He offered me coffee and I took it only because he had been going on and on about the fine Nicaraguan beans he uses, the ones he special orders on line. I really just wanted to pick up the jumper cables he had borrowed last week. When he spoke he kept sliding his hand up his shirt and rubbing his belly. I noticed his stomach, how could I not? It was round and protruding (even though he was skinny) like someone with distressed bowels.
As soon as I said yes, please, he spun on his be-socked foot and headed to the kitchen.
I was still standing in the hallway with my coat on.
Take a seat in the living room, he yelled happily.
The living room had a leather couch next to a half-dead palm, a white furry rug and a flat screen TV the size of a ping-pong table. It was hooked up to video game paraphernalia, including a headset and some peculiar sort of helmet. Open cases littered the floor: Tour of Duty, Grand Theft Auto, Halo. I eased myself into a chair thinking if I was a twelve-year-old boy I probably would have ejaculated by now.
Cream and sugar?, he sang from the other room.
I didn’t have the heart to take off my coat. In fact, I had the heart once but it was shot down with the realization that this guy was making a move and I hadn’t already hightailed it out of there. What’s wrong with me? Why do I always attract creepy guys with bad breath. Immature, creepy guys with bad breath. Am I just the female mirror image?
I actually have to go, I called out over my shoulder. Soon.
Hey no prob, I’ll just give you your cup of joe and we’ll get you out of here.
I imagined a conveyor belt out the back window, like a slide from a plane after it’s miraculously survived a crash by landing in the Atlantic. And is there a more annoying phrase than cup of joe? Home skillet? Back at ya? Why do people talk like that? It’s clever and desperate and just plain un-natural. What happened to simplicity? Grace? Everyone’s got to be laid back and cool, hey baby don’t sweat it, no prob, it’s all good.
Here’s the fine blend.
He stood behind me holding two mugs. I hadn’t heard him because of the socks.
I took a sip and literally, I swear this has never before happened with coffee, had to spit it back into my cup. It was swamp water. With cinnamon.
Mmm, I nodded.
Sorry about that.
We were completely quiet for 30 seconds.If I had openly farted it could not have been more awkward. And then I said: I didn’t realize it was already 4.
I have to pick up my daughter at 4:30.
Oh right ok, hey no probs, let me get you the cables . I’ll be right back.
I turned and poured half the cup into the plant next to the couch, and walked into the hallway.
I noticed a single shoe laying on its side with a hole in the sole the size of a quarter. I put my coffee mug on the entry way table.
He walked towards me holding his arm out in front of him. Here ya go. All good.
Thanks and thanks for the coffee, I said, looking back into the living room where steam was still rising from the plant.