Friday, October 24, 2014

"This Is What He Should Have Said" by Brian Olsen (Short Story)

Genre:  Fiction, Humor

Type of Short Story:  Short Story

Summary:  Bradford worries constantly that any new people he meets will find him boring. By and large, his fears are justified. When his co-workers invite him to a casual night out at a bar, Bradford finds making conversation to be as painful as ever. Will he realize how much his life of solitude is costing him before it’s too late?


Bradford Smith worried constantly that any new people he met would find him boring. By and large, his worries were justified. His life had been full of rich, interesting events he could have drawn upon, but entering into conversation with someone for the first time instantly filled him with anxiety. He was sure that nothing he had to say could possibly be of interest to anyone and so he shied away from talking about himself, his life, anything that had ever happened to him or anything that might ever happen to him and instead steered all conversation towards the mundane. As a consequence, anyone unfortunate enough to be stuck speaking with him would soon find themselves bored silly and attempt to bring the conversation to a close as quickly as possible.

One Friday evening in September, he was in a trendy, expensive bar with some co-workers. Soft lights, recessed into the dark wood paneled walls, gave the room a warm, comfortable glow. Bradford and his companions had taken over four neighboring tables in the center of the bar. It was still early, and there were few other customers, but the sounds of his co-workers’ laughter and friendly conversation made the bar seem full.

Bradford usually declined invitations to socialize with his fellow employees, but he was tired of eating lunch by himself every day. He hadn’t made any close friends since graduating from college several years earlier and so had quickly accepted the offer to socialize before he could talk himself out of it.

He was seated next to a very nice young woman wearing a pretty yellow dress. She was a friend of one of his co-workers, and she had just introduced herself to Bradford. Her name was Amanda.

Bradford wanted to have a friendly conversation with someone.

This is what he should have said:

“I used to have a dress like that.”
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