a short story by Christopher Anderson
One evening I was in the mood for a beer and walked up to the Beveridge Place with my dog. They allowed dogs because they didn’t serve food. I passed a good-looking blonde, who looked me over. I engaged the look and got in line for a beer.
I sat with my beer and my dog. The blonde came over. “Buy me a beer?”
“Buy you a beer?”
I shrugged “All right. What do you want?”
“What are you drinking?”
I told her.
“I’ll have one of those.”
“Can you hold my dog?”
She hesitated, but reached for the leash. I went to stand in line. I looked back and Chedawg was staring at me ears perked while she had sat and was petting him.
I put the beer in front of her and sat back down across from her.
“You’re very handsome,” she said flirtatiously.
“Who’m I talking to? How tall are you?”
“About as tall as you, it looks like.”
“I’m six-two,” she said proudly.
I nodded. She was very pretty, but heavy. I bet she outweighed me by thirty pounds.
She reached across the table to grab my hand. She held onto it. “What’s your name?” she said.
I told her.
“My name’s Teresa, but I prefer to be called Lorraine.”
She licked her lips and stared at me.
“Lorraine, I’m married.”
“I’m sixty-five years old!”
“So? You’re still handsome.”
Encounters like this were common when I was young. I could walk down the street and walk up to a woman who looked interesting and ask her to join me for coffee or a drink, and as often as not she would, and then as often as not we would end up in bed.
But that was then and this is now. Yes, at one time I was handsome enough. But then you encounter the unkind impact of time, and then with ever increasing velocity, you become old
But I’m lucky, settled in with a woman I love and who loves me. We have a nice home. We’re retired.
“Buy me another beer?”
Her schooner was empty. I drained my beer and handed her the leash. Chedawg’s eyes and ears followed me to the line. I came back with two more beers. She grabbed the schooner like she was dying of thirst and drained half of it in one swallow.
“Let’s get a motel!” she said excitedly.
“What's your name again?”
“Teresa, but I prefer to be called Lorraine.”
“Lorraine—I’m married, my wife is just a block away from here, and she could walk in here any second looking for me.”
“So, let’s leave now.”
“I can’t….and,” I hesitated, “I won’t.”
I fondled my glass of beer nervously.
“Another beer?” Her schooner was empty again.
“No, I’m done. Can’t drink like I used to.”
“How old do you think I am?”
“Thirty?” I said, trying to be generous.
“I’m thirty-five,” she said.
“Don’t look it.” She looked about forty.
“And my twenty-five-year-old boyfriend left me high and dry. I’m broke an’ a month overdue on my rent.”
“Give me twenty bucks,” she said, desperately. There were tears in her eyes. They looked genuine.
“So that’s it.”
“I don’t have enough gas to get home!” Tears were streaming down her cheeks. The couple at the table next to us looked over. “Ten. Just ten dollars for my gas tank.”
I shook my head in disappointment. I stood, got out my wallet, and gave her a twenty. “Good luck with your life, Lorraine, or whatever your name is.”
She stared at her empty schooner, tears streaming down.
“I’m sorry, I said. “I didn’t mean that,”
I walked home, Chedawg trotting happily alongside.