“What We Have Here…”

His cowboy hat was askew and she had nothing in common with him. As far as she could see. Which would have been fine, except it mattered: she wanted to be in a relationship.

She looked idly up at the Christmas lights hanging from the ceiling. If people keep decorating seasonally and leaving it up because it looks good, where will this all end?

“Hi”, he said.

“Hi!” she gasped, squashing a sudden jangle of nerves and giving him her flirtatious look: a smile that went full-out in her eyes but didn’t fully reach her mouth. To add allure.

“I was going to rob this place, but then I saw you and changed my mind,” he said.

“What?”

He grinned at her and showed her a gun tucked under his jacket. “You made me change my mind. You’re interesting.”

“You’re scaring me,” she said, looking down the bar for the tender, who had disappeared into the back a couple minutes ago and hadn’t yet come back.

The light went out in his eyes. “Huh,” he said, and turned away, back to his beer and whatever was on TV.

She sat stone-still. Moments passed. The bartender came back. Cowboy Man picked up his gun and slid it back into his holster casually as he said, “Hey Jess, what’s up?”

Jess-the-Bartender shrugged. “Not much, man.” They started talking about the game on the TV.

Waaait. He’d been kidding, hadn’t he? Had to be. Here was a guy who’d maybe just done something interesting, y’know, not the normal pickup line. Startling. Surprising. And she’d been… scared of him. Shit.

But try as she might, now she could get neither Cowboy’s nor Jess’s attention. After several minutes, she finally left, confused, feeling stupid, alone.


March 19th through the 23rd–the third week of the third month of 2012–is flash fiction week on the Nose. All stories to have three characters and top out at 300 words.

Grazina Strolia is a photographer, singer, artist, and writer. She lives in Highland Park, New Jersey, with two cats and a string of brightly colored lanterns.

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9 thoughts on ““What We Have Here…”

  1. “What we have there…”

    She walked into the bar in a tight fitting green bodice and legs that went all the way to the sky. He figured that a girl like that was looking for some company and he knew he had to impress her with a pick-up line she’d never forget in order to have a chance. But how to play this just right… he thought… Should I ask if I can buy her a beer? No… too shallow… Should i compliment her cowboy boots? No… too desperate… He wished he could wrangle a woman as easily as he could wrangle his herd, but nothing about this woman indicated that she could be corralled by a couple of shepherd dogs and a finely placed lasso.

    She smiled at him in a way that made it even more difficult to think. The arousal that he felt from that smile alone could keep him happy for days, but he needed to think fast in order to have a chance with her… THE GUN, he thought… I’LL SHOW HER MY GUN! What fine woman doesn’t like a man who holstered a fine looking gun like his?

    “Hi”, he said.

    “Hi!” she gasped, in a voice that could only be construed as flirtatious.

    “I was going to rob this place, but then I saw you and changed my mind,” he said.

    “What?” she exclaimed, obviously excited by his dark and sinister sounding pick-up line.

    He grinned at her and showed her a gun tucked under his jacket. “You made me change my mind. You’re interesting.”

    “You’re scaring me,” she said and looked down the bar for the tender, who had disappeared into the back a couple minutes ago and hadn’t yet come back.

    He’d failed… He’d gone a bit too far, and felt like he lost his perfect opportunity.

    “Huh,” he managed to get out, and then he turned away, back to his beer, pretending to watch TV, and thought about another blown opportunity.

    He never could understand women. He chatted up the bartender and ignored the woman for the next couple of minutes until she finished her drink and left the bar.

    “The expression really is spot on!” he said to the bartender.

    “What expression would that be?”

    “Men are from Marietta and Women are from Venus… Texas, that is…”

  2. OK, although I originally wrote this in my mind and thought it would be really short, this story as it originally existed was somewhere around a whopping 600 words. It had ennui, and The Smiths, and oh well.
    I did manage to take my character from my first blog post–about a stop along the New Jersey Turnpike–and sort of turn it on its head, and I am proud of that. Yaaay. Also, I didn’t kill anyone. Ha! 🙂

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