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The International Writers Magazine - Our 22nd Year: Dating Log Archives

Coffee and Sex
Mary Colvin

‘Wanted to know if you fancied going for a coffee and then maybe have sex after.’ As she pressed the delete button Susan sighed. The dating agency was not living up to its promise of finding ‘classy people for classy players.’

So far she had had a most unnerving lunch with a man whose squint was so pronounced that the people sat at the next table in the cramped café kept answering his questions and an interminable dinner with a ‘Star Trek’ fan who offered to get her a Lieutenant Ahura costume in time for the next convention in Bradford.

It had perhaps been a mistake to put ‘looks not important, enthusiasm for life is,’ on her application form. But she’d meant it. At the time. It was just turning out that other people’s life enthusiasms were not her own.

Colin was in agony. Real alpha plus agony. He had been rehearsing the nonchalant non-committal line all morning. ‘Wanted to know if you fancied going for a coffee and then maybe having a walk along the river afterwards?’ He’d hoped for sex of course, he always hoped for sex afterwards but it was probably bad form to mention that in a first phone call. He’d liked the sound of her too. ‘Looks not important, enthusiasm for life is.’ He had planned to be soo enthusiastic about everything they would see on the walk from the ducks to the dog turds. Well possibly not the dog turds. And now he’d blown it. Big time. He knew he should probably ring again very quickly and say…say what? ‘I was only joking about the sex bit,’ or ‘I meant walk, not sex.’ But he couldn’t bring himself to do it. Besides now he was obliged to mention sex in the message he dreaded to think what might actually come out of his mouth when faced with the ‘started so you must finish’ horror of the answer machine. Or the real person. Dear God what if she answered in person? Much as he would have wished it otherwise he knew it was beyond his capabilities to resolve the situation. Regretfully she would have to be filed in his ever growing ‘ones that got away’ file.

Susan began to realise that if she were ever to get any kind of return on the obscenely high investment she had placed in ‘Classy Players’ she would have to be more pro-active. The thought filled her with horror. She had an absolute dread of answer-machines and had been content so far to allow the men to make the running. But the ones she had earmarked as possible hadn’t phoned and the ones that really belonged in her ‘only if I’m really desperate’ file had. She looked again at the sheaf of ‘handpicked classy suitors’ the agency had given her. Film director Craig looked gorgeous. Rugged, rich and ravishing, he was as much out of her reach as the vast mountains he purported to climb in his spare time. Then there was stockbroker Andy who promised the lady of his dreams a ‘get away from it all’ romance on his own private yacht, deals permitting. Or there was Colin. He had hovered over her ‘only if I‘m really desperate pile’ but something about his crooked and, it had to be said, rather manic smile had stayed her hand. Plus he was a teacher. She understood about teachers. She understood only too well about teachers and had vowed not to go hunting in her own backyard. But. It meant they had something in common. It meant when the conversation dried up, which it inevitably would, she could always ask his opinion on the latest government initiative for keystage three pupils. Or she could just say yes to the Star Trek convention and face the final frontier. Grimly she reached for the phone.

Colin pressed play again. And again. It still sounded just as odd. ‘Bradford would be wonderful and the Lieutenant Ahura costume sounds great, thank you. Just hope I’ve got the legs for it. Ha ha. I understand that ‘resistance is futile’ so perhaps you could give me a call on 0*** 231468. Um… Live long and prosper. Over and out.’ He speculated as to the kind of woman that would have left such a message. Weird, most certainly but probably with an Amazonian body that looked really hot in uniform. Particularly that kind of uniform. ‘Resistance is futile’… He began to wonder if he had been wasting his time on coffee and walks with enthusiastic teachers. Perhaps it was time for him to boldly go where he had never been before.

How could she have been so stupid? It had taken every last scrap of courage for her to leave that ridiculous Star Trek message and now it transpired that she had dialled the wrong number. Worse still it had put her in contact with an even bigger Trekite or whatever they were called. In what must have qualified as one of the weirdest phone calls she had ever had she found herself agreeing to meet ‘Captain Kirk the Second’ for coffee in Starbucks (well it had to be really didn’t it?) to discuss their mutual obsession with all things connected with the Captain’s log. This really was the final frontier. The only good thing about it was that it didn’t involve a trip to Bradford. Nor the need to dress up in Ahura gear although the Captain had seemed a little disappointed when she said she would save that for a later date.

It had been a mistake to get there fifteen minutes early. Colin was beginning to detect a definite froideur between himself and the longer-legged female customers. His opening gambit of ‘Lieutenant Ahura, I presume,’ had not gone down too well with some and his fallback introduction of ‘Hi, I’m Captain Kirk,’ had not fared much better with others.

He ordered himself another double espresso ignoring the smug barista’s offer to beam it up for him and slumped down into the comparative anonymity of the battered leather armchair opposite the entrance. She was now fifteen minutes late. A total wait of thirty minutes that had just added thirty years to his life.

She had seen him come in of course. Something about his slightly maniacal grin had seemed vaguely familiar. She had arrived half an hour early in order to read as much as she could of her newly acquired ‘Star Trek Bumper Compendium’ before he arrived. He had approached most of the women in the café but had not come near her. She knew she should not have sat herself on one of those ridiculously high stools. Measuring in at only a little over five feet she had almost needed crampons to get up there. She’d thought, however, that once up there he would be unable to tell quite how short she was and that was no bad thing. Except now that it was pretty obvious that he was uninterested in her it was going to be hard to slip away without drawing attention to herself. Gingerly she began her descent.

Deep in his moribundity it took Colin a few moments to realise that the clattering sound was the result of the petite woman in the corner falling off her stool. Glad of the distraction he went to help her. Her possessions had spilled out all over the floor. ‘Star Trek Bumper Compendium’ stood out as a rather surprising item for a woman to have in her handbag. He reached his hand out to her. ‘You’re Lieutenant Ahura?’ he said incredulously. The barista cheered. ‘Ye’p. It’s life Jim, but not as we know it.’

It had taken most of that long walk along the river to see the funny side of it all. But he had been so enthusiastic about…well everything from the ducks to the dog turds so when he suggested coffee and maybe sex the following week she found herself agreeing that on the whole resistance would be futile.

© Mary Colvin Feb 2009

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