SHE made him wait,
ten minutes the first time,
seven minutes this time. To see if he’d leave or stay. To see if he’d be pissed
off or annoyed. For the reaction.
HE sat in his car texting.
THEY met online in
one of those ‘meat market’ chat rooms. While
everyone else was talking trash and trying to out-slut each other, she observed.
He made the first move. His user id: SilentRunning.
forty to her thirty. He’s not married.
know if that meant
he’s divorced, a widow or playing around.
when he drives, tugging
on his shoulder seat belt, messing with the rear view and electric side
mirrors. No conversation or music. Welcomed silence.
THEY go to hotels.
The first time to
the swanky Hilton in Santa Barbara. She figured he was trying to impress
her. This time to Carpentaria at one of
those funky bungalows off the 101. Both times he paid cash.
in his car, a gray Ford
Taurus sedan. Immaculate, no gum wrappers or cigarette butts in the ashtray, no
dust or fingerprints.
the door to the room––musty,
SHE made a beeline to the bathroom.
She peed, inserted her diaphragm, and popped a Valium. When she opened the
door, he was in bed, naked under the sheets outfitted in a bland beige condom.
Hairy. Thick and short.
SHE got undressed.
stared, his face flushed.
put her sweater, slacks, white bra and pink panties, knee-hi suntan nylons in
neat piles on the sofa––saggy
gold plaid with stains. His clothes were arranged on a chair. His keys, cell
phone, and wallet on a white handkerchief spread out on the seat.
HE doesn’t know foreplay; most men don’t. No kissing,
touching or talking. On the third try, he was in. Eyes shut, grimacing, his
nose hairs whistled.
HER mind wandered.
Did she feed her
cat Othello? Email the landlord about the water beneath the water heater? She
compared the rooms. Plush burgundy carpet in SB. Tired orange shag in Carp.
Both had King-sized beds. Fancy drapes that matched the bedspread in SB. Dirty
mini blinds, sweaty windows in this one. She could hear the dripping faucet in
the lime-colored bathroom. Someone
next door was watching TV: news, sports, commercials, a movie with gunshots and
if they could hear
them. The springs sang; the headboard thumped the wall.
HE went to the bathroom to dispose
his condom and got dressed.
SHE cleaned up with Kleenex, put her
clothes back on, and made the bed.
THEY ate afterwards.
This time, Pepperoni and Sausage
pizza at Giovanni’s on Carp’s main drag. Last time, breakfast
at Sambo’s on Cabrillo in
HE talked about his
job, sales manager.
doesn’t remember for whom.
in charge. Goes to work
when he wants.
she’s one of his
her back to her apartment. No hug or kiss. He told her ‘have a nice
a shower, fed Othello,
emailed her landlord about water beneath the water heater, and then went to
work, the three to midnight shift at an all-night diner. When she came home,
she showered, brushed her teeth, flossed, then logged into the chat room.
chatted and made another
date. Next Tuesday, 9:00 a.m., Malibu.
Diana Dominguez @firstname.lastname@example.org.
lives in Ventura, CA. Born and raised in Bliss, not the real name, but it
sounds better than the original name. She likes saying, “I was born in Bliss.” She’s
weird that way. She’s written one unpublished mystery novel and is working on
the second one. She was a debt collector in another life.