Thursday, June 2, 2011

FICTION: Good to Go by David Meuel

At 7:00 sharp, the doorbell rang.

“I’ll just be a moment,” Martha called to the door as she zipped up her skirt.

She glanced in the mirror to check her make-up one last time and smiled. She still looked good for 50, even if she did say so herself—slim with a nice complexion and only tiny crow’s feet around the eyes—not bad at all.

This was her second date with Matt, a slightly balding, slightly overweight software engineer she had met at a party a couple of weeks ago. On their first date, they had gone to a Moroccan restaurant in downtown San Jose and had a good enough time. He seemed to enjoy listening to her, and he had some interesting stories of his own, though it sometimes took him a while to get to his point. Two nights later, he phoned and asked Martha if she wanted to go out again. He had a great little seafood place in mind. After pausing for a moment, she said yes.

Later, she wondered why she had hesitated. He was a nice enough man, certainly a respectful one. He hadn’t been condescending. He hadn’t pounced. Nothing off-putting. But it had been only two years since her divorce, and she had only gone out on a few dates. Maybe she wasn’t someone who got over a long marriage that quickly, especially one that ended with her husband running off with his young sales rep. And maybe—after all of that—she just didn’t have it in her to climb Relationship Mountain again.

When she opened the door, Matt stood on her welcome mat with a big grin and a bunch of flowers.

“It’s great to see you again,” he said.

“It’s nice to see you.”

“These are for you,” he said, handing her the flowers.

“They’re very nice. Thanks. I know we need to go. I’ll put these in water for now.”

“Sure. Whatever works.”

As Martha turned toward the kitchen, she noticed Matt fidget a little. “Are you worried about the time?”

“No, it’s not that.” He paused. “I guess I’ll just come out with it.”


“I don’t want to—to pressure you or anything.”


“If things develop tonight, I want you to know that I’ve taken my Viagra and I’m good to go.”

Martha stood silent, her face slowly turning pink. Then she dropped the flowers. “I’m sorry,” she said, realizing they had fallen from her hands.

“Here. Let me.” Matt bent down, picked up the flowers, and gave them back to her.


“There’s no pressure, but I just wanted to let you know.”

“That you’re good to go.”


“What were you expecting tonight?”

“Well, you never know.”

Martha hurled the flowers at Matt. They hit him in the face and the chest and then cascaded down his body and onto the floor.

“What’s that for?”

“You arrogant, presumptuous jerk!”

“What? I didn’t mean any—any disrespect.”

“Well, you certainly managed to show it.”

“Why don’t you just calm—?”

“I won’t calm down,” she yelled. “Get out! Get out of here! “

She yanked the door open. For a moment, he stared back at her, red-faced and pitifully confused.


“Okay, I—I’m going.”

He walked out, and she slammed the door after him.

After a few moments, she bent down and slowly picked up the flowers. If this is dating in middle age, she thought, this was even going to be worse than dating in her twenties. And she thought about Relationship Mountain, how it seemed ten thousand feet higher than it had just a few minutes ago.

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