45 comments

American Romance Indigenous

“Howdy, ma’am," he said, sitting down on the barstool next to her. “My name is Charlie and before the night is over I’ll have your attention, your name, and your phone number.” 


“Excuse me, what?”


“I said, Howdy…” 


“I heard you the first time Cowboy,” she replied crisply, taking a sip of what looked like whiskey. “I come here every Friday night, and I have for more than two years. You aren’t the first to try and fail. I always arrive by myself and always go home alone.”


“Well, first of all, I don’t plan on taking you home. Secondly, you’ve never talked with me on any of those Friday nights. If you had, I’d already have your number.” 


“Oh you would, would you?”


“Yes ma’am. And, I’d like to add, you’d already be in love with me.” 


His response made her laugh out loud and, surprisingly, intrigued her. “Alright Cowboy, buy me a drink and give it your best shot. I’ve got an hour to kill.”


“Ok,” he said, signaling to the bartender to fill her glass and to bring him one as well. “But, first, I do have a few rules.” 


Once again, she laughed out loud. “Rules? Let me get this straight. You sit down next to me, uninvited I might add, and boldly state I’m not only giving you my name and phone number, but also predict that I’ll fall in love with you.”


“That’s right.”


“And on top of that you expect me to follow your rules. What makes you think I won’t just get up, throw my drink in your face, and walk away?” 


“Is this guy bothering you—”  


“Don’t say another word, J.D.,” she said as she held up her hand like a stop sign. “Charlie here is trying to get my name, and I don’t want you to make it easy for him.” With a grin on his face, J.D. filled their glasses and went back to tending the bar.


“Now, Cowboy, I‘ll ask you again. What makes you think I won’t just leave?”


“Because you laughed.” 


“Because I laughed?” she repeated, failing to suppress a smile.


“Yup. You won't leave because I made you laugh. I’m sure you’ve been approached by a lot of good looking guys, but you like to laugh. I could see it from the moment I walked in.”


“I was laughing at you, not with you.”


“Be that as it may, you laughed just the same. That's all that matters in the beginning.”


“So what are these rules?” she asked, enjoying the banter more than she cared to admit. “I’m not saying I'll agree, but I am curious.”


“First, I am required to treat you with respect. I’m not trying to pick you up, I’m trying to prove to you I’m worth your time.”


“And?” she interrupted.


“And what?”


“What are my rules?”


“You have only two,” he continued. “The first is you have to give me a honest chance. I can take no for an answer. But if I earn a yes, then I get your name and number.”


”And the second?”


“The second is if I guess your name, you have to give me your number, too. Do we have a deal?” Charlie stuck his hand out and waited.


“Hold on, that's hardly fair. You could just keep guessing until you get it right.”


“You underestimate my ability to guess.”


“How about this. I’ll give you three guesses. Three strikes, then you’re out”


“Okay, that works for me. I agree to your terms. Now do we have a deal?” Charlie again offered his hand.


“Deal,” she responded, giving his hand a firm shake.


“Susan?”


Susan? Why in the heck would you think my name is Susan?”


“I don’t know,” Charlie responded, “I guess my whole life it’s seemed that every woman I've known named Susan was beautiful. I’m right, aren’t I?”


“Nice try, Cowboy. Not even close. That’s strike one. Care to try for two?” She smirked, taking another sip of her drink. “Let me ask you this. Why me? There is a bar full of young ladies in here. Why waste your time with me?”


“I’m glad you asked,” he replied. “You see, when I was about ten years old, my parents were looking for a plot of land where they could build their dream home. The four of us, mom, dad, my younger sister, and I, spent the better part of three hours, in August, in a car with no air conditioning on our way to rural Virginia to—”


“Is this story going anywhere?” she interrupted.


“I’m getting there,” he replied. “Geez, I hope you don’t interrupt me on all of our dates.”


“You’re pretty confident for someone who thinks I’m a Susan.”


“That I am,” Charlie acknowledged. “Now, because I always finish my stories, I’ll continue. After a long hot ride, tempers were a bit raw. When the real estate agent offered to drive us around in his air conditioned car, my parents jumped at the opportunity. My sister and I were relegated to the third row seat, but I was close enough to hear the agent say something that changed my life.”


“You’ve got to be kidding me. You came over to me because of something a real estate agent said to your parents over 15 years ago?”


”I did. You see, the man told my parents, ‘I can take you to all the properties we have listed and let you decide which you like, or I can just take you to the best right away.’ Well, my parents, fresh off an exhausting trip with an irritated ten-year-old boy and an infant in a car seat, decided on the latter. And guess what? That first property was the best. They still live in the house they built there” Charlie paused and looked around the room then back at her. “Sure, I could have made my way through the bar and talked to a bunch of women, or I could have just talked to the best. I also chose the latter.”


“You made that story up,” she responded curtly, raising her glass.


“I did not. You’ll see the property when I take you home to meet my parents.”


“I’m not going to meet your parents. Stop trying to trick me,” she said, smacking Charlie gently on the arm. “Anyway, what makes you think I’ll choose you?”


“Because you love me.”


I love you. I don’t even know you!” she said, incredulously, but quickly added: “What makes you think I love you?”


“Well, you see when I was going into high school . . . ”


“Going into high school? That has nothing to do with us here today.”


“Let the record show you just referred to us as an us for the first time.”


“I didn’t mean it that way.”


“And yet you said it all the same.”


For a moment, she looked entirely put out until curiosity got the best of her. “So tell me about high school. What does that have to do with me?”


“Laura?”


Laura? No, my name is definitely not Laura. I know I’m probably going to regret asking but why Laura?”


“When I think of the name Laura, I think of a spitfire with a sneaky sense of humor.”


“Well, thank you, I think. But that’s strike two, Cowboy. You better tell me about high school before you completely strike out.”


“Okay, I was getting there. You see I was pretty scrawny going into high school. In fact, I was just under five feet tall and just a shade over 100 pounds. I had never had a girlfriend, not even just a girl friend. It seemed as if I had a choice to make. I could either go through high school lonely or I could act as if every girl loved me. I’m guessing you know what I chose.”


“That’s not endearing. That’s narcissistic.”


“Maybe so, but then again, maybe not. You see, in my experience girls are attracted to confident men. That being said, confidence is not what makes women fall in love. To make that happen you have to treat them right. No, actually you have to treat them special. The good news is that’s exactly how my dad treats my mom, so I have had a good role model. You’ll see when you meet him.”


“I see what you’re doing. You're pretending I love you already—just like the girls from high school.”


“Yes ma’am,” Charlie responded. “But, here’s the thing, I’m willing to do the work, too. I’ll send you flowers and take you out on Friday nights. I’ll write you love letters and sing you romantic songs. I don’t want you to fall in love with me because I decided you should. I want you to fall in love with me because you discovered I’m the man for you. Remember my rule. I will treat you with respect. I’m not going to play games with you. Oh and remember—I already made you laugh.” 


Almost on cue, she laughed then smiled warmly at him.


“But what if, after all your hard work, I still get up and walk out that door? What will you do then? Are you going to chase me down in the parking lot? Follow me home? Are you a stalker?”


“Nope. If you get up and walk out that door, I’ll do what my dad did with my mom.”


“Another story!?”


“Yes, but it’s a good one, I promise. The first time my dad saw my mom, he was working the counter at a snack bar in Woolworth's. To hear my dad tell it, she acted as if she didn’t even know he was there. According to my dad, he knew the moment he saw her that my mom was the girl for him. That very first day, he asked her for her name.”


“Let me guess—she gave it to him?”


“No, actually she didn’t.”


“I’m beginning to like your mom.”


“I told you it was a good story.”


“Maybe I’m just being polite.”


“If you are, I can stop.”


“No, go ahead and finish. I promised you a fair shake.”


“Okay, where was I?”


“Your mom wouldn’t give your dad her name.”


“Oh, that’s right. So, after she declined, he just smiled and told her one day she would. He was willing to wait. Usually at this point, my mom jumps in and tells her side of the story. Unbeknownst to my dad, she was actually so impressed with him that she wanted to tell him her name right away, but she felt she would have been too forward. Instead, she went back to that snack bar every few days. Even though he would talk to her, tell her stories, and make her laugh, my dad never asked for her name again. She wanted him to, but he was giving her the time she needed to come around. Finally, mom grew impatient and marched into the store, walked right back to the snack bar, and said, ‘My name is Mary Ann, and yes, I’ll go out with you.'"


“And they lived happily ever after, right?” she chimed in, feigning disinterest.


“Why yes, they actually have. That was 30 years ago and they are still very much in love.”


“Okay, that is kind of sweet.”


“I know, right. So, in answer to your question, if you say no and walk out that door, I’ll come back on random Friday nights and, as long as you’ll let me, I’ll tell you more of my stories. I believe one day, just like my mom, you’ll give me your name. And until then, just like my dad, I’m willing to wait. But, I will tell you one thing.”


“What’s that?”


“Well. my mom always says she regretted not giving my dad her name on that very first day. You see, no matter how many days they have had together, she has always wished they would have had more.” 


“That’s actually very romantic.”


“Monica? It has to be Monica. My younger sister’s name was Monica, and she was the kindest person I’ve ever known.”


Was? What happened to her?”


“That’s actually more of a third date question,” he responded quietly.


“I’m sorry, Cowboy. That’s strike three and your hour's up. Like I said, I’m not here to meet people, I’m just here to unwind.” And with that, she gave the bartender the universal sign for the check.


“Fair enough. Will I see you here next week?”


“It’s a free country,” she responded with a chuckle as J.D. handed her the receipt. She quickly scribbled her signature, finished her drink, and walked out the door.


Charlie just smiled because he knew she would be back.


So would he. 


“Hey there, fella. I think this is for you."


Charlie looked up as the bartender handed him her signed receipt. “Turn it over,” J.D. said. 


Charlie flipped the receipt and read the writing on the back.


My name is Mary Ann, just like your mom. Give me a call and tell me another story.


Just below the note was a phone number.


After taking the last sip of his drink, Charlie pulled out his cell phone and began to dial.


October 12, 2022 22:40

You must sign up or log in to submit a comment.

45 comments

Marty B
03:17 Oct 15, 2022

So it worked!- he got the name and the number- you could have mentioned that in the beginning... ;) This had good -momentum- couldn't stop reading!

Reply

Thom Brodkin
03:23 Oct 15, 2022

I love this feedback. Thanks so much.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
San R
16:34 Nov 30, 2022

This is very funny; this story made me laugh more than an entire episode of "How I Met Your Mother."

Reply

Thom Brodkin
16:42 Nov 30, 2022

That's high praise. Thank you very much, my friend.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Deb Silverman
01:50 Oct 22, 2022

I think you are the man in the story.

Reply

Thom Brodkin
02:02 Oct 22, 2022

I think you might be right. Shhhh, don’t tell anyone. 😀

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Seán Mc Nicholl
23:36 Oct 18, 2022

Fantastic work Thom, loved the flirtatious back and forth you created between the two, felt very genuine. Two lovely characters as well. And a heartwarming ending! Really enjoyed this! Well done!

Reply

Thom Brodkin
23:57 Oct 19, 2022

Sean first off I loved your interview on read lots/write lots. Secondly I really appreciate your kind words. I put my heart in this one so it’s nice to know it resonated. Thanks again.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Lilah Hazard
19:34 Oct 18, 2022

This is a very nice story. Fantastic work.

Reply

Thom Brodkin
19:42 Oct 18, 2022

You are so kind. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment. It means the world to me.

Reply

Lilah Hazard
19:43 Oct 18, 2022

No problem!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Aeris Walker
23:53 Oct 16, 2022

This story feels like it would work really well as a short video—almost like a short skit before a country music video or something. I can imagine these characters so clearly and the whole thing is neat and succinct. Great dialogue, cute and believable interactions, and a unique structure with Charlie’s own stories woven into it. The whole thing just went down real smooth, like a glass of (insert appropriate alcoholic beverage that does indeed go down “real smooth”). Favorite line: “You’ll see the property when I take you home to meet my...

Reply

Thom Brodkin
00:54 Oct 17, 2022

My dad used to drink Grand Mariner on special occasions and always after the first sip he would say that goes down smooth so I inserted in your comment which made it even more special. Thanks again for making this writer want to write. You are a super hero.

Reply

Aeris Walker
08:25 Oct 17, 2022

That’s awesome 🙂

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Michał Przywara
01:46 Oct 16, 2022

Like others said, this was sweet :) It also read very smoothly, with excellent pacing. Kind of forgot I was reading until I hit the end. You hit that right balance of audacity and us wanting to see if he could pull it off, and it was clear she was enjoying her time too.

Reply

Thom Brodkin
04:11 Oct 16, 2022

I hoped the stories within the story would make this feel shorter and easier to read. You make me feel as if I accomplished that. You have a way of seeing stories like the author sees them and there is nothing more validating. You’re making a difference. Thank you.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Riel Rosehill
21:48 Oct 15, 2022

My favourite part: "“That’s actually more of a third date question,” he responded quietly." It all worked. I love this guy! Congrats for getting recommended 🥳

Reply

Thom Brodkin
21:58 Oct 15, 2022

Riel, I feel like I haven’t talked to you in 100 years. I’m so glad you stopped by for a read. This was a lot of fun to write I’m glad it was fun to read too.

Reply

Riel Rosehill
22:18 Oct 15, 2022

Great fun - I love a bit of western, so as soon as I spotted that tag, I had to read it! And yeah I couldn't keep up with all the Reedsy stories whilst trying to focus on other writing projects outside of it... Trying to catch up! 😬

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Mary Ann Ford
22:52 Jan 26, 2023

Way to go! This had me smiling ear to ear and picturing myself in her shoes. :)

Reply

Thom Brodkin
22:54 Jan 26, 2023

If anyone asks I’ll say it was about you. 😀

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Phoebe De Neve
05:53 Nov 01, 2022

I love this story! The banter was funny, and I loved the western vibe. Keep up the amazing work!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Cullen Maeve
18:22 Oct 23, 2022

I was so invested in this conversation, you did a great job, Thom

Reply

Show 0 replies
Sonia Walcott
18:25 Oct 22, 2022

Hello everyone, my name is Sonia from Los Angeles, California, I tried getting a car loan sometime last year but my credit score of about 521 ruined the process. Since I was in desperate need of a car due to the nature of my new job, I resorted to making online research on how I could restore my credit to a minimum of 650 to enable me to qualify, after a few months of searching, I bumped into a blog and found positive reviews about HACK VANISH CREDIT SPECIALIST, So I reached out to them to explain my credit situation, they requested my info ...

Reply

Show 0 replies
Mustang Patty
16:35 Oct 21, 2022

I loved how you made these characters three-dimensional with their witty banter. Another great job, My friend ~MP~

Reply

Thom Brodkin
17:43 Oct 21, 2022

This was a lot of fun to write. Now the important question is do you have a new chapter this week for our favorite young lovers? 😀 Update. I see you do. I’m reading now.

Reply

Mustang Patty
22:46 Oct 21, 2022

Hmm I don't think Eddy is done with me yet. So, be on the lookout for the next storyline. Thanks for your support 😀

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
13:04 Oct 21, 2022

Thom, I'm brand new to Reedsy, and this is only the second story I've read here. I've written many western romance novels and edited many as well, so as soon as I saw "Howdy, ma'am" starting your first line, I just had to read. Absolutely love your story! Everything about it is perfect. Great job!

Reply

Thom Brodkin
13:55 Oct 21, 2022

Well, Ms Stacey, you just made this writers day. Welcome to Reedsy, I hope you stay with us for a very long time. :-)

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Sue Hunter
19:37 Oct 20, 2022

The banter back and forth between the two main characters felt so genuine! At first, I was hesitant to read the story because I was worried it was going to be one of those 'I'm a man and you're a woman, therefore I deserve your attention' type stories, so I was very happily surprised. My opinion of the main male character definitely changed over this very short story, from cautious to endearing. Well done!

Reply

Show 0 replies
16:26 Oct 20, 2022

This is a phenomenal story, one of my new favorites on here! I love your writing style, the dialogue felt very natural and real. My only criticism would be to describe body language a bit more in between dialogue. You're a very talented author. Keep up the good work!

Reply

Thom Brodkin
16:40 Oct 20, 2022

Alexandra thanks so much for the positive feedback and suggestion. In this community we can all help each other become better writers. Thanks for helping me.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Kate Winchester
22:39 Oct 17, 2022

Woot woot, go Charlie! He’s got game 😉 This was cute. I enjoyed it.

Reply

Thom Brodkin
22:43 Oct 17, 2022

Yea ma’am. 😀

Reply

Kate Winchester
22:44 Oct 17, 2022

🤣🥰

Reply

Show 0 replies
Show 1 reply
Show 1 reply
Tommy Goround
08:11 Oct 17, 2022

Haha I sure hope your married already. I have probably 12 sisters that would love to meet Charlie.

Reply

Show 0 replies
Yael Pinto
15:08 Oct 16, 2022

Can totally see this being a whole movie on Netflix with two people at the bar with this type of banter :) Love this writing style too!

Reply

Show 0 replies
Kelsey H
05:26 Oct 16, 2022

Love this, very entertaining. I enjoyed all his stories and how she was slowly won over. I liked how it was almost all dialogue too worked really well.

Reply

Show 0 replies