Leticia Was Her Name

Submitted into Contest #216 in response to: Include dialogue that shows that a character is socially awkward.... view prompt


Contemporary Coming of Age Funny

There has to be more life in my life! That's it. Get out there...

It was a social gathering for twenty-somethings, and everyone welcomed her, although those hi-how-are-yous were beginning to wear thin.

She was a little heavy, yet dressed so nicely, her hopeful eyes scanning the room. Will I be happy here? It seemed so natural to let down her guard: Finally, I'm home; this is the place!

It could have been a wonderful evening, but that was before she made losing weight her topic of conversation. People indulging in that light spirit and bonhomie engendered by expensive wine, hors d'oeuvres, and rare cheese—could not imagine such a topic being broached, let alone discussed. Sensing difficulty, the hostess of the party cracked wise.

"Leticia!" she began, raising her voice and waiting until nearly everyone had stopped talking. "Please feel free to enjoy yourself. With your dieting expertise, I do not doubt that we'll see less of you the next time we meet!"

Being the center of attention caused Leticia to blush so profusely that it put her makeup to shame. It was as apparent to her as to anyone else in the room, their gasps and grins making it clear: newcomers must fit in and be a part of things. Nevertheless, even under the weight of all that attention, Leticia plunked a bundle of posters on the dinner table.

"Ok! No problem!" she announced. "I have coupons for anyone who wants them! Just ask!"


The beauty of nature eases the soul. Always seek comfort in what is natural and beautiful.

After a light meal, it was a short walk to the gleaming patio, the fading light casting an evening summer glow. At least the cement and brick with its terracotta planters was appealing. But once outside, the experienced eye could see what many others couldn't. That cookie-cutter two-story house had strained-to-fit vinyl siding over haphazardly fitted particle board walls, topped off with thin contractor-grade shingle roofing!

As if that wasn't enough, further afield, the meadow muffin aromas of black and white Holsteins were a subtle, unwanted counterpoint to the immaculate backyard. How could people build houses near fly-infested cow pastures? It was suburban sprawl at its finest.

"Let me get those for you!" exclaimed Leticia, wielding a fly swatter that, up to then, had seen little use.

While everyone else was socializing, she swung and missed, then swung some more, dispatching twenty or more sawflies in under five minutes, bug splatter flying everywhere!

"Thank you, Leticia!" the hostess moaned as she carefully picked a fly carcass off her wineglass, enough 2018 Château Haut-Brion Blanc in peril to fund the first bid at a celebrity teddy bear auction. "Please have a seat and enjoy our company!"

"I don't mind if I do!" exclaimed Leticia as she proudly sat in her moment of triumph.


Always make yourself indispensable. People will love you for it!

When it was time to leave, Leticia assumed her role as the designated driver for four women. She remembered how everyone grinned a short while ago when she felt uncomfortable. Now, it would be her turn to put people on the spot. Leticia's dash cam had two cameras, one facing the front and another facing the back. Perfect for a YouTube video like the one that came to Leticia's mind: How many people could you crowd into an old pay phone booth and still be able to close the plexiglass door? Leticia would soon find out.

"These cars...have amazing room! We're so lucky to have you to drive us," the front seat occupant slurred as the others drunkenly cursed and clambered over each other into the subcompact backseat.

"Oh, I'm happy to help!" purred Leticia as she scrunched in her seat to reach the accelerator pedal with a tippy toe.

"Ready? Set? Go!" she yelled, her car careening down empty streets, doing corners at full speed, backseat alcohol-sodden elbows colliding with faces, knees akimbo to the window glass.

One woman thought a looming stop sign might offer a moment to set things right.

"Where's my seatbelt?" she pleaded, steadying herself. Leticia grinned again, her fast and furious midnight driving silencing any more questions.


You only know what you can do once you trust others to see something worthwhile in you!

Leticia could do at least a few things better than many other people. But that hardly mattered. A hangnail gets attention. The paper cut, too.

Leticia went for an interview—dressed in a new expensive skirt from that store where, from the posters on the walls, you could imagine everyone riding a horse and sloshing over-sized drinks. The salesperson was lovely and attentive.

"I'm not sure we have that in your size," she said.

"Oh, no sweat," Leticia said. "I'll probably return it anyway!"

It was clothing store karma. It had to be. The next day, there were no handshakes or knuckle bumps in the interview room, just a big fake smile and a few weird looks. Or make that two smiles: two women, one distracted man, everything going fast.

"I just thought I would try this!" laughed Leticia at the end of the interview, twirling a company brochure in her damp, ink-stained hands.

"There's always a first time!" laughed back the interview lead, her lunch order on her cell.


Family is there to support you! Reach out and ask for help!

Leticia tried a dating app. It was so easy to use and even easier to get too many replies. Then, it was time for new eyewear to prepare for what might happen. Contacts for a change, but her new image was hard to take in. She teased her nephew, talking sweetly to him while wearing her contacts, only to growl with the old black horn rims.

"You were a monster with those glasses!" screamed Joshua. "Do it again! Do it again!"

"Josh! The last time! Off to bed!" yelled Mom from the kitchen, getting a late evening mint tea. After reading Joshua a story, Leticia settled into the empty loveseat in the living room, Emma, her sister, handing her a steaming mug.

"Too bad about the interview, but what will you do with the dating app?" Emma asked.

"Oh, I was just bored one evening!" sighed Leticia.

"But now you have contacts…"

"Yeah, but too many of them!"

Emma looked puzzled. "You bought more than one set of contacts? Or did you get the ones you throw away at the end of every day?"

"What?" cried Leticia as her eyes started tearing up. "I thought at least you would understand! It's not like I want to use a dating app, you know!"

Emma shook her head and sighed, putting her tea on the coffee table. "You are a bundle of nerves!"


Never stop trying. Something good might happen!

Date night. Hookup night. Speed date. Whatever. Leticia was determined. No silliness. No drink that she couldn't constantly hold in her hands. No going home with anyone. No body contact. If she had to, it would be blue and cover her mouth. How much more could she think of?

Emma said she looked good. Don't wear the glasses. Be yourself. It's so easy to say when you're not speed dating. How can you be yourself? With a new person to talk to every ten minutes, no less!

The restaurant was packed on a Tuesday night, alive with nervous chatter as people stared at their speed date program sheets and waited for instructions. Leticia had already stuffed her program sheet in her pocket. She was drawn to the down-home décor and the nick-knacks that supposedly put people at ease and gave them something to discuss.

"Oh, look at the moose in that drawing!" she shouted to no one. "It's drinking a beer!" She laughed, one person near her making a face.

Then, what everyone was at the restaurant for finally began. First up. Talked about his job constantly. Next. Everything you didn't want to know about sailboats. Next. Let's skip this. I know a place…Next. Super nervous. Hmm, full stop. Time for Leticia to shine.

"See this?" she asked, holding up her phone. "It's got over a hundred thousand views!"

"Friends of yours?" asked Steve.

"Not exactly!"


The coordinator seemed surprised. The restaurant was booked for the night. But Leticia was determined.

"I was wondering what it was like, you know it?" said Steve as they left the restaurant, his crumpled speed date program disappearing into his jacket pocket. "Was it not fun for you too?"

"You can say that again!" crowed Leticia.

September 18, 2023 04:01

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Mary Bendickson
04:31 Sep 18, 2023

Speed dating. How awkward can you get?🥺 Me either.


Joe Smallwood
21:11 Sep 18, 2023

Never tried. Couldn't imagine doing it.


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