What is the best pickup line you know?
“You’re not alone you know.” Those were the first words she spoke to him. He was certain they were meant for him, and just as certain she wasn’t just talking about the crowd in the bar.
“Of course he isn’t,” the saucy brunette on his arm proclaimed with an obscene gesture. “Are you blind?”
The young woman at the corner of the bar stared him down over her glass. He thought he smelled the botanicals of a top shelf gin. “My eyes work just fine, princess,” she said coolly, swirling the ice with a neatly manicured finger, a smirk tugging at the corner of her lips.
The girl at his side squawked in indignation. Midge resisted an overpowering urge to snicker. “Well then you can see he’s already having a good time, so why don’t you go vulture someone else?”
She laughed into her glass, her tawny hair falling over one shoulder before she looked back up at him. Her eyes were striking – one blue, one gray – and they seemed to shift as he stared at them. She turned her sharpened gaze to the brunette. “I’m not the one you should be worried about.” She extended one finger from her glass and gestured to the other end of the bar. “He’s been eyeing that blonde over there all night.”
His grin fell right off his face. It hadn’t been all night, but he was sure he had been subtle. The blonde girl was with a bunch of friends and he was pretty sure he could talk this babe – Cindy? Carly? – into inviting her over to chat with them. He became very aware of her eyes on him then. “What is she talking about?”
He decided not to answer that. “You looking to start a fight, lady?” He tried not to raise his voice over the din of the other patrons.
Her grin was full of hidden things, like she shared the same secret he hid. She swallowed the last of her drink and dropped some credits on the bar top. She gave him a small shake of her head, chuckling as she stood to leave.
A fierce grip tightened on his arm. “Mitchell Bennett, if you even think about taking one step after her before answering me, I will gut you.”
He’d had high hopes his night would end with him between two beautiful women. This was not quite how he had pictured it. In his mind there were fewer clothes involved. “Candy, darlin’,” he sighed, “I don’t know what she’s-“ He shut his mouth as she threw her drink in his face. Conversations halted as some startled gasps echoed around the room.
Her face was scarlet, her eyes flashing dangerously. “It’s Sydney,” she growled. “And you won’t be saying it later.” She slammed her own credits down and stormed out of the establishment.
The bartender failed to hide his amusement as he offered Midge a rag to dry his face. Conversations resumed as the tension dissipated. The blonde and her friends had moved off to a table near the back of the bar. Not his night at all. He sighed. “What a waste of good whiskey,” he muttered.
“Amen to that,” the man behind the counter chuckled, collecting the payments that had been left behind by the two women.
Midge looked back to the corner of the bar where the mysterious young woman had interrupted his evening. She had slipped out while Sydney confronted him. He shook his head. How had she known? “Hey Tony, do you know who that other chick was?”
The portly bartender shook his head. “Never seen her before.” He grinned. “She sure had your number though.”
Midge grunted a humorless laugh. “Well I know when to admit defeat.” He threw back the last of his scotch and slid a handful of credits across the bar for the keeper.
Tony raised an eyebrow at the amount. “Midge, you know I appreciate your patronage, but this is a bit much even for you.” He collected them just the same.
Midge tipped his head towards the tables at the back where the blonde and her friends had taken up residence. “Their next round is on me. An apology for causing a scene. And if Sydney,” – why in the world had he thought her name was Candy? – “comes back, give her one on me too.” He thought that over for a moment, then added, “Probably best not to say it’s on me though.”
“You are a gentleman scoundrel,” Tony chuckled, tossing the credits into the jar he kept under the counter for his regulars to pay ahead. Midge gave him a two-fingered salute as he turned towards the door. Tony called out to him before he got too far, though. “She’s out of your league, Midge.”
Midge stopped and glanced back at him with a mischievous grin. “What? I’m just heading home.”
Tony grunted. “Yeah. Right.” He jabbed a pudgy finger in Midge’s direction. “I said I’ve never seen her before, and that was true. But I’ve seen her like, and I know you, and that is a woman you cannot handle.”
Midge laughed, genuinely this time. “Tony, I appreciate your advice, but I’m really not interested.” He waved as he turned to leave again. “Like you said, she’s not my type.”
The bartender had more to add but it was lost in the din of the crowd as Midge hurried through the door into the night. The neon lights of the entertainment district flashed and danced in every direction. He wasn’t quite ready to head home, so he turned towards the agriculture district and started at a slow jog. A light run would clear his head for sure.
You’re not alone. That smile. Did she know? Could she really be like him?
Notes: I’ve been off the dating scene so long and even before then I never really did the whole pickup line thing so I couldn’t really think of anything for this. I’ve read some pretty bad ones but mostly I just see them and think “people actually say these sorts of things?”
So I decided to edit a scene from my 2017 NaNo project, the one in my post-apocalyptic science fiction universe. I had imagined Lara discovering Midge sulking in a bar after he manifested, trying to make sense of what was happening to him, but when I sat down to write it, his personality came through and something like this came out instead.
I had some concerns that I wasn’t going to be able to get this out tonight. The wind was so wild earlier I thought we were gonna lose power. It’s only just recently calmed down, and my garbage cans did not succeed in escaping to the neighbor’s yard with my downspout. I hope you all are safe and warm tonight! That will do it for this Monday post. Have a great night!
PS-Like these prompts? Like the short stories I write based on these prompts? Want to show your support? Give the blog a follow! Leave a comment! Buy me a coffee! I put a lot of time and effort into these posts and your support means the world to me! Ok, now go out there and write!