Nicole: The Aftermath

I went down to The Cannery today, to fulfill my duty according to the poll. I was nervous. I really didn’t want to ask Nicole out for a date. That’s not to say I didn’t want a date with her, oh, yes, I do want that. No, it’s the asking that scares the piss out of me. Seriously, I know the answer is a given. Nicole, if you’re out there reading this, you can relax. You always could. There was never any reason to be concerned.

So, anyway, there I was in The Cannery. I got some good writing done, not so much for smallifying the story, which it needs, but I wrote some stuff that lets us watch an important transformation of the main character. Smallifying is what I need, however. Apparently publishers don’t want a first novel that’s too big – it takes too much paper. They don’t want to go to the extra expense until you’ve proven that you sell. But the story keeps growing. Balls, balls, balls.

I was at The Cannery; Nicole was not. I set up at my table in the nearly deserted bar. The bartender, a loud and outgoing woman whose name I am embarrassed not to know, took great care of me. She was telling some of the few other patrons how difficult she was to keep as a girlfriend. “I’m independent,” she said, “I don’t need to be taken care of, I just need to be loved.” My kind of girl. “I piss everyone off after a while,” she added. maybe not my kind of girl after all.

The day was wearing along, and my interim favorite bartender was ruling over the bar. The only others there were dried up old men. Present company included. At least I had a purpose. Eventually my battery was going dead, and happy hour was starting down at the Ale Works. I am a cheap bastard, after all. I asked my kind beerfetcher who was coming on next. “Denise,” she said. “That’s good,” I said, “if it was Nicole I would have to stay and make an ass of myself.”

She nodded. “That’s how it is,” she said. Not a question. Not an impeachment. Just an observation. More than that. It was acceptance. That’s how it is. “I think she’s working tomorrow.” My new best friend checked the list. “No, she’s not working until Friday. You’ll be good then.”

“I’ll be out of town by Friday,” I said. Relief. I will not have to make an ass of myself. Also disappointment. As much as i dreaded living up to the poll, I was also looking forward to it. I was looking forward to taking the chance, however ridiculous that was. However afraid I was. But it’s over now. Finally I have to head back south. I just can’t put it off any longer. Friday’s not so far, but it’s so very, very far.

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