Extract from "The Right Chemistry"
“Geez, how come they let the waitresses here wear such short skirts? Don’t they know it’s hard to concentrate on eating when they’re parading around like that?” The young man in the red polo shirt wipes a bead of perspiration off his forehead.
“You wouldn’t be so distracted,” says the man with the blue sweater, “if you didn’t spend the entire meal watching them.”
“But look at her. The redhead with the fishnet stockings. I’ve never seen a woman so beautiful. I’m in love.”
The man in the black sports coat chuckles in the way only a married man can. “Yeah, sure. You can tell you’re in love just by looking at her legs.”
The young man in the red polo shirt turns his head back to his dinner companions. “I’m not exaggerating, fellas. She’s the one for me. I’d drive her to Vegas tonight and get married if—”
“If what?” asks the man in the blue sweater. “If you could only work up the guts to talk to her first? What a wuss!”
“Help me, please. I really mean it. Just looking at her makes my knees shaky. What should I do?”
“Get Borman here to introduce you. He’s good with the ladies.” Everyone at the table laughs. Everyone except the fourth member of the party — a slightly older, slightly stouter, slightly balder man. He brings his napkin to his mouth to hide a smile. “Actually, gentlemen—”
“Just walk over to her,” says the man in the blue sweater to the young man in the red polo shirt. “Ask the poor wench if she’d like to have a drink with you after work. What’s the worst that can happen?”
The young man in the red polo shirt lets his head drop into his hands. “I couldn’t. I’m too nervous.”
“Oh, for crying out loud,” says the man in the black sports coat. “If it’s that bad, let me give you one of my anxiety pills. Put it under your tongue and it’ll work immediately. Maybe you should take two.”
As the man in the black jacket reaches into his pocket, the slightly older, slightly balder man clears his throat. “I’m afraid benzodiazepines may be an injudicious medicament for amorous diffidence,” he says.
“Dispensing a prescription medication without a license is not only illegal, it can have unexpected consequences.”
“Christ!” says the man in the blue sweater. “Leave it to Warren Borman to turn everything into a problem.”
“It’s just some chill pills,” says the man in the black sports coat. “Everybody takes them. In fact, ever since the day I got married—”
“Be that as it may,” says Warren. “It takes a trained medical professional to prescribe the proper dosage and regimen.” He grabs the bottle from the man in the black sports coat. “In fact, if you will permit me to relate an edifying story—”
“Here it comes,” says the man in the blue sweater. “Another one of Borman’s stories. If I’ve heard one, I’ve heard a million of them. It’s always some bullshit that winds up with him getting a free drink or a free meal. They’re all the same.”
“I can assure you—” says Warren, slipping the pill bottle under his napkin.
“Oh, yeah? Well, I can assure you something, pal. You’re not getting anything out of any of us tonight. In fact, I think it’s high time somebody got something back from you.” The man in the blue sweater takes the pen provided by the restaurant for signing credit card receipts and starts to write on his napkin. “Before you tell your story, Borman, I’m going to write down exactly what’s going to happen. I’ll hide it under this plate until you’re done. If I’m wrong, I’ll pay for everybody’s dinner. But if I’m right, you’ll not only pay all the tabs, you’ll make sure our friend here gets a date with Miss Fishnet. Deal?”
Warren glances at the four checks on the table, his mouth moving as he tallies them. “Upon the unlikely chance of you losing this wager,” he finally says to the man in the blue sweater, “will you also agree to be responsible for the matchmaking?”
“Hell, yeah, Borman. I’m so sure of myself, I’ll even promise to make sure he gets laid.”
Four pairs of eyes turn toward the red haired young woman in the fishnet stockings as she crosses the room carrying an orange glacé cake, a bowl of fresh fruit, and two servings of Dark Chocolate, Plum and Chantilly Millefeuille.
The young man in the red polo shirt lets out a slight whimper. “I don’t know, guys—”
“Well, I do,” says the man in the blue sweater.
“We shall see,” says Warren.