Friday, July 12, 2013

"Where for art thou Risotto?" by Keith O'Brian (Short Story)

Genre:  Humor

Type of Short Story:  Short Story


Internet dating, what a load of old bollox, I thought to myself. I’d spent the last 18 months, following a breakup, online trawling round for my ‘soulmate’. Updating photos and writing my own biography to try and entice the opposite sex.

‘I even write like a gobshite, no wonder they never write back to me, like my photos or even throw me a sneaky poke on facebook’, I said to Tim, my mate, who led me onto this ‘opportunity of a lifetime’ as he called it, like he was selling me a timeshare or cheap crap at a market stall. Fucking gimp!

‘I’m tellin ye man, it’s like shootin fish in a barrel’, he said. You would swear he was Brad Pitt or one of them handsome fellas, whereas in real life his face was that pot marked it looked like he had been used as a pub dartboard.

‘G’way ye pleb. The only ride you have had in the last few months is with Rachel the Raleigh and she’s had more rides than a jockey’.

He tried to be annoyed but laughed.

‘Fuck off’, he said through a grinning chuckle. ‘It’s true, but it’s still more than you’ve had’, he said with an air of victory to it. ‘Suppose yer too busy spending yer nights on chat roulette with yer lad in yer hand, he said nodding towards the computer. ‘I’d say its riddled’.

He wasn’t right but not far wrong at the same time everything was right except for the ‘self exploration’. That sort of thing wasn’t for me.

‘Nothing like the intimacy of clicking a mouse with one hand and churning man butter with the other’, Tim said.

Webcams always annoyed me. Such and such has invited you to view webcam it said. If I wasn’t a stressed out horndog then I’d tell them what for. But alas there I am ready to click join, pretending I don’t have a camera so I can just watch. Like a voyeur or something. I might as well be up the tree outside her house perving on her with my binoculars.

I wasn’t like this before the breakup. ‘Live a little man will ye’, Tim said. I didn’t think clicking on endless photos of middle-aged women was much of an adventure to be honest. Her advert read: divorced, happy go lucky, loves walks in the parks and animals, looking for friendship and maybe more. It was the maybe more I was looking for. I’d had enough of that other stuff for the past twenty odd years. I always used to wonder why they had got divorced in the first place. Did she shag around on him? That would be grand to meet her so, least I’d get a bit.

‘Jesus not her anyway’, I said aloud. Rough. I have a fair idea why she got divorced anyways. Would she be better than chat roulette? Probably not. NEXT. Jesus H Christ. The tide wouldn’t take her out. Click. Click, click. Never ending. It’s like browsing on the RSPCA orphaned dogs site.

Aha now were talking. She looks alright. Doesn’t really look 50. Widowed, fun loving, looking for fun. Check, check and check. Do you want to contact? Yes please! She will do quite nicely. Send my details. Done and done. Now it’s time to play the waiting game. I sat back in my chair like some sort of Bond villain or something. Embarrassing really. ‘If I could see myself now I’d slap myself. Deucebag’

....Nothing for a couple of days. Time to update my profile I think. I’ll give Tom a call and see if he can give me a hand. He’s a veteran at this kind of stuff, or so I’m led to believe.

‘I’ll be up in an hour or so man, I’m just stroking a wild one’, he said in a hurry and hung up abruptly. I didn’t want to know that. Some things can be kept to themselves. I’m all for some privacy. He better wash his paws after.

‘Ah for fuck sake, no wonder yer not getting any biters on yer rod, he said throwing out a cheeky wink simultaneously. ‘What’s this shite?’ He questioned. ‘Dont be tellin them any of this man. Delete that anyways. Seriously?’ He questioned. He laughed to himself. ‘Ye goon’, he snorted. He typed away for a few minutes and then stood up, dusted off his hands and told me to read.

... Successful business man, own house, holiday home in the sun, no kids. Looking for that special someone to grow old with. Genuine guy with lots of love to give.

‘What the hell is this muck, Tim? I asked.

‘Don’t worry it’s what they all want to hear mate. Trust me.

‘Ah I don’t know, Tim. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Businessman? I work nights in a petrol station alongside a semi gay Polish fella, two lads the colour of varnished pine and man from Zaire who’s as black as the desert sky at night. I rent a room in the back of a doss house, have two kids and haven’t a shillin’ to my name. Someone to grow old with? Now why did ye say that shit? Lots of love to give? Ye made me sound like a right poof.

‘Ye’l be grand. Watch the Notebook and just pretend it’s what you want too. It’s what I do.

‘That’s working well for ye anyways is it? I questioned mockingly.

‘My dry streak has been moistened my man’, he said cheekily and began to boast of his conquests from the past month. Pure filth came out of that mans mouth. As a man who has dabbled in some strange shenanigans even I was shocked by his tales.

Ye’v more fables than Aesop’, I said.

‘It’s all true. No lies. Honestly man. Scouts honour’, he brashly replied.

‘I’ve heard you be called some things in my day Tim but honest definitely isn’t one of them.

‘What can I say? I’m a catch. ‘A stud’, he half shouted as he stood up with the cheeky grin of a teenage lothario.

... The profile worked. I had a date, with Cindy. A widow no less. Get in there! Well that was the plan anyways. I had checked her out on Facebook a couple of times. Not stalkingly but rather just inquisitively. I promise. She looked pretty tasty in her photos. The three kids were a bit of a worry. She’s seen plenty of traffic down there I’d say. Be like throwing a sausage down Grafton St. Ah sure we’ll give it a go. What’s the worst that could happen?

In summary, the date was a disaster. She looked pretty different in real life. She cut a more rounded figure to be honest. Like a pear in a dress, more like a poached pear actually with the strange shade of red on her face from the nervous sweat beading across her brow. She was actually pretty nice and interesting. Loads of stories about her kids, well that was to be expected. I kept up the lie about not having any of my own. The lying actually came pretty natural to me, slightly frightening at the beginning but I found myself rambling on and on with them as the date progressed. Maybe Tim hadn’t been lying. Well if he managed to get dates then it must work. There was no notable faux pas during the date other than the fact I managed to drop my tie into a bowl of soup.

‘Will we go Dutch?’ She asked.

I hadn’t a clue what this meant. I thought it was a sex thing. ‘On a first date?’ I stammered. She looked puzzled and reached for her purse. What the hell was she going to pull out now? My heart pumped as I watched intently. A purse? Maybe something’s inside I wondered.

‘So 50/50 then yeah?’ she asked.

‘No I’ll get this, my treat.’ I said. What was this Dutch thingy? I pondered for few moments. Maybe she said it as a mistake. Yeah, she probably didn’t mean to say it out loud in case I thought she was easy. That was probably it. Ah well I’ll Google it after and see what it was.

We kissed goodbye outside the restaurant. She had the fish risotto so as you can imagine that kiss was a meal in itself. Never again I thought to myself. ‘So will we do this again? She asked.

‘Of course, sure give me yer number there and we’ll set something up in the next few weeks alri? I said, knowing full there were two chances of that happening. Slim and fuck all!

‘How’d the date go?’ Tim asked when I seen him the following day.

‘Ah was alri, I suppose’, I told him.

‘Dya get yer end away?’ He asked, looking as excited as a kid at Christmas. Why he was this excited I have no idea.

‘No I didn’t. Not even the faintest chance of it. Kinda ragin I was. After I got home and was as horny as a sailor on shore leave that was’, I said laughing. ‘I even bought the dinner and pretended I didn’t hear her offering me some Dutch thingy.’

‘Tight bitch’, he joked. Dutch thing? He questioned.

‘Yeah. Dya wanna go Dutch? She asked me’.

‘Ye clown. That means did ye wanna split the bill. Von Dutch.’ He answered like a big fat headed know it all.

I broke out in laughter. ‘I thought it was a dirty sex thing. Yeno what the Dutch are like. We both stood there laughing. He was shaking his head at me as the tears rolled down his face.

As he collected himself after a few moments he asked ‘Ye meetin her again or anten?

‘She is mad for another date with the kid’ I said fixing my collar like I was a young James Dean. ‘Suppose if I get no more offers I’ll give her a shout or something.

‘I’d say she is alri. Suppose she must be pretty hard up for a jont if she’s into you man’, he said in jest.

‘Well I’m hardly beating them away with a shitty stick at the moment so she might be getting a phone call’, I said slightly down heartened at the thought of having to meet her again.

... I hadn’t heard a peep from anyone over the next few days. Surely she couldn’t have been the only woman who found me even the slightest bit attractive. Guess I’m not the catch I thought I was. I was starting to get second thoughts about this internet dating malarkey. How does Tom do it? I questioned to myself. Probably because he spins more yarns than Rumpelstiltskin on speed. Yeah I’d say that was it. Hopefully that was it anyways.

I’ll have a little bit of a window shop on the site again tonight and see if there is anyone who takes my fancy. That was my plan. Click, click, and click. Maybe she wasn’t that bad after all. I could get used to fish risotto. To hell with this for now. I’m having a game of free cell and a Satzenbrau. ‘Who needs this shite?’ I gasped out loud.

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