This is a short story I wrote last year. Enjoy!
I begin to wind down as the conscious, now fully recharged, starts to regain control of Ed as the sun hits our eyes through the cheap curtains. I relax in the back of Ed’s mind after a hard night of creating dreams as Ed throws off the dark comforter I bought to hide dirt so I could wash it less often, and he puts on the slippers he didn't need but I bought because it reminded me of something grown ups wear. He gets up from the cheap bed I bought to make us look modern and gets off the mattress that isn't as comfortable as the infomercial said it was. I figured it was comfortable since you can apparently jump up and down on it without spilling a glass of wine. Alcohol makes me do weird things sometimes so I thought, what the hell?
Next, we walk down the hall to the kitchen. Ed makes a cup of coffee with the coffee maker that I bought on sale, but he tells people that he purchased full price so they think he doesn’t care about money. The coffee tastes acceptable, even though we really don’t like coffee or feel tired. He does it because I know normal people drink it. “Still cheaper than energy drinks,” I tell him.
Next, we go to the driveway and pick up the paper that I read to appear sophisticated and walk back inside to sit down at the table. He flips to the comics while I scan headlines so that I can respond to people at work when they ask about the news stories he pretends to care about so that we appear political and educated. I gotta’ say, “Marmaduke” is hilarious.
We walk upstairs and start to get ready for our lazy Saturday. First we go to the bathroom and brush our teeth like we do every day at least twice a day. I tell him that we don't have time to floss this morning, which is the same excuse I give him every morning because flossing is a pain in the ass, and I don’t really believe what the dentist says. We walk into our bedroom to dress. I put on jeans, a witty t-shirt, and a pullover jacket that makes us look fashionable yet rebellious. Ed’s mother bought it for us last Christmas, but he tells people that we purchased the ensemble so they can acknowledge our superior fashion sense and respect us.
We walk outside to the car I purchased in May that is too expensive for our budget, but I sacrificed and paid for anyways so that others see us as successful. As the engine turns on we browse radio stations until I find a song that makes us appear young and hip. We turn up the volume, roll down the windows, and head out on an array of errands that have to be done today because I procrastinated.
We go to the grocery store to pick up some food. We head to Jimmy’s Grocery on 3rd Street because I like to support small businesses and the prices are reasonable although he’ll tell people that he shops at Whole Foods to appear trendy and healthy. We go to the produce section to get some things we need tonight for our date with that cute boring girl from the office next to ours. I swear, if he doesn’t get laid tonight I’m never calling her for another date. He picks up vegetables for a salad recipe I saw online a few months ago. Awhile ago I read in a science article that organic produce is no healthier for you than cheaper non-organic produce, so I tend to split the difference with him by saving money buying regular produce here, while he does his part of keeping the lie straight to his health obsessed friends about buying local and organic.
After gathering all the items we need, we head to the front of the store to check out. He looks behind us and we see a pretty twenty something year old girl who looks like one day she’ll be married to a doctor or a lawyer. We’ll never be that. She’ll probably live in an acceptable gated community in the suburbs, in a larger than needed house that has quirky frames with family photos of exotic travels which will spark conversations at dinner parties she hosts, where she always ends the story with “We’re just so blessed.” I start to see that there is no way this relationship could work. I hate the suburbs.
“Dude, she’s out of your league,” I tell him. “Just say ‘hi’ timidly and turn to the frumpy looking cashier that probably wonders what went wrong in her life, and doesn’t realize it’s from having too many kids at a young age.”
Ed says “Hi” timidly, and turns around like a team player. As he tries to rationalize and calls himself stupid, I let him know that he made the right decision and that there are plenty of fish in the sea. That cliche always works on him.
Next, we head to the fancy overpriced barber shop so that we can get a haircut for tonight. The hairstylist who is too pretty to have a job, has wild trendy hair, and asks how we want our hair cut. I thought we should have gotten something bold and stylish so we can look more confident, but he predictably gets the usual short messy look because he’s afraid of change and afraid he won’t look professional to his co workers. No wonder why we never get laid.
“I got so drunk last night,” the hairdresser reveals. Great, she’s an alcoholic. I decide to not tell him because we really need a confidence boost right now since we’re kind of in a slump.
“Tell her you’re going out with some buddies tomorrow, and she should come too,” I tell him. He starts to tense up and thinks about the possible ramifications, and I decide to ignore it and hope for the best. He doesn’t do anything. We’re such big pussies.
We go home and for some reason he decides to get ready for the date. Really Ed?
“Let’s take a nap. I’m tired,” I tell him.
Ed yawns suddenly and I know I’ve won. “I’ll just watch the game for a bit,” he says while turning on the television that cost too much, but I bought because I knew it’d impress the guys. Football is on. Good. He pretends to like football more than we really do. Mostly we only like watching LSU games since that’s where we went to college, and agree that we don’t give two shits about the teams out of our conference. It’s a USC versus Oregon game. Sweet! Nap time...
He wakes up again in the middle of this awesome dream I created where he was a Superbowl Champion and the MVP of the game but the fucking phone rang! I mean sure there was some background noise inspiring the dream, but I was selling the shit out of being a Superbowl champ. I can tell even he’s disappointed as he wakes up.
“Hello?” he asks.
“Dude! Did you just see that touchdown?!” his friend screams into the phone. I hate this guy, but he gets us into all the hottest clubs so I let Ed answer the call.
“Yeah,” Ed lies. I can’t believe this! Bad enough I have no real information to help you out Ed.
Luckily Ed figures out how to stay vague. Good save Ed. MVP of the conversation.
After the friend with too many connections to not be friends with hangs up, we look down at the phone and see a missed text message. It’s from the cute annoying girl we’re supposed to cook dinner for. Shit it’s 6:30 at night!
“hey. i forgot 2 tell u that my cuz is in town. is it kewl if we resched? sorry,” it reads. What the fuck has happened to the English language? Are we the only person on the planet that spells out complete sentences that make sense anymore?
“No problem. Maybe next week?” he texts back.
“def l8r. THANKS!!!” she replies. So no capitalization unless it’s all capitals?
“How have I not been able to score with her?” he says. Finally, we’re on the same page. I’ll have to tell him not to text her back when he’s feeling lonely.
We sit watching random T.V. shows that remind me of our childhood until we receive a text from the friend who always helped us out when we were in trouble, or drunk, or both.
“Come down to the Tanker down on Main Street! Mad bitchz man!” it says. Because of the message I’m willing to ignore the sudden breach of grammar. I mean, bitchz!
“Alright man. Be there in 30,” we reply.
We get off the couch that sinks because we’ve owned it too long, but still enjoy because it sinks just right. “It would take forever to break in another couch like that,” I told him once at a bargain furniture store that advertised a price for a couch that we could actually afford.
We walk into the closet and I choose an outfit that says we’re successful and worth being with. I make him spend an extra thirty seconds brushing his teeth and even convince him to mouthwash before heading out to Main Street.
When we get to the bar, I look anxiously to find someone we might know and then see the friend that always used to help us out. Wow! It looks like he’s lost a bunch of weight. We’ll have to tell him that in private so that we don’t accidentally build him up causing Mr. Helpful to get laid instead of us.
We chat casually for a while before I decide that we need to go to the bar to get a drink that says that we’re sophisticated, but traditional and simple. I order a Gin and Tonic as he starts to look around the bar for single women. We spot a gorgeous girl with a complicated pink drink which means she will probably turn anyone without a BMW or Mercedes Benz down. As we continue to look, I spot a cute girl that looks like she is cute enough to date, but down to earth because she has a domestic beer that’s rated for girls far below her cuteness level. We make a move.
“Hey,” Ed says.
“Hay is for horses,” she replies. She starts to laugh and hits our shoulder. “Sorry, I just have a love for stupid jokes.” I wasn’t expecting that.
“Fuck man, make a move,” I tell him.
“How about cheesy pick up lines?” he retorts. Uh-oh I think. I freeze.
“Sure!” she says.
“Is your dad a thief?” he says and then pauses.
“Nooooo?” she asks with a look of anticipation.
“Fucking go for it!” I tell him.
“Because I can swear he stole some stars from the sky and put them in your eyes,” he says.
She laughs hysterically like it was the funniest thing anyone had ever told her.
“That is so corny. I love it!” she says. We’re in!
He starts to talk and she says that she’s an actress which means that she waits tables with the hope that one day she might actually get to say that she’s an actress without the stigma of another job. He smiles politely and I throw in jokes when they are appropriate and keep it light the way we like it. We have a few drinks and I sit back and let him be himself.
Finally the conversation comes to an end. “It was great meeting you,” she says. “Here’s my number. Call me and we can try and get the stars out of my eyes.” What an awful joke, but I think it’s cute for some reason. She writes down her number on a bar napkin, then kisses it leaving lipstick like they do in the silly romantic comedies I usually hate. I like it this time for some reason. What’s wrong with us?
He closes out the tab and we catch up with the friend who lost weight to tell him that we’re heading home. Ed tells him that we have to get up early tomorrow, but really I just want to go home because Ed’s had a few and starting to feel tired.
On the way home I start to imagine what we can do for the first date with the actress. Before I know it we’re home. Damn, that seemed faster than usual to me.
We get into our flannel pajamas and undershirt that we would wear everyday if it were an acceptable thing to do in a civilized society, brush our teeth, and get under the dark covers like we do almost every night. “Goodnight Ed! Sweet dreams!” I tell him as he starts to close his eyes. It’s been a good day for both of us. Maybe I’ll have a fun dream for him to remember when he wakes up tomorrow. Maybe a mystery where he has to find the stars that have been taken from the actress’s eyes.