Dinner for Two by Bryan Perkins
“She’s gourmet,” I said to the phone. “Of course I want to go out with her. Next to her I’m like dog food.”
“So what’s the problem?” the phone asked back.
“The problem? I can’t even afford to go out to a nice restaurant by myself, that’s the problem. How do you expect me to afford a dinner for two?”
“Oh, come on,” the phone said, putting on that concerned tone like he knew what I was going through. He didn’t. Phones had all the money. Everyone everywhere needed a phone to do everything. He couldn’t help but to roll in the bakers—it was how he was built. “This is a new day and age,” he said. “The girl will even pick up the waiter these days. They call it dutch ovening or something, I don’t know. The point is, even a cheap ass sack of fries and a greasy burger dressed up in a paper suit deserve to sit on a nice table with a pretty girl every once in a while.”
“That’s easy for you to say,” wasn’t too difficult for me to say. “You’re a phone.”
“What?” the phone said, tone: offended. “You think my life is problem free? Those animals are always grabbing me, spitting on my ass, putting my face—that’s where my mouth is, you know, and my nose—up in their ears, and making me whisper sweet nothings from some other phone’s ass. You’re tellin me you want that life?”
“No,” I said. I did not want that. “But I’m fast food. I’m gonna—”
“What? So you’re afraid then?” the phone cut me off. I wasn’t even sure I was close enough to his butt for him to hear me.
“No, I’m not afraid,” I said anyway.
“You’ve never dreamed of sitting on a fancy table, candlelight between you and your gourmet date, a sweet, beautiful violin singing in the background, accompanied by an a capella orchestra?”
“Well, sure, who hasn’t? But I’m fast food!”
“It doesn’t matter, kid. It’s your destiny. I’ve made the call already. Get ready for the ride of your life.”
I won’t bore you with the details of the ride. Suffice it to say that it was the ride of my life. The table I ended up on deserves a little more description, but the phone has already gotten to that: candles, a capella orchestra, and—best of all—my gourmet date.
Ooh, what was she, though? I couldn’t see her from that angle, with the burning candle blocking my field of vision, but I could almost smell something exotic—maybe Thai. More than likely it was my own unkempt stench which I’ve probably never smelled anything beyond.
“Ahem.” I cleared my throat of greasy phlegm. “Hello,” I ventured over the candlelight.
Gourmet gagged. “Ew. You have got to be kidding me.”
“I—excuse me.” I didn’t like the tone of her voice.
“You’re fast food!” she screeched.
“I—uh—” Of course. “The phone didn’t tell you?”
“I thought it had to be a joke. It is a joke, isn’t it? You’re not fast food, there’s something more under that paper veneer.”
“No, I—” I complained, but a hand—ugh, the most disgusting thing imaginable—ripped my clothes off and lifted me naked for the entire world to see.
Gourmet giggled now. It was so much worse than gagging. My insides turned pink. I gave up, gave in. There was nothing more for me. Thank the Holy Cow, Creator up above, a slobbery, cavernous black hole devoured me, sending me on a journey unknown, through depths even darker than these.
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New Orleans, LA