Flimsy

By Iris N. Schwartz

Eddie had posted an eight-year-old photo of himself on JustMeAndYou.com. Not a picture of him at eight. He thought that would be deceitful. Eddie put up a shot of himself at thirty-seven. Women lied about their age, right? He became sweaty, red-faced. Why shouldn’t he?

As Eddie sat in the bar room in a brocade-upholstered chair, he wondered if Beverly’s dating-site photograph was recent. Would she look as fetching in person as she did on JMAY, with waist-length, dark blonde hair; exquisitely cervine, chocolate-brown eyes; perfectly shaped Cupid’s-bow lips? Perhaps Beverly wore contacts or had numerous beauty marks. No matter; he was open-minded.

Eddie adjusted his custom-made, burgundy silk vest; he downed top-shelf whiskey to calm his nerves. The front door opened, followed by a woman peering closely at male customers. She was at least five feet, ten inches, with a swath of gray in her light brown, chin-length hair. Her weight? Eddie estimated two hundred fifty, easy. She had described herself as curvy. Was fat the new curvy? Was this Beverly?

Eddie felt anger fill every ounce of him. Need he approach her? Spend money on a drink for her? He shifted several times in his chair — up, down, both sides — causing it to wobble. Eddie felt solidity shift beneath him, heard a crunch. It would happen once more. He leaned against the wall — still in the chair — but began to totter.

Had Beverly heard his chair buckle? Their eyes met. She turned away.

“Bartender,” Eddie boomed. The young man who had brought Eddie his whiskey returned. “Please replace this chair. It’s not sturdy.”

The bartender clenched his lips, nodded his head. “All right, sir. I’ll replace it. Again.”

Eddie gathered his six-feet-two inches and four-hundred-and-forty-six pounds, and carefully rose from the damaged chair. He watched the hefty woman exit the hotel bar.

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Iris N. Schwartz, a New York City-based fiction writer, has had stories published in many journals and anthologies, including Anti-Heroin Chic, Five-2-One, Jellyfish Review, and Spelk. Her short-short story collection, My Secret Life with Chris Noth, was nominated for two Pushcart Prizes. Shame is her latest collection.

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