The ring of her cellphone is a shattering glass jingle that shakes her from the midst of a heat induced mid-day nap.
Her head mashed into her pillow, partly soaked in sweat, her thoughts swimming in the sweltering heat of her bedroom, she grabs for the phone from her bedside table, and checks to see who it is. It's the man she had been seeing for two weeks now – or maybe three, she can't recall – but it's going OK, so she's more or less happy to hear from him, because really, what else does she have to do? Her friends are all busy, at the coast, without her, because she had to work, and reading is okay, but the book she picked up from the library last week has kind of hit a slow point, where nothing happens, and the main character is droning on and on about shit she already knows – relationships or something like that – so at this point her best option is to try to see where this so-so relationship might be headed. She has had her doubts about him on more than a few occasions, especially in the way he seems so eager to talk about himself and what he has since accomplished since moving to Portland. Still, arrogance – confidence – can have it's own charms, and she hopes they can work past this, and reach some equilibrium where he learns that she, too, has things going on in her life she would like to talk about, even if they're not quite on the same level as him, which involves running his own start up, which is cool and all, but – ugh – give it a rest already, buddy, you're not exactly Mark Zuckerberg.
Taking a deep breath, she answers, and for reasons beyond her, finds herself greeting him in a girlish sing-song voice when she says, “Hi, Derrick! How are you?”
“Good,” he answers with an odd gravitas to his voice, considering the circumstances. “Hey, I was wondering if you wanted to hang out?”
“Sure!” she says, sounding a bit too excited for her liking, and certainly not out of desire – no – but boredom, but perhaps.. Okay, a little desire. She is just kind of horny, but not a lot, not desperate horny. No, certainly not.
“Oh, nice, nice,” he says, trying his best to sound calm. Smooth. Whatever it is. “Well, I was thinking, since it's hot as balls...”
“Did you just say it's 'hot as balls'?”
“No, I mean, yes. Sorry. Are you offended?”
“No, it's just sounds stupid. Like you're 13 or something. I don't get offended by that stuff, I told you that, but it just sounds stupid. You can say it if you want to, I guess. I don't exactly see how balls can be hot. Sweaty and gross, sure, but not really what I would immediately think of when I try to describe this heat. When did 'hot as hell' become not enough? Or even just say, 'It's really hot.' Or why even say it at all? We know it's hot.”
“Well, yeah, so okay, you're right, but still, it's hot as balls, and that's just me. I want to say that. My balls are hot. That's why I said that.”
“Okay. Interesting bit of information. Thank you for sharing.”
“Anyway, since I have air conditioning...”
“As you've told me many times before.”
“Yes, right, and since your apartment doesn't have AC, and I'm guessing it's really hot, so I was thinking – do you want to come over and Do Netflix?”
She pauses, takes a deep breath and thinks a moment. She's heard this line before. Many times. Too many. About twenty times or more. She bites her lip and tries to decide if she really really wants to Do Netflix. He is kind of cute, after all, broad shoulders, nice hair, delicious, soft lips, she had enjoyed kissing just a few nights ago, during that romantic moment near the waterfront, but it is hot, as he said – balls hot! – so she'd rather not face the heat, and she is still unsure how serious she is about spending a day with him, watching – Doing – Netflix, and, of course, not so desperate. At all.
So, sighing, both from the heat and the exasperation that he think this shit might actually work, she says, “Well... I was planning on – um – going shopping. My fridge is empty. I am actually starving. Like, to death.” Her fridge is actually empty, and she is hungry. She's not lying about this, but it's hot, and food shopping is a tiresome chore she would like to avoid, even on a nice day.
“Well, I can drive you there, then afterward, we can Do Netflix.”
“That's okay, you don't have to. It's not far from my house. Only takes 40 minutes or so, walking, and I like the exercise, even if it is 90 degrees out there.”
“So how about afterward, you want to Do Netflix then? There's a few new movies up – a new Keanu Reeves movie. You like him, right?”
“And Ryan Gosling?”
“Eh, not so much.”
“Well, that's okay. So, I mean, Keanu – shooting a lot of bad guys – it could be fun.”
“You mean John Wick?”
“Yeah, I think that's it. I'd have to check.”
“No, that IS it. That is what it is called.”
“Oh, that's cool, if you say so, I mean, I'll probably have to check to be sure, but....”
“Sorry, but I'm actually a 100% right on this. I am looking at it right now on my laptop, I just Googled it just right now, while you were talking and here it says the latest Keanu film on Netflix is John Wick.”
“Oh, well, that's cool. If you say so. So you should come over and watch it with me. I have a bottle of wine, too. Chilled.”
“I don't drink.”
“Oh, right. I forgot. Well, just come over. It's pretty low alcohol volume, so maybe just a little if you want. I mean, a little bit of alcohol won't kill you. I'm not trying to get you drunk – maybe a little buzzed, okay – but not drunk. I'd never do something like that. I think people are a little to cautious about drinking, you're not going to become an alcoholic from one sip.”
“No. No alcohol. Like I told you, I have a serious allergy to it.”
“Oh, I didn't know that.”
“I thought I told you that. I think I told you on our first date, and the second one, and that one time we walked on the waterfront and you had a flask you wanted to share, during those times I made it pretty clear.”
“Oh, I sometimes forget these things. There's a lot on my mind, with the start-up and expanding our business, and I tend to drift when people start to say things to me. I am working on it though. I hope you understand.”
“Right well, that's fine, but also, I am busy, as I said. I have to go food shopping, because I'm starving to death, as I also said. Maybe later on, we could just go to the movies. There's a new one with Melissa McCarthy I want to see. The theater is just as good anyway, it's air conditioned, and maybe afterward we can go get food. I think that sounds a lot more fun than sitting inside watching Netflix all day.”
“Oh, well, but it's so hot out! I'm not really a big Melissa McCarthy fan, either. And I haven't Done Netflix in months! I really really want to Do Netflix.”
It sounds like he has started to cry. The heat probably. Or male hormone imbalance. Tight jeans cutting off the circulation to his brain causing severe distress and irrational reaction to minor stresses.
“I don't want to DO NETFLIX. I said that. Are you even listening? It's hot, and I am tired of you saying that. Come to think of it, I think I'll just order a large pizza, gorge myself on it, and take another nap, then maybe later, I will call my friends and see if they want to do something that has nothing to do with Netflix.”
“Wha? Aw, noooo! Please, please? I want to Do Netflix! Waaaah! Ablooo-hooo-hooo.”
“How old are you? Jesus. Please. Stop. You're embarrassing yourself.”
“I'm sorry. Sorry, it's just hot like I said, and you said, and okay, forget tonight, maybe next Friday? The heat will have ended then. Then we can Do Netflix? Please? Can we? Can we Do Netflix?Are we still cool? I'm sorry I got a bit worked up. These new jeans are really tight. It's just that... your hair, you're just so pretty, god, I just...”
Before hanging up on him mid-whine, she screams, “I know I'm pretty!”