Fiction Funny

“So… he gave you a used toaster?” I asked Emma.  

I met Emma at my last company.  She was smart and ambitious and I befriended her when I realized I could learn a thing or two from her.  It appeared she felt the same and we became fast friends.  Now that both have moved on in our careers, Emma and I make a point of doing brunch at least once a month to catch up.  This keeps us connected in our busy lives.   

“It wasn’t used.” Emma took a sip of her orange tinted mimosa and avoided eye contact as she placed the glass back down on the white tablecloth. 

“You said there were crumbs in it.”  I couldn’t help but give Emma anything but eye contact.

“I said there were remnants of some…. Okay maybe it was used.”

I couldn’t help but give a single laugh.  “Case closed, your boyfriend of three years gave you a used toaster.  That is the weirdest gift for an anniversary.  No chocolates.  No flowers.  No jewelry.  Just a used toaster. You can’t possibly stay with this guy.”

“It’s the thought that counts,” Emma took a bite of her avocado toast, but I could not possibly eat during a conversation like this.  My smoked salmon bagel sat untouched in front of me.  A bagel that was likely toasted in a toaster not unlike Emma’s new gift complete with crumbs at the bottom.  

“A flower picked from a bush on the way to meet you is the kind of gift that warrants the words ‘It’s the thought that counts’.  This… This… used toaster.  It’s just not romantic.  Tell me, what did he get you last year?”

Emma paused and took the last sip of her mimosa.  When she didn’t answer immediately, I knew this was going to be good.  Then she said, just above a whisper, “a dust buster.”

“A dust buster?” The three men at the table next to us turned to see what the commotion was but I didn’t care.  I was knee deep in this conversation and my mimosa desperately needed a refill.  A heavy refill.  I flagged down the server and motioned for a refill and he obliged my request with the pitcher in his hand.  I leaned in and told the curly haired server, “We are going to need to keep these coming.  Thanks.” He rolled his eyes.  It may not have been the most polite request on a busy Sunday, but that was not my priority at this moment.

“It’s the thought that counts,” Emma said.

“A homemade ashtray is the type of gift that warrants the words ‘it’s the thought that counts’.  Was there dust in the dust buster?” I asked.  I was cheering that there was in my head, not that I would tell Emma that. 

Emma was silent.

“There was, wasn’t there!” The three men sitting near us looked up at us again.  But I didn’t care.  These people needed to hear this.  “I don’t know which is more insulting, that he is giving you used gifts or that he is giving you domestic gifts.  Could these be from an ex?  Like did he give them to her first and he took them back and re-gifted them to you?”

“He’s great.  I promise.  You’ll have to meet him sometime.  You would love him,” she said.

“Would I?”  I looked her in the eye.

“Yes,” she said.

“Tell me again about your birthday dinner,” I said.

Emma took a deep breath. 

“I was not expecting much for my birthday.  He is not the fancy type.”

“Clearly,” I said.  Emma side eyed me. 

“But he took me to a restaurant,” Emma said.

“Do you want me to tell the story?” I asked.  Emma didn’t respond.  “He promised to take you out to eat and when you arrived at the golden arches, you were less than impressed.  So, after you ordered your Big Mac and fries he pulled out a coupon and paid for the meal with it.  Did I get that right?”

“It’s the thought that counts,” Emma said again.

“A trip to the beach is the type of birthday outing that warrants the words ‘it’s the thought that counts’.”

"I know it sounds bad, but he's been having some financial troubles lately. I think he just wanted to do something special for me without spending a lot of money."

I sighed. "I get that, but there are other ways to show someone you care without resorting to fast food and used domestic appliances."

Emma looked up at me, her eyes pleading. "I know, but I love him. He's been so good to me in other ways."

“What are these other ways?” I took my first bite of the bagel sitting in front of me.

She thought for a moment, “he is very giving in bed.” She gave me a sly smile.

“So, the man enjoys having sex?  Doesn’t every man?  Correction, every person?  Next.  How else is he good to you?  Does he listen to you?  Does he respect you? Does he help you with the dishes?”

“He listens to me… when he’s not playing video games.”

“I’m sorry,” one man from the table next to us stood up from his chair and within two steps, now stood over our table.  His two friends remained seated but leaned towards us as if we were magnetic.  The man standing over our table wore a panama hat and his dark mustache was curled at the tips.  “I couldn’t help but listen to your conversation.  I just wanted to put in my two cents:  Fuck him.”

“You don’t deserve that.  You deserve to be treated like a queen,” one of the men who remained seated said. 

“My brother just became single and his last girlfriend got a trip to Paris for their one year anniversary,” said the last one. “Want me to introduce you?”

Emma put her hand to her mouth.  “Have I been this blind?”  She picked up her phone, typed something quickly and handed it to me as she said, “he deserves the same respect he has given me.” 

A text message with just a few words spelled out the end of their relationship: "I'm done. You suck."

April 11, 2023 02:50

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Kristin Chambers
19:19 Apr 19, 2023

Great dialogue!


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Philippa Hibberd
21:32 Apr 18, 2023

Hahaha!! I wouldn't usually condone dumping someone via text, but he deserved it. The thought would only count if he thought about her at all.


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Mary Bendickson
19:45 Apr 15, 2023

Oo... Short and sweet.


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