Stories

Badminton

I must’ve read the Catcher in the Rye maybe a thousand times, if not two. And so now each time it’s dark and cold and I’m walking around town, looking for a drink, looking for the ducks, looking for goddam anything, I feel like Holden goddam Caulfield.

So I was in this bar and there was a girl who looked as sad as I did, and I kind of got it in my head that she probably wanted me to go over there and talk to her, so we could start goddam crying together or something. The thing is, she was good-looking as well as sad-looking and, truth be told, I was feeling that I could do with a little tenderness right now, to help out with the sadness and all.

Obviously I wanted to say something pretty goddam sharp, so I spent what must have been half a goddam hour thinking about what I was going to say. So eventually I started walking over to her, feeling pretty confident all the while she was looking in the other goddam direction. When she got so close I could have poked her in the eye, boy did I consider doing a one-eighty and getting the hell out of there. But you know what’s funny? She didn’t look at all surprised to find me there, breathing on her goddam nose and all. And she didn’t look sad anymore, that’s what got me, she didn’t look sad anymore, not one goddam bit. And boy was she special-looking. Like a dream.

I was feeling kind of nervous so I just came out with those lines of poetry I’d been composing for the last sixteen goddam hours. I cleared my throat, took a swig of beer, and then asked her if she would consider playing badminton or making love to me sometime, making it clear that, being a gentleman and everything, we could always start with the latter and, in the fullness of goddam time, progress to the former. She sort of coughed for about five goddam minutes, and then told me that she’d never played badminton in her whole goddam life, and she sure as hell wasn’t about to take it up now. Boy, was I sad after that.