Unplugged (7″ Fiction)

There’s someone for everyone. How’s that for a platitude? With the gene pool creaking at just over six billion, you’d think that has to be true. But considering I’ll only ever meet a handful of those people, well, the future probably looks slightly less promising after all.

We worked together through the dog days of a lingering winter. On the mornings when the rain slicked the pavements, she drove us there. When it turned to ice I met her at the station and we took the train in together.

‘What do you think of David?’

‘Who’s David?’

‘The new guy in Accounts.’

I didn’t know she fancied him. ‘He seems a bit of a dick.’

She was quiet for a moment.

‘Yeah, I suppose he does.’

I tried to set her up with my friend Karl, but she was having none of it. I couldn’t really blame her. He was a dick too – I’d misjudged how desperate she was.

It ended badly anyway. She got a better job and twelve of us went for drinks on payday weekend. I only remember two of the five bars we hit. I was so drunk I missed all the signs; I missed everything.

‘Come here and talk to my sister on the phone.’

She pulled me into the ladies toilet and I slurred some half-arsed, embarrassed nonsense until I could get away. Later, we were stood at the edge of a dancefloor and I suddenly realised she’d been talking to me for about twenty minutes. How did that happen? I strained to pick out her words over the supersonic bass of Stevie Wonder’s Superstition.

‘You haven’t heard a word I’ve said have you?’

‘No.’ My compulsive honesty is often quite badly misplaced.

She shrugged and knocked back three shots in a row. I watched her pupils dilate in the pulsing orange light. Tomorrow morning it would hit me – a weak radio signal caught up in the shortwaves of nausea – just how fucking stupid I was.


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