Fiction – Too Many Friends

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A phone buzzed on the counter

I watched from the bar counter as she sat there, well-dressed in black and completely out of place in this dive, methodically chewing the ice from her empty glass. Darkness filled her thoughts, but rather than lose herself in alcohol, she drank diet soda, and stared blankly at her cell phone. It vibrated every few minutes. A greasy-haired man walked up to her, his eyes venturing top to bottom and back, resting at her chest.

“Can I buy you a drink?” he asked.

“No thank you.” Her distracted eyes didn’t move away from her cell phone, lying on the bar, dancing happily.

“Are you sure honey?” he asked, rubbing his hand on her arm. “You’re all out of this one. Hey barkeep, pour her another…”

“One more diet soda coming up.” I exaggerated the phrase just to annoy him. The corners of his mouth dropped, he wouldn’t get his way with her, but he continued rubbing her arm just in case. The motion creeped me out.

Her head whipped around, to face him, and her look stopped him dead in his tracks. “I said, no thank you.” I liked her presence.

The smile from his lips faltered, he almost turned around to leave until he spotted the pair of teen girls in the corner. He shrugged his shoulders, and moved in their direction. “Ladies, can I buy you a drink?” I rolled my eyes. Never trust a pair of girls without a purse between them. They don’t plan on paying for the drinks, and they’ll be leaving without you. They must have really flirted with Bobby for him to let them in underage.

I poured the girl in black her diet soda and set it in front of her. She looked up, eyeing me suspiciously.

“How much do I owe you for this one?” she sighed, taking out her purse.

“This one’s on me,” I said quietly. “Besides, you look like you could use a friend…” I waited to see if she’d offer her name.

“I have too many friends. But, thanks.” With that she sipped on her drink, and resumed staring at her phone. It seemed to be buzzing every few seconds now. Her lack of attention didn’t bug me, my scars usually put women off, so they don’t really pay me much attention unless they want free drinks. The teen girls already tried, but when I asked for ID they decided to let others approach the bar on their behalf.

I went back to work, wiping down the bar, when a well-dressed man appeared, sizing up the diet soda lady. Her chest seemed right to him too.

“How about something more than friends?” I asked with a smirk. She turned her head to me in anger, actually seeing me for the first time that evening. I nodded at the clean dressed man. “Cause I think he’ll be offering you something.”

She glanced at him, her darkness deepening. She grabbed her purse and coat, and bee-lined it for the door. The well-dressed man frowned watching her leave, looked up at me with a scowl then turned his attention to the teen girls. I shook my head, and went back to wiping down the bar, seeing the cell phone dancing where she’d been. I picked it up to see if it had an ICE number, but it was password protected, the buttons worn from too much texting. After about five minutes, it stopped vibrating. I wondered if the battery was fried. I tucked it in my pocket to return tomorrow. The rest of the evening remained uneventful. The well-dressed man left not too long after the phone’s owner, and the greasy haired man left drunk and very disappointed.

The next morning, far earlier than normal for me. I woke to the sound of a cell phone buzzing.

“Hello?” I answered.

“My name’s Lina. I was the diet soda girl last night. You have my phone,” she said. There was a pause.  “Would you like to go for coffee? If your offer still stands, I could use a friend.”

“I’m Mac. Where would you like to meet?”

A few years ago l joined a startup writing group called ThinkingTen. The concept is simple: there’s a daily prompt and you have 10 minutes to write whatever comes to mind. l deleted my blog posts from the site when I received an email saying the founder was shutting down the site. I hadn’t written anything in a while anyway. It’s still going, but I’ve decided to repost my original works here for Fiction friday.

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Prompt: i woke to the sound of a cell phone buzzing

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