Writing is an exploration. You start from nothing and learn as you go. ~ E. L. Doctorow

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Foot in Mouth Syndrome

Take 10: A Date Derailed
Here is my response to Writer's Digest's "Exercise Your Pen" prompt from the January 2010 issue.  The guidelines required me to write for ten minutes about a person being abandoned by their date.  I had to start with "No matter what I do..." and choose a number from 1-10 corresponding to an idiom.  I revised my original response.  Enjoy!


No matter what I do, I can’t get a date to pay for dinner. She smiled, cutting a piece of chicken with her fork. Charlie’s face turned so red I thought he would explode.  Her hand reached up to cover her mouth as she hiccuped before swallowing the bite.  I can’t believe he threw his napkin at me then stomped off.  Giggles shook her shoulders as she picked up her wine glass.  Bewildered faces stared back as she eyed the other tables.  I’m sure his little tantrum gave them plenty to gossip about.  The goblet slipped out of her hand, hitting her plate of sweet and sour chicken, then, spilling on the table.  She glanced at the red liquid bleeding into the white fabric, her cheeks getting hotter from embarrassment.  An elderly waitress immediately appeared with a towel. 
“Ms. Jenny, are you alright?”  She signaled the bus boy to hurry over.
Anna waved her hand towards the waitress.  “Oh, Mrs. Lee, I’m fine.  Just a bit clumsy.”
“That young man didn’t leave pleased.”  The bus boy cleared Charlie’s plate and glass away.  
She giggled.  “No, ma’am he didn’t.”
“Another glass of wine?” she asked, picking up the one laying on the table.
“Yes, but let’s go with Cavit pinot grigio this time.  No more red today.”
“Right away.”  Mrs. Lee turned and walked away.
Jenny reached over and grabbed her purse, digging around for her Blackberry. She shook her head, thinking back to the conversation she had with her friend Allie earlier that week.
“Jenny, you’ll really like him. He’s handsome and sweet.  He's a manager at McDade Credit Union.”
            “So?”
“I thought since you worked at a credit union it might break the ice.”
            Break the ice.  Sure if you mean Charlie defending himself against my comment about a high school senior being able to do his job.  She picked at her food as she waited for Allie to pick up. 
“It’s over already?” Allie asked, sighing.
She took a sip of wine.  “I’m not entirely sure what it is about these guys you set me up with.  They have no concept of fun.”
“Fun?  The last time you thought a guy was fun, you were thrown in the back of a police car.”
“They escorted me home.”  Mrs. Lee returned.  “Hang on one sec, Allie.”  She placed the phone against her shoulder, and turned to Mrs. Lee, pointing to the plate.  “Could you wrap this up for me?” 
            She nodded, grabbed the plate and hurried off. 
“So, what did you do this time?”
“I didn’t do anything.  Charlie was too uptight.”
“Another case of FMS?”
“Hey, my foot was no where near my mouth.  I was just being honest.  How was I supposed to know he would be so sensitive?”
“Anna, I understand honesty and insulting are synonymous in your world, but you can’t vocalize everything that pops in your head.”
Anna rolled her eyes.  She looked up to see Mrs. Lee walking towards her with the brown paper bag.  She took another sip of wine while Allie continued to lecture her on proper social skills. 
“Hey, let me call you back.”  She hung up and grabbed her purse again.  She yanked out her credit card and placed it on the tray with the receipt. 
 Waiting for the credit card slips, she glanced around the restaurant again.  Everyone was back to scrapping their forks against the plates of heaping rice and stir-fry.  Couples were leaning closer sharing secrets about their co-workers.  Parents were laughing as their young children attempted to feed themselves with forks as big as their arms.  
Jenny sighed, then gulped down the rest of the wine as the payment tray was dropped off by a bus boy.   She quickly scribbled her signature.  Lifting up her credit card and receipt, she noticed something on the back of it.
A stitch in time saves nine.  Better luck next time.
Love, Mrs. Lee
What does that mean?  Since the wine was starting to swirl around in her head, she shoved the receipt into her wallet, grabbed the fortune cookie and got up to leave.  I should interview these guys.  No more blind dates.  And certainly no more guys Allie knows.  She started to giggle as she pushed the glass door open.   God, it really was funny watching his face turn the color of his hair.     

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