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The Literary Girlfriend: The Bluff, Part 2

August 21, 2013

Old Man and LIterary Girlfriend

If you’re a literary pretender, you run the risk of getting caught, and that can be humiliating.  It had happened to me a couple times, but now Danielle was carrying around Sense and Sensibility and had brought it with her to the football game.  Unfortunately, Kirk’s girlfriend Linda had read Sense and Sensibility and started asking Danielle questions.  It had happened so quickly that I couldn’t intervene or think of a distraction without being obvious.

Danielle took a quick breath.  “I don’t talk about books until I’m finished reading them,” she said, glancing quickly at me.

“How far have you read?” Linda asked.

“Not enough.  I don’t think it sucks, but I haven’t read enough to talk about it.”

“Maybe when you’re done…” and Linda’s voice trailed off.  “What books have you finished?”

Danielle thought about it.  “Animal Farm,” she said.

“What did you think of that?” Linda asked.

I gulped.  Danielle had quizzed me about Animal Farm the first night we were together, but I didn’t remember what I had told her.  I didn’t even know if what I had told her was accurate.  The conditions of our literature discussion that night hadn’t been ideal.  My mind had been on something else.

“It was… political,” Danielle said.  Then she smiled widely and asked, “Have you read Atlas Shrugged?”

Linda rolled her eyes.

“I finished it last week,” Danielle said.

“You’ve read Atlas Shrugged,” Linda said.

“I know who John Galt is,” Danielle announced.  “But right now, I really want to read a trashy romance.”

Danielle rested her hand on my leg while Linda talked about a few books that Danielle might like to read, but I hadn’t heard of any of them.  Danielle (who probably knew less than I did about any book) asked a couple questions and pretended to be interested.  Then she steered the conversation away from books to nails and manicures and the best places to get them and the best gyms to work out in and the best place to get a sports car repaired where the mechanics wouldn’t rip you off.  Even Kirk listened to that part of their conversation.

I was surprised at how Danielle and Linda were getting along.  Linda had barely talked to me during previous outings with Kirk.  I wasn’t sure if she had been intentionally rude in the past, but there had definitely been a distance.  Danielle had gotten her out of that shell almost instantly.  I knew that was part of her job (the job that she didn’t want to tell my friends about), pretending to be interested in people she wasn’t interested in.  Then I wondered, I was pretty sure Danielle liked me, I really hoped that she liked me, but if Danielle was good at making people she wasn’t interested in think that she was interested in them, and if she was that good at pretending…

“You suck!” Kirk yelled next to my ear.

Our home team’s quarterback had just fumbled the ball after a big hit. Luckily, an offensive lineman recovered it, so he’d get another chance.

“That was loud,” Danielle whispered to me.

“Kirk takes his football seriously.”

We talked and watched football for a while, and then I went to get hot dogs and drinks.  Danielle said she didn’t want any food, but I bought two hot dogs just in case, and she ate one.  The home team was losing, and Kirk kept getting mad, which was funny because he really didn’t care.  He just got mad when athletes made stupid mistakes.  The quarterback kept getting hit, and he kept missing his throws.  After a really bad throw on 3rd and long almost got intercepted, Kirk yelled out again, “You suck!”

“Would you please shut up,” Danielle said, half-serious.  “It’s not his fault.”

“He missed an easy throw!” Kirk said.

“He’s getting his ass kicked,” Danielle said.  “His line sucks.”

“He missed an easy throw!”

“You ever get your ass kicked?” Danielle said.  It almost sounded like a threat.

Kirk just stared at her.

“Try throwing a football when you’re getting your ass kicked,” Danielle said.  “See if you can do it.”

“But he…that throw…”

I kept myself from grinning because Kirk rarely got flustered.  I just drank my soda and enjoyed the moment.

Danielle said, “If that line starts protecting him and he still can’t throw, then he sucks.”

“Don’t argue with her about what sucks and what doesn’t,” I said.  “I had to learn the hard way.”  I took another drink.

Kirk leaned back and whistled.  I think he knew he had just been verbally beaten down.  Then he stared at me like he was about to point out a zit on my face.

“Go easy on that,” Kirk said, nodding toward my soda.  “Remember, the communals.”

Ugh, I had forgotten about the communals in the men’s bathrooms.  I could feel my lips tighten as I put my drink down.

“What’s a communal?” Danielle asked.

Kirk pointed at me to explain.

“It’s a long tub that a bunch of guys urinate into at the same time.  I hate them.”

Danielle laughed.  “You have to pee in front of other people?”

“A bunch of other people,” I said.

Kirk said, “He gets stage fright.”

“Shut up,” I said, a hint of desperation in my voice.  He was right, I didn’t like doing that in front of other people, but I didn’t want it mentioned in front of my girlfriend.

“How many guys line up to pee in this tub?” Danielle asked, not picking up on the stage fright thing.

“I don’t know.  Ten?”

“Bullshit,” Danielle said.  “You’re making that up.”

“I wish I was,” I said.

“Ten guys peeing in a tub,” Danielle said.  Her eyes widened and her smile broadened.  “This, I’ve gotta see.”

When Danielle said that she had to see the communal, I knew she was speaking literally.  She didn’t want to hear it described anymore.  She didn’t want to just picture it in her brain, ten guys peeing in a row.  Right then, I knew Danielle was going to go into the men’s bathroom and look at the communal.  She didn’t have to say she was going to do it.  She didn’t have to announce it.  I just knew she was going to do it.  And she was going to do this in front of my friends.

*****

To be continued in… The Literary Girlfriend: Embarrassing Public Behavior.

And to read “The Literary Girlfriend” from the beginning, start here.

4 Comments
  1. Ha! I know a jerk at work who’s always pretending to read the Russian masters. He still has my copy of Crime and Punishment, which if by the chance of Gulag survival he’s actually read, he certainly hasn’t learned from. And, well, yeah, communal peeing, especially at baseball games. And we complain about girls going to the bathroom together! Good reading this.

  2. very good text congratulations,
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  3. I wonder if there is a phone app for bluffing your way through literary conversations? I wouldn’t be surprised. Seems like Danielle is good at maneuvering her way through a conversation.

  4. It caught me and drew me in. I don’t normally read this kind of story, but something about it grabbed me. I haven’t read the previous chapters and I didn’t realize the main character was a guy until the mention of the tub. Nice job. 🙂

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