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Danny Makes a Friend

It had been a little more than two weeks since Danny returned to Oakland. He was back at work at Creava, an app developer. Danny was in the games division; his current project, which he’d begun in Milton, was called “Game of Bones.” It was a dog-walking challenge, sure to be a hit: users piled up points every time their pet went peepee, with different scores for grass, bushes, trees, telephone poles, fire hydrants. Fifty cents of the $3.99 download price went to the local SPCA.

He was at home, in Nick’s apartment, on one of the rare Friday nights when both Nick and Flambé were out. Danny popped a beer and sat back on the couch to watch T.V. Idly flicking through the channels, he had the sudden inspiration to text Cindy, the Lyft driver.

Hey, it’s Danny, the guy you picked up at Oakland Airport a while back. Remember? Well I was wondering if you wanted to get together for coffee or something.

Almost as soon as he sent it, the reply came back.

Love to! When did you have in mind?

Wow, Danny thought. That was fast.

What are you doing tomorrow evening?

Nothing! My social life leaves something to be desired lol.

Maybe grab a drink?

Sounds good! Nine okay?


Cindy lived off Piedmont Avenue, near Kaiser. They agreed to meet at Playa Bar. Danny was nervous. Was this a date? A casual chat? A meet, greet and dump? That was the thing; you never knew if something was going to work out. For that matter, you never even knew what “work out” meant.

He wasn’t sure what he was looking for. Sure, he wouldn’t mind having a special lady friend. He wasn’t the most physical guy in the world, but he had his desires. He was 27, making fairly good money at Creava, and while he wasn’t looking to settle down, it wasn’t out of the question.

On the Saturday, he went to 24 Hour Fitness and had a long workout, aerobic and weights, followed by a hot shower. Then he slung his gym bag over his shoulder, dropped it off at Nick’s, and walked down to Playa. It was a balmy May night, warm enough to tease out the jasmine. He felt a stirring in his blood.

She was already there, sitting in a booth. She stood when she saw him. They shook hands. He wanted to hug her, but with all the #MeToo business, wasn’t sure if she’d consider that invasive of her personal space.

Cindy wouldn’t have minded hugging Danny either, but, like him, she held back. Don’t be needy, she told herself. Still, she liked what she saw. Danny was a cutie. Not very tall, only three or four inches more than her own 5’6”, but well-proportioned, with a flat stomach and narrow waist, and she could tell that he was a weightlifter. He also had, she noticed approvingly, a nice ass.

Danny took the lead. “What would’ya like?”

“Umm, I don’t know.” Cindy studied the chalkboard. “I guess a Negroni.”

“Give me a minute.” Danny walked to the bar. It was crowded. The bartender was mixing drinks; there was nothing to do but wait. He smiled over his shoulder to Cindy. She smiled back.

When he got their drinks (despite his preference for gimlets he, like her, had a Negroni), Nick went back to their booth. He lifted his glass; she brought hers to his with a clink. They both said “L’chaim!” and laughed at the simultaneity. Danny felt like he knew her, even though they’d barely exchanged a dozen words.

Two hours and four Negronis later, Cindy said she had to be going, to walk her French bulldog, Klutz. “You okay to drive?” Danny asked. Cindy grinned. “I’m fine.” He walked her to her car, the white Camry she’d picked him up in. She unlocked the door but didn’t get in, just stood there. So did he.

It was “that moment.” Should he? Shouldn’t he?

He didn’t have to wonder long. Before he knew it, Cindy took him into her arms and shoved her tongue through his all-too-willing lips. Danny reciprocated, parrying her tongue mid-palate with his own. Each had the impression of exploring infinite sweetness. Then, wordlessly, she tugged away, got into her car, and drove away.

Danny watched as the Camry headed west down Grand. Even when it had vanished into the distance, he remained transfixed. He was, it occurred to him, high, and not just from the drinks. It was as though he had forgotten how to walk. Or maybe he simply didn’t want to jar the memory of what had happened. When he finally caught himself moving, he had no idea how long he’d been standing. He was left with a single, ravishing thought: Cindy!

  1. Jason Lauren says:

    I applaud your initiative and creative literary service to our community.

    I’d like to meet you to discuss possible common interests.

    Warfield Ave

  2. Jason – happy to meet w/ you.

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