Harry was in the passenger seat. His friend was driving—too fast. The car smelled like a hospital.

“Slow down,” Harry said.

Shawn slammed on the gas, and they went 20 miles-per-hour faster through residential streets.

“Come on, I don’t want you to hit a kid,” Harry said.

His friend hesitated, and then drove faster, laughing.

“My ex-girlfriend negotiated traffic, just like this.”

He drove between two cars at 50 miles-per-hour.

“What’s the matter? Does my driving make you clench?”

Harry was relaxed. It was his friend who was clenching the steering wheel. Shawn was unable to deal with the break-up with his girlfriend, and it bothered him that Harry was so relaxed.

Shawn was working-out at the gym, constantly. He liked to do squats. Harry hated to do squats—it showed. When they got out of the car, Shawn stripped down to his short-shorts and tank-top, sporting an American flag. Harry wore his camo cargo shorts his aunt bought him in 7th grade. He had on a loose-fitting t-shirt. They walked down the trail together, talking…

“Check-out this girl—my sister set me up with her,” Shawn said. “She’s a 10.”

Harry looked at her picture. She was wearing a sports bra and neon spandex shorts.

“Isn’t she hot? She’s 24. I think my sisters admire me more, that I can attract a woman like that. We are becoming better, man. I have a Ph.D. I think it was the Ph.D. that attracted her to me.”

“It could be,” Harry said.

“Why don’t you ask out Courtney?”

“I did.”


“She said no.”

“She’s a 7 out of 10, man. I think you could get a 7. Maybe if you start doing squats and you get a better job, you can attract a 7.”

“Maybe,” Harry said. He was thinking about last week, at the restaurant. Shawn’s sister was trying to set him up on a date.

“She’s 30, and she wants to go out with you.”

“No blind dates—” Harry said.

“Why don’t you give her a chance? She’s not bad looking.”

“I only want to date a woman who is 24, or younger.”

“That’s better than you can do.”

“Leo does that.”

“But that’s because he’s famous. Someone like you can’t attract her.”

Harry didn’t care.

Now, Shawn was talking to him about the job he was going to get. “It pays 200,000 dollars a year. If I get that job, I can get any girl. I’m 32, man. I feel like my expiration date is eminent.”

“I’m 3 years older than you.”

“I know. You’ve expired… I’m only joking,” he laughed.

Harry and Shawn walked back to the car. It smelled like someone had pooped their pants and the diaper had been changed.

“My sister has been calling me for the last hour. I was supposed to bring her dinner, and she’s mad. I’ll drop you off,” Shawn said.

He was driving with one hand, while shifting, and talking to his sister on the phone. Occasionally, he changed the radio.

Harry was clenching now.

The End


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