Eavesdropper #2

“Let’s do the whole cocktail thing, shall we? Hello! I’m Drake. I’m 36. I’m a scientist and I build things that don’t exist and won’t exist for years. I actually work in the future.” Drake thrust his hand forward in an attempt to look confident. It was at the precise moment his hand accidentally jabbed her breast and he looked more perverse than confident, or worse, clumsy, that he wished he could rewind about seven seconds and have a do-over.

She was taken aback for a tick or two, but recovered nicely. “I’m Cynthia. Cindy. Whichever.”

Her detachment to what someone might call her spoke volumes to Drake. After all, Drake was a name he had given himself after pouring through books and online forums and author’s names. He had carefully considered Chance and Chase and Shane before deciding on Drake. And for someone named William but forever called Willy, the name Drake made him feel instantly strong and in control. Like a man should feel.

Cindy continued, “I’m 28. I have two kids under six. I love being a mother and during…” But, Drake had stopped listening. A mother? Of two kids? Under six? Um, sorry to be so judgmental, but no. Just, no. She probably took two years off to drive around the country like a hippie and then went to only half a year of community college before getting knocked up and stuck at home with babies. Her dreams and aspirations probably include someday knitting an entire outfit from blue yarn and decorating the older kid’s room in a jungle theme. Plus the guy, (or guys!), had obviously left her. What’s up with that? What else was wrong with her?

No, not a good match at all, he was positive. And as Cindy continued to talk, his eyes wandered to the two chairs on the right to see the lady coming to his station next. She looked cute. Pretty, even. And she seemed nice. Just look at the way she gazed at the guy across from her. Like she was really interested and really getting whatever he was saying. And she wore glasses. He couldn’t wait to meet her and hoped, prayed, crossed his fingers, that she would be interested in science or at least be really smart. He needed someone almost as smart as him to be with for the rest of his life.

Drake checked the timer on the table between them. Thirty seconds left. He looked Cindy in the face and realized she had asked him a question. “Oh. Sorry. What was that?” It was a shame she wasn’t smarter. She was one of the prettiest women here. “I just wondered what you were doing at work at the moment. In the future, I mean.” Cindy smiled. “I’m currently working on significantly raising the temperature by forcing deuterium gas under pressure into an evacuated cell containing a sample of palladium dispersed in zirconium oxide, which causes the deuterium to be absorbed by the palladium sample, resulting in a denser deuterium, with deuterium nuclei that are close enough together to fuse! My last test resulted in a temperature increase for almost 50 hours.”

Ding! The timers went off, resounding and echoing around the room, chattering in his ears. He stared at Cindy, unable to speak. He had been so wrong!

Cindy, taking his silence for disinterest, grabbed her purse from her lap and stood up. “Well, nice meeting you, Drake. Good luck with….whatever you’re doing.” And as Drake watched her, mute, she walked to the next station on his left and started talking to a man in an Armani suit. A man named Peirce. A man with manicured hands and shined shoes and undoubtedly a large stock portfolio. A man that was everything Drake wished he himself was. (Peirce? PEIRCE? Why hadn’t he thought of Peirce?)

His attention was suddenly pulled to the woman in front of him. She giggled and brushed her long bangs out of her eyes with her cherry-colored acrylic nails. From this close distance he could see that her glasses were for show. A part of her outfit. “I’m Bitsy.” she giggled. “I’m starting an internet business. I make these really, really adorable doggy sweaters. Everyone loves them and my Aunt Cherise says I’m gunna make a ton of money.”

It was at the precise moment when she asked if he liked karaoke night at the bowling alley and told him she had a glow-in-the-dark bowling ball with the phrase ‘Here’s a bit-O-Bitsy‘ on it that he wished he could rewind about two minutes and have a do-over.

Editor’s note – This is a work of fiction and any resemblance to anyone you know is purely coincidental and kind of cool.

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