“Sudden Romance”

As Megan ran for the #77 bus Thursday morning, she skidded on a patch of ice outside Starbucks, hit the pavement, and blacked out.

She woke up in the ER at Baptist Memorial next to a handsome skinny dude strapped to a gurney guarded by a policeman.

An attending nurse was asking Megan questions about what she remembered when an explosion occurred in the restroom.

In the confusion that followed, in that sliver of an interval, the skinny dude unstrapped himself and snatched the policeman’s gun. He waved it around, then pointed it at the nurse. “I’ll shoot the bitch if you don’t lemme outta here!”

Everyone but the policeman backed away. He looked helplessly at Megan, who stood just a few feet away from the skinny dude.

Still woozy from her fall, she came up with a crazy diversionary tactic. She reached out to kiss the gunman. As he leaned away, she buried her tongue in the cave of his nicotine-and-coffee mouth, effectively immobilizing him.

Megan was acclaimed a heroine, and Buzzfeed ran a story about her courage and sexiness. She began receiving offers for everything from speaking engagements to marriage.

After marrying Rob, she moved to Buffalo, where Rob’s family ran a legal firm.  She started work at the office but within a year had twins, Briana and Jake, and mothering became her full-time job. She occasionally replayed the gun incident at the hospital, sometimes with the roles reversed.

When Briana and Jake were five, she divorced Rob, who’d been having an affair with her replacement at the firm, a mousy woman also named Megan. She’d had a chance to cheat on Rob with a junior partner named Matt but had declined out of a misplaced sense of propriety.

With her kids in school every day, she grew lonely and started dating men she found on Craigslist, mainly skinny guys who didn’t last longer than half a date. A couple even turned threatening.

After a few bad scares, she purchased a Glock and practiced at a shooting range for three weeks. She turned out to be a crack shot. But still lonely, still hopeful. The gun brought back memories. She joined OkCupid to up her game.

Now it’s tonight, and you’ve just had dinner with Megan at an upscale café named Morgana’s. She invites you to her place and says the kids are at a sleepover. After a drink or two, you end up on the couch, but as you get horizontal, she pulls a gun. Pointing it at your crotch with her right hand, she holds you steady with her left as she leans in for a deep and lasting kiss.

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David Galef

About David Galef

David Galef is a shameless eclectic, with over a dozen books in two dozen directions. They include the novels Flesh and How to Cope with Suburban Stress, the story collections Laugh Track and My Date with Neanderthal Woman, the poetry books Flaws and Kanji Poems, and Brevity: A Flash Fiction Handbook. He is a professor of English and the creative writing program director at Montclair State University.



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