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FICTION on the WEB short stories by Charlie Fish

The Encounter
by Gary Beck

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Tim was just opening the door to speed the unwanted guest on his way, when Raimond turned abruptly.

"I would like you two to have dinner with me next week. Is Tuesday good?"

"Fine, Raimond," Tim answered. "That's very nice of you."

"It's nothing. I like you both very much. I will make you a nice dinner."

"Thanks again, Raimond. We'll see you Tuesday."

"Good night, Tim. And you, adorable girl, may I kiss your hand? You don't mind, Tim?"

"No, no. Not at all," he replied, struggling to remain patient.

"Goodnight then, Marian."

"Goodnight, Raimond... What time shall we come?"

"Seven. Come at seven. Until then, au revoir."

"Goodnight," she said again.

Once Raimond finally left, Tim turned to her. "Jesus, Marian, I thought that creep would never close the door. My jaw hurts from all that smiling and polite crap."

"Tim! What if he came back for some reason and heard you? You know how thin the door is."

"Then I would get up, bow, say enchanté, monsieur, and look at him with a sardonic, quizzical expression."

"Oh, you're terrible. You make fun of everyone we meet."

"Well you gotta admit that this guy's a real character."

"I think he's cute."

"Cute! Bless my backside, cute. Now would you care to tell me how you managed to acquire this one?"

"Do you always have to be so sarcastic?"

"Well, when you come home with some old Frenchman, full of monkey glands, simpering over you like an absolute ass, do you expect me to treat him like Anatole France?"

"He's just a nice old man who helped me. There's no reason for you to get jealous and carry on this way."

"Jealous? Of that worn-out old billy-goat? You really amuse me sometimes. Did you ever stop to think that I may be tired of being pleasant to all the strays you bring home? If just once you'd drag home someone with a trace of intelligence or sincerity, or even an honest, unpretentious jerk. But you always collect these complete idiots, from sixteen to sixty, who think that because you act friendly they're going to get laid."

"I don't know why you always pick on me. You'd think I was doing something wrong all the time," she sniffed.

"Maybe if you slept with all the weirdos you bring home for me to meet, you'd start to learn something about people. All these guys want to do is get into your pants. After they talk to you for a while that's what they think is going to happen. Shit. I can just hear what goes on in their heads: 'I don't know how it happened, but this girl really believes what I'm telling her. Her husband can't be too bright. It should be pretty easy to get him out of the way and get her on her back'."

"Tim Brandon, you're horrible and vulgar."

"At least when I want to get into your pants, I don't say: 'Look at me, I'm so intelligent, so clever, so brilliant, let's fuck'."

"Oh, Tim. You know that I don't believe everything they tell me."

"Well let's not go into that. You started to tell me how you met this one?"

"You're not going to make fun of me?"

"I'll be as solemn as a hippopotamus."


"Alright, alright. Tell me."

"Well I was carrying my new vacuum cleaner from the store and it was pretty heavy, but I wasn't having too much trouble until I got out of the subway. Then it started getting heavier, and I had a hard time getting to the bus. This man was standing at the bus stop and when he saw me struggling, he came to my assistance. He was very polite and insisted on getting off at my stop and helping me home. I asked him to come upstairs and have a drink, and he asked: 'Wouldn't your husband mind?' I said no, but he still didn't want to come upstairs. But I insisted, so he finally came."

"Alright. It was very nice of him to help you, and it was very courteous of you to invite him up for a drink, but couldn't you see that he was boring me to death? I mean, he sat there babbling to us for three hours."

"Oh, Tim. Couldn't you see how lonely he was?"

"Lonely! I'm working five days a week and going to school five nights a week, and on the weekends I have to study. Maybe I'm lonely and would like to spend a few hours with my wife, without these crazy characters that you always seem to attract."

"Timmy, are you feeling lonely? Do you want your little girl to pay attention to you? Is my big boy feeling neglected?"

"If you start that baby talk, I swear I'll punch you right in the eye."

"But, Timmy..."

"Oh, come here, you little loon."

"That's it, Timmy. Put your arms around me, instead of yelling at me."

"You always feel so soft..."

"I love when you hold me, Timmy..."

"I'm not one of your waifs, but I'd like to get into your pants. Do you think it can be arranged?"

"If you carry me to the bed."


"I love you so much, Timmy."

"I love you, baby."

"Hurry, Timmy. Hurry."

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