Like most Saturdays that summer, I was at Angie's. I scanned the tops of her kitchen cupboards, observing the collection of unused devices up there: juicers, melon ballers, fruit dryers... Angie and I always seemed to end up eating take-out, but she loved her kitchen gadgets.
One device in particular got my attention. It was the Sandwich Blaster 5000, a thing like a little white briefcase with a power cord. I was impressed: the grilled cheese sandwich (already a low-effort food) had been simplified.
"I love that one!" Angie said. I could tell: its accumulated layer of dust was much thinner than on the other gadgets.
"I could cook for you, you know...." I offered.
"Oooh!" she said, blue-green eyes flashing with mischief. "You're a seduction machine, I swear."
I smiled. "Nah. I'm just polite."
"No, really," Angie countered. "Chicks dig the astrology, and you're well-spoken. I'll bet you're a huge Pickup Artist."
I shrugged. "Not really."
"I'd love to watch some time."
"You... you'd want to watch me...?"
"Pick up some chick. Yeah. Might be fun."
I wasn't quite sure how to take that. It was often hard to tell how much seriousness there were to Angie's jokes. I smiled at her. "I'd better not. You're a Gemini -- it's already like there are two of you."
I sat at Angie's computer, checking my e-mails. She wandered in, eating something. She looked over my shoulder at my inbox.
"You get a lot of women writing to you." she said.
"Friends and clients. And they aren't all women," I looked at what she was eating. It was a slice of bread with something-or-other inside, mashed into a hot packet by the Sandwich Blaster 5000. "What's in there?" I asked.
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She stuck it in my mouth. "Try it, it's pretty good!"
Having no other viable option, I chewed. It was leftover shrimp balls from last night's Chinese food, and cheese. Surprisingly, it was pretty good.
Angie looked over my e-mails again. I studied her closely for her response. "Are you sure you aren't jealous?"
"Nope," she answered. "Why would I want to be with a man no other woman ever wanted?"
I considered this for a few seconds, and decided I couldn't argue with her logic.
We lay in bed together, eating. The Sandwich Blaster 5000 was on her dresser, next to her jewelery box, an empty bottle of wine, a loaf of bread and a stack of cheese slices. She had decided it would be easier to bring it into the bedroom rather than going downstairs to the kitchen all the time.
"Let me get this straight: not only are you not jealous, you'd actually enjoy watching me picking up some woman?"
"How many times do I have to tell you? It would be fun. I've never watched it being done before," she answered.
She reached for the night table on her side and took a long swig from our second wine bottle of the evening. She pinched my cheek. "God you're cute!" she said. "But you worry about my moods too much."
I awoke to a sharp stinging sensation on my arm. I sat up and saw Angie standing over me, holding the Sandwich Blaster 5000. She had whipped me with the power cord.
"You left your e-mail open. Who the hell is this 'Miriam' skank you've got on the side?" she slurred.
Numerous thoughts collided in my mind: how big the welt on my arm would be tomorrow, why Angie was going through my e-mails, the fact that Miriam was a former co-worker in another city and that the most scandalous thing we had ever done together was gossip about our boss... and yet my main thought was this:
The Sandwich Blaster 5000 sure is versatile. It's almost as flexible as Angie's moods. Almost.
I grabbed my pants and ran for the door.
Greetings! My name is Jo-Anne Penn-Kast, but you can call me Jo. I’m not a psychic (I don’t think), nor a mystical guru, and I don’t do card tricks. In fact, I’m more than usually ordinary. But I do know some extraordinary... read more