THIS IS A WORK OF ORIGINAL FICTION
It will be serialized over the next several days, and the finale will be marked with the traditional…THE END
Charlsie Anderson sat at an outdoor cafe table with her legs modestly crossed, bouncing her right foot. She dangled the ballet flat from her toes, trying to harness the tempest raging within her. The only evidence of the worry and outright stupidity she felt was the surface expression of nerves in her right leg. This was decidedly the most irrational act of her life; showing up to meet a complete stranger, sight unseen, based on a brash and intrusive random phone call. She blamed the need for mystery and narrative in her otherwise routine life. At least she’d have a story to tell. She had no quandary readying herself for a first date, and confidently drove to the coffee shop, ordered, and took her seat in the mid-morning sunshine with conviction. Moments after settling, though, she examined the ridiculousness of the situation, and found its countless illogical flaws.
She resolved to give him until quarter after ten to show up and wow her before packing up to leave. That gave her twenty more minutes of restlessness. She determined not to allow the jitters to become so uncontrolled that she kicked her shoe off into pedestrian retail traffic. Then she would suffer public ridicule on top of the self-imposed kind.
Following last night’s chance contact, she was further floored by the swiftness of receiving his cell phone number. Less than thirty minutes after the conversation from the pay phone, she had new email from Aaron.Silverman45, asking for her number in return. Next in the astounding series was her immediate, compliant reply. Seconds after selecting ‘send’ on her laptop, wishing she could somehow retrieve her message from digital space, the following alert appeared on her phone:
AS: Testing…Charlsie? It’s Aaron 🙂
Her normal proclivity for quiet, humble men was bested by abnormal attraction to this newcomer’s cockiness. Arrogance being a common turn off, her inclination to retreat was stifled by an underlying sweetness to his excessively forward behavior. It was as if he already knew her, and the daring he displayed was almost facetious in nature. She was strangely compelled to answer him.
CA: Successful test. Charlsie 🙂
AS: Care to text?
CA: Why not? It’s already the strangest Friday night I’ve ever spent.
AS: What’s strange about it?
CA: Um…some guy called me up out of nowhere and asked me out. That’s strange.
AS: You agreed to it.
CA: That’s strange too.
AS: Wanna call it off?
CA: No. And THAT’s strange too.
CA: It’s nice you’re happy about it, I guess.
AS: So…did you start drinking coffee in college?
CA: Yep. Became an addict.
AS: LOL What do you usually get?
CA: Vanilla latte. Hot in the cold weather. Iced in hot weather.
AS: Iced vanilla latte tomorrow then?
CA: For sure. 90 degrees they say.
AS: Do you do a triple shot? Soy milk? Extra foam? What’s the whole fancy barista order?
CA: Haha! ‘Tall, skinny, iced vanilla latte.’
AS: Had to have the lingo. I’m not a coffee drinker.
CA: Want to change the meeting place?
AS: Absolutely not. I’m counting on my company to carry the morning.
CA: Great expectations. Hope you’re not disappointed.
The striking identical nature of this exchange to his fruitful phone call from thirteen years past boosted Aaron’s morale.
AS: Are you toothless? Marvin the Martian forehead tattoo? Plastic surgery to make your face look like a great white shark?
CA: Haha! No. But I’m not so great it’s worth going to Starbucks when you hate coffee.
AS: On the contrary, I’m sure you’re more than worth it.
CA: You’re SURE?
AS: Positively certain.
CA: Wow. LOFTY presumptions. You could find me entirely ugly and boring.
AS: I’ll find you lovely and captivating. That’s what you ARE.
CA: You’re scaring me a little.
AS: 😦 Definitely don’t wanna scare you. What’s wrong?
CA: You’re just so…assured about things you CAN’T know.
AS: I guess that’s right. I can’t KNOW. I’m just making educated guesses.
CA: That’s a little relief. I thought you might be…watching me or something.
AS: No. Not a serial killer. I swear. <crosses his heart>
CA: What are you then?
AS: Just Aaron. Like I’ve always been.
CA: Well everyone’s always been themselves, I guess. Existential. Oooooo…
AS: Getting late. Gonna have to go. Need beauty sleep.
CA: You do, huh?
AS: Have to look my best tomorrow morning. Don’t wanna disappoint you.
CA: ‘Are you toothless? Marvin the Martian forehead tattoo? Plastic surgery to make your face look like a great white shark?’ 😛
AS: No. But tomorrow’s important.
CA: It’s just meeting a girl for coffee. 🙂
AS: It’s meeting THE girl for coffee. 🙂
AS: Scary again?
CA: No. REALLY flattering. For no logical reason. Maybe kinda scary. Not ‘bad’ scary, I guess.
AS: Sorry for being illogically flattering and ‘good’ scary…forgive me? 🙂
CA: Apology accepted. 🙂
AS: Goodnight, Charlsie. Can’t wait to see you tomorrow. 🙂
CA: Night. Tomorrow it is. 🙂
AS: Good morning, beautiful. 🙂
CA: This is CHARLSIE ANDERSON.
AS: I *know.* SMH.
CA: Just checking. You have no idea if I’m beautiful or not.
AS: I have an idea.
CA: Scaring me again.
AS: I don’t KNOW. I cannot see you. I have not seen you at any point in recent history.
AS: Scout’s honor.
CA: Were you a boy scout?
AS: No. Sarcasm. Gotta love it.
Aaron thought Charlsie’s question about being a boy scout was acerbic. He felt she would clearly remember that he never dressed in uniform and attended troop meetings as a kid.
She translated his mention of sarcasm as explaining his use of ‘Scout’s honor’ when he hadn’t been a scout, and having nothing to do with any words she’d sent him. They both let their misinterpretations stand without further questioning.
CA: So…you just have an idea that I’m worth all this trouble?
AS: I have a hypothesis.
CA: A hypothesis? Big fancy word. 😉
AS: I read at a ninth grade level and everything. 🙂
CA: So you have a ‘hypothesis’ that I’m attractive?
AS: I’d say it’s more of a probability. To be proved as fact shortly.
CA: I appreciate your compliment of my unproven beauty, but I need to get ready to meet at 10.
AS: I’m looking forward to it. See you soon. 🙂
CA: I suppose you will.