Boo Hiss

Boo Hiss by Rene Gutteridge Read Free Book Online

Book: Boo Hiss by Rene Gutteridge Read Free Book Online
Authors: Rene Gutteridge
He’d been single for twenty-five years and, that he could recall, hadn’t had a date. So what in the world would compel him to ask Lois, of all people, to go out? She was loud and obnoxious and smacked her gum … in the most charming way.
    “Ich spreche kein Englisch
.”
    “Martin? Are you choking?”
    Now that was stupid. Since she didn’t speak German, she wouldn’t even understand he was trying to say he didn’t speak English.
    “I’m fine,” Martin managed.
    “Are you asking me out or not?”
    “Yes?” Martin squeaked.
    “Was that a question?”
    Martin looked around for some antacids. “Yes.”
    “Yes, you asked me out?”
    Did he have to say it twice?
    “Look,” Lois said, after he couldn’t answer, “if you’re wanting a different part, just say so. Sugar and possibly Plum are up for grabs. Personally, I think you’d make a great mayor, but what do I know? I’m just the writer, director, and producer.”
    Martin combed the dead skin off his bottom lip with his two front teeth.
    “But Martin, this isn’t Hollywood. You don’t have to go to such extreme measures to get the part you want. You can just ask.”
    Martin believed that in every man’s life, there would be a moment of truth, that one moment in time that would never return if you let it slip away, and you would never know what your life might have been like. His fingers wrapped around the leather of his armrest. So far, Lois had sighed three times.
    “Lois,” Martin said, “I meant it. I wanted to ask you on a date.”
    He leaped out of his chair, squeezed his eyes shut, and was pumping his arm. But on the other end of the phone was complete silence. He stood in the middle of his knockoff oriental carpet, his arms flopped to his side, listening for any signs of life.
    Was he on hold?
    “Lois?”
    “I’m here,” she whispered.
    “You are?” he whispered back. He wasn’t sure why they were whispering, but it had been a while since he was in the dating scene, so maybe this was the new thing.
    “I’m sorry,” she whispered.
    Martin paused. Was she sorry she was whispering? Sorry she couldn’t go on a date with him? Sorry he’d asked? He didn’t have much time to continue on with scenarios, because then she said, “I’m just so shocked. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been asked on a date.”
    Martin smiled. This was a good sign. She was lonely and pathetic too.
    “I mean, sure, I’ve had a few men look my way. But I wasn’t ever sure they were looking at me, you know? Maybe I looked like a favorite relative. And most people just see me as overbearing, which I can be, I’ll admit it. I have a mouth like a faucet and a tongue straight out of the flapper era, but I have a good heart, and most pushy people can’t say that. I’m a bulldozer, I won’t deny it. But there is this laid-back, mellow side of me that most people don’t see. It’s there, and it really is quite enchanting when I allow it to come out and play. Listen to me! I soundlike I have a split personality! But seriously, in Greek mythology, I’m what they call one of those sirens, except much more placid and not so noisy. Although I can make a racket if I feel passionate about something. I won’t stand down. You can’t tell me to sit and stay. My bite is like my bark.” Martin listened carefully for barking sounds.
    “So,” she continued, “I’m looking forward to you getting to know me, Martin.”
    “Me too,” Martin stumbled. “I mean, me getting to know you. Or you getting to know me. Us getting to know ourselves.”
    “Pick me up at eight, tomorrow? Let’s dine at that new bistro.”
    “What new bistro?”
    “Haven’t you heard? It used to be called Pete’s Steakhouse.”
    “What’s it called now?”
    “Peter’s House of Steak.”
    “Huh.”
    “I’m looking forward to an evening filled with surprises,” Lois purred.
    Martin cleared his throat of any suggestions he’d had about where to eat. Thankfully, Lois was on

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