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Today's Story by Will McNeice

I am a bad flirt.

The Exhibits

“I would like to have a secret,” says the girl standing next to me, the wine in her glass swelling like the ocean in a storm, the eyes half closed, the lips parted unnaturally, the makeup fuzzy like an out-of-focus photograph.

“What is it?” I ask her.

She leans in close; I smell her breath – it is stale from the cigarettes and the wine. A breast brushes against my shoulder and I am acutely aware of its plumpness, its size and undulation inside the bra. I have held enough breasts to know that if I were to hold this one, the skin would be soft and thin, would roll between my fingers and would be a little sweaty on the underside where the breast touches the chest; the nipple would be a stark contrasting stone and I would most likely be able to push the two breasts close enough so that I could hold both nipples with one hand.

“Sorry, I didn’t hear you.” I ask her to repeat what she said and she leans even closer. She rests her hand on my chest and I feel the weight of her as she steadies herself and I feel all five fingers brush down my shirt and I imagine her fingers continuing further down and I wonder which of us lives closer, and again I did not hear what she said.

“It’s really loud in here. Would you like to go somewhere a little quieter?”

Her eyes widen at my suggestion and I see she has skipped forward to the meaning of my words, and she smiles and nods. She is entering the stage of drunkenness where higher functions shut down and the primal functions take over and her smile is both innocent and not. My primal functions are also taking over but I want to hear her secret. I take her to the balcony so she can tell me her secret where the smokers are drinking and chatting and smoking. It seems that everybody is loosened up and flirting. Even though I have a girl, I still stare at the other girls, who get prettier with every sip of wine. I left my wine in the main room on the table beside the Roman exhibit. I wonder if I can go get the wine but I do not want the girl to leave without me.

“So what’s your secret?” I ask her again.

“I don’t know,” she says. “I just think it’d be cool to have one. Do you have any secrets?”

“No big ones, but I can think of one I’d like to have.” I am a bad flirt.

She laughs and falls into me and again her hand touches my chest and this time her hip rubs mine. I put my arm around her and she moves closer, so that much of our bodies are touching. I know now that everything will be all right – I do not need to drink any more alcohol though I would like to.

“Where do you live?” I say.

“Not far from here. Do you want to come back with me?”

I nod and we leave the balcony. She is swaying. We reenter the room and it is somehow louder and more chaotic than before. I know from experience that it is a trick of the alcohol and that my senses are losing their focus: all noise is the same level and the guests move in swift, jerky motions that I have trouble tracking; my tongue feels swollen and my lips are a little numb. I look for the exit and it takes me over fifteen seconds to find it. I move us toward it when she stops and pulls away.

“I need to pee.”

“Good idea,” I say, “I’ll go too. Shall I meet you at the front door?”

She nods and staggers to the ladies’ toilet. I go to the mens’ and bump the doorframe. I undo my trousers and pee into the urinal and at the same time I see the condom machine in a mirror. I realise I have no condom and I need to buy one. I do not particularly like using condoms but I do not want to get her pregnant and I do not know if she has any diseases. I am sure she does not because she seems like a shy girl and I am sure I will not get her pregnant, but I do not want her to say no because we have no condom. With this amount of alcohol in my system I will last for a decent amount of time, but with the added de-sensitivity of the condom, I might only get one orgasm.

I swivel my head to look for the machine and feel something warm on my leg. I have peed on my trousers. I curse and jump into a cubicle, bumping the door on my way in. I grab handfuls of toilet roll and dab away as much of the urine as possible. I have been drinking all night so my urine is clear, and if she mentions the wet patch I can tell her the taps are faulty and it is only water. I look at the time on my phone and see that I have been in here for almost ten minutes. I run out, hoping she is still there.

She is not at the front door. I go and stand by the front door in the hope that if I stand there, she will appear. Then I see her come out of the ladies’, rough, swaying from side to side, wet patches embellishing the front of her dress, but because it’s dark they are not very noticeable. I go to help her and as I touch her elbow she looks up. She does not recognise me, but then she smiles as if she does.

“Are you ready to go?” I ask.

She nods like an enthusiastic child and her chin falls on her chest. I walk her to the door but I am almost carrying her, and as we reach the door two women appear from somewhere and take hold of her. They are pulling her away from me faster than I can keep up.

“Thanks for taking care of her,” one of them shouts back. “We’ll make sure she gets home.”

I stand for a moment and wonder if I can chase them, but I realise the girl is too drunk to do anything with, so I look around at the room. There are fewer people now, particularly women, and particularly women who are not already talking to men, and I look at my phone. The time has sped by and I cannot remember what I did with it. I look for my glass, but the Roman exhibit, as well as all the other exhibits, has been removed. I go to the bar and the barman looks at me strangely as I ask for a drink. He asks me to repeat my request.

I sip the wine and it doesn’t lie well in my stomach. I shouldn’t drink any more especially if I want to talk to more girls and make a good impression. I should go home but I want to look at girls and talk to them. I look at my phone and see that I’ve been drinking this glass of wine for almost an hour. The man I’m talking to is very interesting but I can’t remember his name or what he’s talking about and I’m not that interested because he’s not a girl and I’m only interested in girls. I take another sip of wine and when I look up he’s gone and I’m a little relieved and look around for some girls to talk to. I’m talking to another man but he also disappears. I find an old friend I haven’t seen in years and I’m amazed at the coincidence and I tell him how amazing it is to see him and he tells me I should go home and then he disappears. I had a chance with a girl earlier in the night and I want to repeat the experience with another girl but I can’t find any girls to talk to. There are only men left at the party. I don’t know anybody. There’s a damp patch on my trousers but I don’t remember spilling my drink.

Will McNeice is a fiction and travel writer living in Poland. He writes stories and novels and he maintains BohemianBreakdancer.com, a travel blog which has a loyal following of people who like travel writing.


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