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The Short Form

“The Girlfriend Game”

Nick Antosca

Excerpt

We’re getting a little bored, so I ask my girlfriend if she wants to play the game tonight.  She says she does.  I was hoping she’d say that.

Every time we play the game, it brings us a little closer together.

The game works best in dark, noisy lounges.  It’s pretty simple, just a fun thing we do at the end of the night.  How it works is, I hang back, lurking in the crowd, while Dani goes up to the bar, alone and looking hot. A guy approaches her, strikes up a conversation.  Dani tilts her auburn head, laughs, lets him buy her a drink. Dani’s an actress, a talented one.  They flirt a while before I walk up, pretending I’m a stranger. Then Dani and I “spontaneously” hit it off while the dumbfounded guy hovers with terrible sense of humiliation and defeat.  He watches, helpless, as Dani and I leave together in a glow of carnal enthusiasm, apparently having just met.  And that’s the game.

Tonight, we’re at Delancey Lounge.  Earlier, at the birthday dinner for my ex-girlfriend Clementine (we’re still good friends, which Dani is okay with), Dani and I had a minor fight when she took offense at something I said. But her agreeing to play the game reassures me we’re okay now.

I watch her walk the gaze-gauntlet to the bar, wearing a little black dress that justifies the enduring prestige of Little Black Dresses. She is provocatively petite, narrow-waisted, with a heart-shaped face and full, red lips that make me want to eat a strawberry.

At the bar, a guy wearing a fashionably faded black t-shirt, jeans, and a sleek Movado watch approaches Dani.  Sandy-haired, maybe 5’9”—shorter than me—and about our age, late twenties.  He’s good-looking, which will make the game’s payoff more pleasing.

We read it in The Girlfriend Game.

Originally published in Metazen.