I got the idea when I couldn’t remember her name. It was one of those moments of extreme clarity when unrelated threads come together in a surprising way, revealing a suddenly obvious answer in a flash of genius. A moment of invention and inspiration, a divine gift received from an unknown hand. I wanted to stand up and shout, to completely embrace this moment of transcendence, but this would violate the laws of semi-formal dining and obviously this was the last thing I’d ever want to do.
I think her name was Jenny or Jenna or some variation on that theme. If she had noticed my moment of prescience there was no outward indication, as the soft droning about a human resources career continued. In a bit of serendipity it was that very choice of topic that reminded me of my own highly stimulating employment and led to The Revelation. That was the thing: it had been right in front of my face the entire time. I guess the solution, no matter how obscure, always seems simple once it is revealed.
“Well?” Shit, I was expected to engage in actual human interaction with this delightful collage of legs, breast, lips and so on. Just don’t panic, that was the trick. With enthusiasm from the discovery threatening to explode at any moment into socially awkward elation I needed to play this one close.
“Well, people are just crazy sometimes. There’s nothing to do about it.” She made a non-committal clicking noise before tucking back into pricey, nicely arranged vittles. Kick is up, kick is good.
I settled my gaze on breasts that were about 80% exposed. Yeah, that’s nice. It pulled me back into the moment, at least a little bit. Get some of that blood out of the brain. My own meal, some sort of steak mix, was growing cold, largely uneaten. Let it go, let it go.
She talked some more about something or other. I guess the remains of the night really have blurred down to just a few impressions. I’m almost certain I still got her name wrong at the apartment door, destroying any lingering possibility of canine postures. It didn’t even matter. With the new way, the unexpected invention, the future looked bright for the first time in a long time.
* * * *
I was supposed to be working, but you know how it is. There’s maybe an hour of actual tasks, but it’s always spread out over eight. Client wants this, client wants that, rich old boy needs help using the big boy bathroom or is afraid a dinosaur might get him. In between these crises where they’re losing a billion dollars a second and it’s all up to me to save the day there’s the big empty. Sit behind the desk, wear uncomfortable clothes and look busy. These are the main qualifications for the new world we’re entering.
With a few purposeful key strokes, the vision of the previous evening began to align itself with the physical reality. The spreadsheet format was going to be perfect, that was for sure. If anything this idea was too good, as I found myself getting carried away with the amount of possible data. Keep it under control for now. You can always add more, right? It’s the taking away that’s so fucking hard. I had name fields, occupation fields, maybe a few that would track the progress of the dates. Interests? Personality? I wondered if that was even needed, what with all the similarity. Put it in the “maybe” category for now.
Things were shaping up nicely when a silk-clad form burst through my door. Another emergency. The Patriot Manufacturing Corp.stock was crashing. Apparently their factory in China was moving to Bangladesh or Bora Bota or something and investors were in a lather over it. It wasn’t going to lose any real value, probably come out ahead. Time to call the client, give assurances, burp him and change him. The project would have to wait.
* * * *
Real progress! I had three dates with three different women last week and had no problem keeping track of all those little details like names and so on. I was actually surprised at just how easy it was, as if a small corner of my mind where the inner critic dwells still doubts the miracle, even as I’m striding over the water. That little voice of doubt has fallen silent now and for good reason.
It’s so easy. I just review the spreadsheet for an hour or so at the office before each night out. To an untrained eye it even looks like I’m actually doing something from the job description. The way the data is organized, it doesn’t even seem like effort to process it. Then, like magic, it’s ready at critical moments later on. I remember that she loves the little brown people or isn’t religious but very spiritual or whatever the exact bullshit is. You get the idea.
I was tossing these thoughts playfully back and forth on the train home when I saw the meltdown. Real scary stuff, oh yes. It’s all about a girl, of course. There’s this ice bitch that always seems to be on the same car with me when I’m heading home. You know the type, real pretty, nose either in the air or buried in a book, right in that sweet spot of life we all think is going to last forever. I tried to talk to her once, months ago, ask about the book. Yeah, I know. “What are you reading? Looks interesting,” just brutal. She didn’t even answer. Kind of turned her body to face away without actually leaving the seat. I flew solo that night.
Anyway, this other guy decided he’d try to solve this one piece puzzle. I missed the first part, because I was deep in the self-satisfied waking slumber, but the wailing exploding out of this guy brought me back quick. He was a college-type, all scruffy face and well-worn clothes, basically a bum but with still something to hope for and maybe slightly less fucked-up. He was getting loud. “You can at least talk to me! My mom just died last week! You fucking bitch! Bitch!”
That little transcript probably isn’t entirely accurate, you know poetic license and fuzzy memory and all. It’s probably not too far off. He kept yelling about female dogs and dead mothers, getting louder and louder. She just sat there like the rock of Gibraltar or something, maybe trying to chameleon into the seat, who knows. Eventually he just wore out from hitting all those high notes and got off at the next stop.
I guess I had a fair amount of sympathy. There but for the grace of and shit like that. I mean, he was just trying to “man up” like the television is always saying. Maybe take her out for milkshakes or ice skating but none of that will happen when no one is willing to recognize your humanity or even the fact that you’re made of matter and displacing part of the atmosphere. Then you’ll graduate and go nowhere and if you thought you were unattractive to the fairer sex now just wait until you’re a balding, impotent, under-employed forty year-old that spends every morning with a gun in his mouth and every night passed out drunk on the cheap stuff.
Luckily for me, I’d cracked the code. Lied my way into a decent bit of employment, put this foul-smelling foam on my melon twice a day to keep the crowning glory and pop little pills with letters on them so that blood will enter the third leg. And don’t forget the spreadsheets. I even felt a rush of inspiration, right there amongst the dregs and lost, the damned and forgotten. I popped out that lap top and got down on it.
Well-washed hands flashed over the keypad, hammering out truth to power. “Bus Girl (name unknown). Likes: Reading, Being Left Alone. Dislikes: Being Screamed At, Being Talked to in Any Way.” Not bad, not bad at all. The motherless screamer would be avenged. By hook or by crook, I’m going to fuck that bitch.
And many others! Maybe even find a wife before nature really finishes me off. House and kids, fence and pies, all through the miracle of the age. Satisfied, I turned off the laptop and watched the city lights for awhile.
* * * *
The second and concluding portion will be posted next week Wednesday. My First novel "The Foolchild Invention is currently available.