“Would you mind looking after my laptop for a second?”
“Sure.” I said. “Of course! No problem!”
It was a longer response than was necessary.
“I’d love to!” I couldn’t stop. “No sweat!”
It was also a more chipper response than was necessary but, she was also more attractive than was necessary. I had been looking for a way to start a conversation with her from the moment I noticed we both had the same order one time–large cold brew coffee, one sparkling water and a chocolate chip cookie.
Thankfully, I happened to be in a dynamite mood this day. I had just completed a first draft of my short story collection titled, “Poems” (an exemplary subversive title made even more so considering the entire volume was inspired not by poetry but instead by an obscure collection of Femke Diamond films), and while I had always assumed my work spoke to the heavens I had never been able to confirm that assumption until this very moment, when an angel asked me to look after her laptop.
This was the grand culmination of months of patronage and subtle groundwork. Of course, I never had any doubt that the most beautiful woman I had ever laid eyes on was also interested in me. Who wouldn’t be? Dashing devil that I am. A writer of almost certain to come worldwide renown. An important…
“Hey! Wait a minute!”
“Hey! What are you..?”
“Hey! Excuse Me!”
But he was gone. Full sprint. Around the corner. Gone. His black hoodie pulled over his head, her laptop under his arm. Likely off to sell her laptop… Our laptop? No, not yet, play it cool man… Likely off to sell her laptop for a vastly under-negotiated price. Doubtless to finance his heroin addiction. Or his social media startup. Or maybe he was doing meth? Yes. He was doing meth. Addicted to meth, that pathetic idiot. Woe to the world that no longer believes in love!*
The other patrons just sat there, looking on. Cowards. They turned to me. Disappointed. Scolding. As if I was the one who stole our laptop! As if somehow this theft was solely my fault! As if the the theft was not a reflection on our collective failure as communal patrons of a coffee shop! It takes a village to watch a laptop! Fatheads!
My mind began racing. Perhaps there is an explanation for all this? Maybe she needed it repaired. Maybe she was getting it washed? Maybe that was her boyfriend?
Bummer. She has a boyfriend.
Actually, maybe not a bummer. When she returns I can tell her the truth. That her boyfriend came in and said he needed to borrow her laptop. She would of course know that he needed to sell it for drugs. Then she would understand that I, of course, could not say no to the poor guy. Addiction is an unrelenting animal. It tears relationships apart. I would then have the opportunity to ask how his addiction is affecting her while simultaneously boasting about my lack of addiction to anything, save for good conversation, trying new restaurants, and a partner-first commitment to lovemaking. I wouldn’t tell her all that right away of course, I am not an idiot.
“Hey… where’s my laptop?”
She began looking around. Frantic. Panicked. Bewildered. She looked back to me.
“OH MY GOD! Where is my laptop!”
Any shot I had with her was riding on my answer. I could feel the faces of the other patrons in the coffee shop. These idiots. No regard for traditional community values! Staring at me. Judging. Goons.
“Oh, well… This guy… Came in…” I mumbled.
I mumbled! Idiot!
“But, I asked you…”
I know I know. Perhaps we could talk about this over dinner–Say that! Say that!
“You’re an asshole!”
Tears welling up in her eyes. She quickly gathered her things and stormed out. Around the corner. Gone.
I came back every day, hoping to see her. To strike up another conversation. To work on a new short story collection (tentatively titled, “Films”). But, I never saw her again.
I suppose she was able to do her work from home.
*For those who have read “Poems” I apologize for reusing this iconic line which I explicitly stated in the epilogue that I would never use again. Despite opening and closing each story in that book, as well as being liberally spread throughout the prose, I still feel the phrase has the same power as when it first came to me.
The Higgs Weldon is a humor website with funny stories, articles, cartoons, and one liners. It was started by the Los Angeles stand-up comedy community, but takes submissions from everybody. Please read and enjoy our jokes!