Click and twitch: A short story

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Elina Blazhiyevska/Staff

“I want to hear your triple threat.”

I almost spit out the water I had stolen from the bottle in his cup holder. “My what?”

He looked unphased. “I mean your best drunk, high, and sexual experiences.”

I laughed softly, then stopped. Clearly he was taking this very seriously. “The last time I heard ‘triple threat’ was at basketball practice in seventh grade.” I prepared to describe my previous life as an athlete, mentally sifting through the most exciting parts to emphasize and then stopped, once again. He wasn’t paying attention or even looking in my general direction. It was laughable, almost — how little he pretended to care.

“Why don’t you tell me your triple threat first?” I said, and he began without pause.

As he spoke, filling the car with images of him chugging beers and sloppily karaoking with colleagues, I watched him. He wasn’t overwhelmingly animated, but a part of him was always moving; sometimes he would grasp the cup holder at the end of a sentence or straighten his neck back onto the headrest when he laughed. His laugh wasn’t deep or contagious; it was nasally and immature. He reminded me of a middle schooler.

And yet, here he was telling me about his drunken relations with a female colleague in way too much detail, expecting me to relate in some way, to congratulate him. I surveyed the car looking for something or someone to reassure me that this was not the norm. All I found were hockey sticks. A truck pulled into the lot and he locked the door, causing the car to click and twitch. Maybe he thought that it turned me on.

I let my eyes fall onto the horizon — the Golden Gate Bridge vaguely illuminated, the city of Berkeley looking dense and disorganized from so far away, all my friends and professors and relatives separated from me by a condensation-covered piece of glass. I could feel him tapering off, pauses between his sentences becoming longer, almost warranting a response. He looked at me so expectantly that I had to laugh. I opened my mouth to speak, careful not to let any of my disgust escape with my words, and was interrupted once again —

“So, speaking of sex…”

Contact Isabel Lichtman at [email protected]

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