My romantic comedy, SOME ASSEMBLY REQUIRED, comes out this October. Top off your wine glass, take a sip, and read on for an excerpt:
Streetlights shine through the windows of the closed diner, illuminating my office booth. I sit in the dark, alone, licking envelopes. The taste of cheap mint reminiscent of expired generic mouthwash pervades my lips, my tongue. These envelopes are the only things needing my tongue these days, and I’m getting paid to do it, so I sit, and I lick. Perhaps that qualifies me as a stationery whore. Perhaps I should care. I do not.
The dangling bell above the diner door rings, and I check the reflection in the wall mirror. It’s a man, silhouetted in the dark, an unknown entity, stalking my periphery. Broad shoulders, narrow hips, and delicious thighs fill the shadows. Boots pound on the wooden floor, headed my way.
But I’m not afraid.
The boots march on, drawing the man ever closer. In the glow of the lamp light streaming through the window, a face emerges in the reflection.
Leisurely, I draw an envelope across my tongue, savoring it. A sting burns my lip as the edge bites my flesh. I fold the envelope closed, set it aside, and pick up another one. My tongue caresses the cut on my lip.
Sam is beside me now. He reaches out, grasping my upper arm. There’s pressure, undeniable pressure. He pulls me to my feet, lifting me from my booth. Arms encircle me.
I drop the envelope. Our bodies fuse together, welded like magnets. Sam claws his way along my shoulder, finds the back of my neck, grasps my hair, and turns my face to his own. His mouth crashes upon mine. He rakes my lips with his tongue, forces them apart, unheeding my paper-cut pout and my minty, envelope tang. My tongue finds his. He kisses me deep, Grand Canyon deep. I kiss him right back.
Fingers grope and squeeze, find purchase, test boundaries. They land on my collar and buttons fly from the front of my blouse, falling on the table like yesterday’s paper wads. Desperate, panting, wanting me, Sam slides his hands down my ribcage, ripping my blouse apart, flaying the fabric, exposing me to the world. Expert fingers grip my front-hooking bra and make short work of the clasp. He frees my heaving breasts from the lace and the Lycra and the elastic. Boobs tumble out along with a half-dozen Cheerios and a school of rock-hard Goldfish crackers stashed in my cleavage. Cracker dust coats my upright nips.
Sam is undeterred. Better still, he’s even harder than the stale sea creatures released from my bra. He reaches past me and swipes envelopes and crackers to the floor. Gripping me by the waist, he lifts me with ease, and sets me on the edge of the table. My mini skirt bunches at my thighs which, miracle of miracles, are cellulite free.
His belt blocks my way, halting my progress. I grasp it and rip it from his jeans, casting it aside. The button bursts open, sending the zipper cascading down his bulge.
He’s at my knees now, under my skirt, parting my legs. I don’t question this, I give into it, breathless, panting, needing Sam to take me on this booth, to take me now, now, now, even if Charlie just entered the diner and is seated at the table beside us, rattling on about crop yields and moisture checks.
Charlie flips through a notebook, apparently unperturbed by our after-hours foreplay. He scrutinizes something in its pages. “You won’t need to run that load through the dryer, Sam.” He stops, writes down some numbers, then studies me with squinty eyes. “She’s pretty dry. No moisture check needed. Saves on the dryer bill for sure. Gotta like that.”
I don’t like that–why am I so dry? And why would anyone like that? I search Sam’s face, yet it’s morphed into a nondescript blur of formless contours. He warps in and out, overtaken with soft lines and wispy edges.
Armed with a spatula, clear as a bell, Eli, the young fry cook, is beside us. “Want me to flip her for you, Sam? You gotta brown both sides.” He slides the metal edge of the spatula under my ass cheek, ready to cook me well and brown me even. Instead, he stops and points past me.
Maddy’s here–where’d she come from? “Mommy, will you wipe my butt?” She holds a wad of toilet paper and waits. Her nose runs. I tear off a piece and wipe.
Surrounded by shadow, slipping away, Sam lets me go as he backs away, zipping and buttoning, disappearing in the dark. My knees slam together with a thunderclap. The sound rolls through the diner. It echoes out of my dry, empty, money-saving vagina, bounces off the walls, and scares the Goldfish crackers, which swim away under my booth. My bra snaps back on its own accord, enveloping my crumb-covered breasts. I grasp at the rapidly dissolving Sam, panting, wanting, needing. He stares at my child and slips into nothingness.
With a start, I snap awake.