The Quietus - A new rock music and pop culture website

Tome On The Range

Short Fiction By: Ryan Sartor
Karl Smith , July 19th, 2015 10:16

New writing on The Quietus comes to you this week in the form of short fiction in the truest sense of the term, via NYC's Ryan Sartor

Speed Dating, 12/30/13

Paper napkins, straws, cherries, lemon, lime and orange slices, quartered off with flip up clear flaps facing every other stool. Room for jackets, purses, bags to hang on hooks beneath the lip, marginalia never close enough to knock a neighbor’s knees. A long wooden floor led to a white room of tables and chairs addressing a boxed bar game, a sign-up sheet on a nail on a post, so far tonight unsigned. A front room’s fake fireplace warmed patrons in maroon leather sofas, comfy, compact, personal, soft, tempting even the timid to doze off during a date.

Mike and Jeff looked around and found the poorly lit stairwell, walked down and found the woman holding nametags. They moved to the fifth of six tables, a metal holder holding a white sign, the number five. More people were given nametags and spoke to tagalong friends if they spoke at all at first. When it was his turn, Mike drew for a woman and heard “football” and “hair” before “pineapple,” which was too late, and moved on to the next one, saying, “Hi, how are you?”

He went upstairs to the bar with hooks and saw the woman again and she told him that he didn’t look comfortable. He said that was some-thing to say and asked how long she’d been standing there and could she lean in closer to the overhead light because he thought he’d like how it looked on her as Jeff walked by following a woman from charades to the back room boxed bar game to maybe sign up or just grab a seat, drink, nap, talk or say goodnight.

Ryan Sartor's prose has appeared in Vol. 1 Brooklyn. He hosts The Difficult to Name Reading Series in New York City.