I was sitting at a table by the coffee shop at the outdoor mall with my roommate Jake.
“You know that girl I met at the party a couple nights ago?” I asked pulling out a post-it note with a phone number. “I tried calling her this morning, and it directed me to the rejection hot line.”
“Ouch,” Jake said.
“Right?” I said sipping on my lukewarm coffee. “I guess it’s just easier than saying, ‘Sorry dude, I’m really just not interested.”
“Let me see that,” he said.
I gave him the post-it note. He looked at it for a second and then put it in his pocket.
“What are you going to do with that?” I asked.
“You never know when it can come in handy,” he said.
A beautiful brunette was walking her dog and passed Jake and me. She was wearing all black and complimented the look with very opaque sunglasses.
“She is cute,” I said.
“Go up to her,” Jake said.
“Nah, I can’t. She doesn’t look like she wants to be bothered,” I said. “Plus she is walking her dog. Dogs don’t really like me.”
A grade-school-aged boy with full camouflage face paint was running around pretend shooting pretend people.
“You should throw this tennis ball at this kid,” I said pulling a tennis ball out from my backpack.
“Where did you get that tennis ball?” Jake asked.
“What? I like tennis balls.”
“I don’t want to throw it. You throw it.”
I threw the tennis ball aiming for his chest, but it him smack against his nose. The kid looked at us and ran away.
“Well, that didn’t work out,” I said.
“We should probably leave,” Jake said.
Later that day, Jake and I were sitting in the living room at our apartment. On the couch next to me was our cat, Fredo. Fredo is a very large cat with paws that resemble human hands in front and human feet in the back.
“Did you break up with Samantha yet?” I asked.
“I can’t. It’s hard. I don’t know what to say,” Jake said.
“Just start insulting her.”
“I tried. She thinks I’m playing hard to get. She seems to like me more when I insult.”
“No because I don’t want to give her the wrong idea.”
“She is really ugly.”
“I know,” Jake said. “I’ll probably end up marrying her.”
The telephone rings. Jake picks up and starts talking. A few minutes later, Jake pulls out his wallet and gives his credit card number over the phone.
“What was that?” I asked.
“I just bought the Total Gym,” Jake said.
“You don’t even work out.”
“I know, but it’s kind of code in the telemarketing community to buy products from each other.”
“You never sell products at your job.”
Jake checked his phone for text messages.
“Samantha texted me,” Jake said. “She said she has someone perfect for you.”
“What are you talking about?” I asked.
“We were talking about how you never go on dates, and I guess she found someone for you.”
“I go on dates!”
“Yeah, but they never work out.” Jake responded to the text message. A few minutes later, he checks his phone for a reply. “Samantha said her friend will call you later.”
“You gave her my number?”
“Yeah, just talk to her. Samantha has cute friends.”
“Alright, I can go for that,” I said. I stuck my hand out and gave a high five to Fredo.
Later that night I was playing solitaire and my cell phone rang.
“Hey, it’s Ryan,” I said.
“Hi, I’m looking to speak to Ryan,” a girl said. “Oh, I’m sorry, you said your name. It’s Denise.”
“Hey Denise. I’m not sure who you are.”
“I’m friends with Samantha. She said she is dating your friend and I guess is trying to play matchmaker.”
“Oh, right. Okay. Yeah, that’s cool.”
“Well, how are you?”
“This is kind of awkward, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, do you want meet at a coffee shop tomorrow night? Maybe if we meet it’ll be better?” I asked. “There’s this great place by the outdoor mall.”
“Sure, that sounds good.”
“Okay, does seven work?”
I went to the living room where Jake was playing solitaire.
“Your girlfriend’s friend Denise just called me,” I said.
“Oh yeah?” he asked. “How was it?”
“Dude, it was really awkward. I didn’t even know what to talk about. We agreed to meet up tomorrow night,” I said. “I’m just scared because I don’t even know what she looks like.”
“What’s your breaking point? Kids? Pimples?”
“I love kids,” I said. “Not sure about pimples, but I could deal with that.”
“You should be okay,” he said. “But if it doesn’t work out, we should have a plan.”
“I’ll give you a call at the beginning of your date,” he said. “Like an exit call. If you know it’s not going to work out, you can just make up some random excuse with me on the phone and leave.”
“Okay, that could work.”
“So Samantha and I are going to hang out at the beach tomorrow afternoon.”
“Are you going to break up with her?”
“I can’t,” Jake said. “I’m going to bring Fredo with me so I have at least something friendly.”
The next day Jake and Fredo met up with Samantha at the beach.
“Hey there,” Jake said.
“What is that?” Samantha asked pointing at Fredo.
“It’s my cat Fredo,” Jake said. “I thought I’d take him for a walk and get him out of the house.”
“Yeah, but he has like hands and feet.”
“It’s a little unusual.”
“Jake, I can’t be seen with this cat.”
“What are you saying?”
“I’m saying get rid of this cat or it’s over.”
“I’m not getting rid of Fredo.”
“Well, then it’s over.”
“Yeah, you’re not even sad.”
“Whatever.” Samantha left while Jake high fived Fredo.
A cute blond came up to Jake and Fredo. “That’s a really cute cat,” she said.
“I think you’re a cute cat,” Jake said. A few moments later, “Okay, that was bad.”
“Yeah that was,” she said laughing.
“I know it’s kind of bold, but I would like to hang out sometime. Can I get your number?” Jake sneezed all over Melissa. “Oh gosh, I’m sorry. That was bad.”
“It’s okay, but strike two, buddy,” she said wiping her face with a napkin.
“I actually don’t have a phone,” she said. “But my roommate does. So why don’t you give me your number?”
Jake reached into his pocket and pulled out a post-it note. “Here you go,” he said handing her the post-it note. He quickly realized that he just gave her the rejection hot line number. “Actually, wait, let me give you this number instead.” Jake and Melissa traded post-it notes. Jake noticed a tennis ball coming right at him from the corner of his eye. In his defense, he ducked behind Melissa. The tennis ball hit her smack against her nose. “Oh, umm, so you’ll call me tomorrow?”
Later that night I met up with Denise at the coffee shop. As I walked in, I saw a brunette wearing all black and opaque sunglasses. By her side was a dog. I approached her, “Denise?”
“Yeah,” she said. “Is this Ryan?”
“Yeah,” I said. “Wow, you look amazing.”
“Thanks,” she said. “I got us coffee. I hope you like mocha.”
“Yeah, definitely.” My phone rang. It was Jake calling about the exit plan. I picked up.
“Hey man, it’s all good,” I hung up the phone.
“What was that about?” Denise asked.
“Oh, it’s nothing,” I said. “So I got a new haircut. What do you think?”
“I can’t see it.”
“Well, take off your sunglasses, silly.”
“Ohhhhh,” I said. “Well, that’s cool. I’m glad you aren’t able to see what I look like then.”
“Because I have a ton of acne,” I said. A few moments later, “Totally joking by the way.”
The boy with war paint walked into the coffee shop.
“Oh my gosh,” I said. “Don’t look. Well, it’s not like you can see. But this kid with war paint just walked in. I totally beaned him with a tennis ball yesterday. We need to leave.”
“That’s my son, you jerk,” she said.
The boy came up to the table. “Mom, why are you hanging out with this guy?”
I ran away.
The next afternoon, Jake and I were sitting on the couch in our living room.
“You ran?” Jake asked.
“Yeah, what else was I supposed to do,” I said. “I had to get out, but her dog bit me.” I showed Jake my arm that had a deep bite mark.
“I thought seeing-eye dogs were friendly.”
“Yeah, but dogs hate me.”
“Samantha broke up with me yesterday,” Jake said.
“Really? What did you do?” I asked.
“Nothing. She didn’t want to be seen with Fredo,” he said. “After she left, this cute blond came up to me. We started talking, and I gave her my phone number.”
“I don’t know how you do it, man.”
“It went okay, but I don’t think she will call,” he said. “I kind of hid behind her and let a tennis ball hit her in the face. And then I kind of ran away.”
“It looks like you have a voice mail. Your phone is blinking. Maybe it’s her?”
Jake played the voice mail, all automated, “The person leaving this message has no interest in dating you. Please try again.”