Los Angeles
Mary Miller

The whole time I was manipulating him I was telling him how it was done. I took the phone into the bathroom so he could hear me pee.

Im peeing, I said.

Oh! he said. You are?

I had to go. By the way, this is called feigned intimacy, and men love it. I told him the other ways it could be accomplished: drinking out of a mans glass, touching his knee. The whole point is early, you have to get there early.

He was far away. Wed met over the Internet. It was all pretend so you could say anything. I proceeded to get drunk and tell him my problems, all the while telling him it was bad manners to get shit-faced and spill your guts right away. Of course, I said, my manners were never very good. I could swear I was lying but everything I said was true. He said he was Superman, took it back. What he meant was he was good in bed. I needed something to think about at night, my husband curled into the television set and a stack of books Id never read. Hed seen pictures: contact lenses, mascara, looking away from the camera.

Im pretty, I said, giving him my bra size.

I know youre pretty! he said. Youre hot! And D-cups dont hurt either! He called out for Jesus then. I felt bugs crawling on my face but there was nothing there.

I was looking for a way out. Once I found it I would find my way back in. I didnt know where he was coming from. He lived in Los Angeles, palm trees out his window.

—First appeared in Quick Fiction


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