by Jake Christie

a story.

Julie's boyfriend extended his proboscis into his Old Fashioned and took a long noisy sip. The tiny hairs all over his head quivered. Julie put her hand on his shoulder.

“We should probably get going, babe,” she said. She turned back to the rest of us. “We're leaving for vacation tomorrow morning.”

“Where are you going?” asked Alice.

“San Francisco,” said Julie. “On a four A.M. flight,” she added, rolling her eyes.

“Zzzzzzzzzz,” said Julie's boyfriend.

Julie stood and kissed Alice and Betty on their cheeks. Her boyfriend shook hands with Derek and I. His hands were sticky and rigid. He and Julie left with their arms around each other's waists, the light shining off of her blonde hair and his glossy wings.

Derek wiped his hands on his napkin and smoothed it on his lap. “So that's Julie's boyfriend,” he said. “He seems nice.”

“You think so?” I said. “I think he seems kind of, I don't know.” I lowered my eyes. “Strange.”

The waiter collected the Old Fashioned glass and plate, which were covered with some kind of acidic slime. Julie's boyfriend hadn't touched his utensils.

“I think you're right,” said Alice. She spun a piece of pasta on her fork. “I didn't want to say anything with Julie here, but...”

“It's way too soon for them to go away on vacation together,” said Betty.

Alice pointed her speared pasta at Betty. “Exactly,” she said. “Julie always lets these things move too fast. One of them is going to get scared off, I bet.” She plopped the pasta in her mouth. “Mark my words.”

Derek and I looked at each other. A small spot of digestive saliva ate its way through the tablecloth.

“At least he has nice eyes,” offered Betty.

“And plenty of them, too,” I said.

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