“How many sexual partners have you had?”
“In total or in the last year?”
Corey shifted in his seat a little and took a long sip off his Gingerbread Latte. He was never good at hiding an uncomfortable moment. Brad smiled coarsely and bite his bottom lip.
“Imagine if you could, without any sort of shame, keep track of those 7 women. Their goings and comings, no pun intended. Come on, Corey. Imagine with me. We all love to know. We all need to know. MySpace, Facebook, Friendster, whatever. A place for friends. This is a place for ex’s. You want to see the jacked up Stanford track star that little Sheila is fucking this month? He’ll be there. All his vitals. Height, weight, political party, favorite soft drink, desires, fears. If the guy is a flaming racist, you’ll know exactly what kinds of people he hates.”
“How can you guarantee people will be honest and offer up all that information?”
“Because everyone wants to A) flaunt their sex lives and B) stalk the people they’ve fucked in the past. What’s the name of your hardest break-up, the one that got away?”
“Marge.” Brad laughed at the blunt, anachronistic name.
“You dated a Marge? Like, the Simpsons character?”
“Yeah. Her name was really Marge. Her favorite novel was Great Gatsby, she spoke 3 languages, lived in a studio on Valencia, and knew one of the guys from the band Beulah.”
“Oh, I’m sure she’s great. She sounds like a real catch and a half. Got a photo?”
“Why would I carry a picture of my ex-girlfriend around?”
“Just answer the question, Corey. Do. You. Have. A. Photo?” Corey slumped back into his seat and pulled out an iPhone. The wallpaper was a rather stunning picture of a tall, brunette with dark horn-rimmed glasses and a faded cardigan sweater. Harsh sunlight and the crashing waves of the Pacific Ocean framed her lithe figure.
“Marge,” Corey said in a monotone voice so flat you could skate on it.
“She’s pretty. Not my type, but pretty. Where did you meet?”
“You’re an animal guy?”
“No, I worked there. Fed the binobos. She was with her boyfriend at the time.”
“I can understand how she fell for you, seeing that you were delivering snacks to monkeys.”
“Sometimes, you lock eyes with a woman and she locks eyes with you. You share a moment. A brief one, and then you keep walking. Not this time. I dropped my tray of bananas and followed her.”
“Shit, man. That’s borderline creepy. What did you say to her?”
“I asked her how long she had known her boyfriend.”
Brad raised an index finger to stop Corey.
“Where did you find the balls for that?”
“I figured it couldn’t hurt to try.”
“OK, go on.”
“She says, ‘2 months.’ I say, ‘are you happy with him?’ She says ‘I guess. He’s interesting.’ I laughed a little bit.”
Brad had the bad habit of cracking his knuckles at inappropriate moments and couldn’t help but crack all 10 of his digits, plus the neck.
“Bored?” Corey blurted out.
“No, no. Ummm…how did you respond to that?”
“I said pretty plainly, and I’m not usually this calm or forward, ‘People only say something is interesting if they don’t like it, but are afraid to admit it.’ That got her attention and she kinda smiled a little.”
“What happened to the guy? The boyfriend. Did he just stand there and take it or what?”
“He seemed kinda pissed, but he wasn’t much bigger than me. 5’8” or something like that. Kinda dorky, Mission hipster bike rider guy. He just walked off. Probably had more important things to worry about, like a bootleg Mothra DVD or the ozone layer or whatever people worry about in this town.”
“Earthquakes. The End of the World. Republicans. Tourism.”
“Right, right. After that, we spent the rest of my shift together. She helped me feed the primates for awhile and then we fed ourselves. I was broke, so we ate some of the left over bananas. It was cute. I asked and she gave her number.”
“How did it end?”
“Not really important to the story.”
“Sure. Well, my point is served either way. You still hold out hope for Marge to come back, otherwise you wouldn’t have her picture on your phone. Plus, you have an atypical courtship story to tell. Think about getting to tell that story on the internet, for everyone to see. And then you can read other people’s stories about how they met or broke up with their significant others. It’s one big group therapy session.”
“What do you call the website?”
“That’s definitely taken.”
“Pretty stupid, actually.”
“I kinda like that. Edgy, potent, you get the point pretty quickly.”
“Have I sold you on this?”
“If you’re asking if I want to invest, the answer is ‘no.’ I haven’t seen a prospectus or a real business plan. Until I see those documents, I can’t put my money into your venture.”