women weren’t eating as much food anymore. Weren’t-eating-as-much-food, quickly became weren’t-eating-enough-food. Sadly, unable to resist the Western-trend, the third world suffered the initial blow. Never had the planet seen such merciless loss of life. Inevitably, all eyes turned upward.
Make no mistake, God was aware of the situation. He just hadn’t exactly prepared for this. Finally, Michael spoke up.
“I have an idea.”
“All these eons, I’ve trusted in your infinite wisdom. Specifically, I tried to never complain that you gave the humans hands, while we only got wings. But with the situation they’ve got themselves into down there, I can’t stand idly by anymore. It’s time God. Give us–your messengers of mercy–hands. With hands we’ll be able to answer their prayers.”
“I don’t think I follow.”
“Here’s how it’ll work. We’ll be waiting and watching for the female humans to take a bite. Then, as the food falls we’ll fly in and reach out, with our new additional appendages, to save the falling food. In that same instant, we’ll return it to the plate and they’ll never know we intervened. After a couple miraculous interventions, they’re sure to catch on. It’s the only way.”
In the next moment Michael and the other heralds were happily dashing around the planet using their new hands to ensure women reached satiation.
He thought enough time had passed, so he finally delivered his joke, “You know hon…I always said it would take an act of God for a woman to eat a meal without spilling.”
He was wrong.