Letter to a Stranger

by Jeff ENSLEY

To the cocky, over-confident, and obviously insecure “gentleman” who spent the better part of an hour trying at any cost to impress the delicate young nubile sitting on the couch at the coffee house last Thursday night:

I thought it might interest you to know that I was privy to the bulk of your conversation as you tried so gallantly to woo the young lady who had been, up until your uncouth interruption, quietly writing poetry. I overheard the majority of your vivacious claims and manly boasts. Yes, thanks to your ballyhooing, I now know that you have an $18,000 car. I also know that you paid much less than sticker price for it because your parents are repeat customers of said dealer and there was no need for any sort of negotiation regarding the price. “Just like buying a fucking refrigerator.” Some of the other girls sitting in the vicinity seemed impressed, but our delicate young nubile (Her name is Ashley. I don’t know if you caught that. Perhaps you did in your onslaught of inquisitiveness.) seemed rather indifferent at best. I also learned that you’re a high-school dropout and that you prefer work to school. Yes, you seemed to relish extolling the situation of not finishing high school and still being able to own “a car of year that we’re not even in yet.” No, our young Ashley was not impressed with your repertoire of achievements or even your 2-year warranty; her sublime face remained consistently stoic throughout the ordeal. You might not have seen that from atop your soapbox. But I did. The loner sipping silently from a cup of coffee one table over. I imagine she must have been relieved, to say the least, when you left momentarily to procure another pack of cigarettes from the Kwik Shop at the end of the block. I can only imagine what you thought when you returned to find her gone, her empty cup the only evidence remaining. My absence, much like my presence, I assume, was not likely noticed either. Nevertheless, for the sake of sating your inevitable curiosity, I thought it might interest you to know of her whereabouts. In your absence, as brief as it was, I took a notion to introduce myself to her with a sense of subtlety you clearly have never known. She accepted my offer of a ride home, most graciously and most readily, and, as I write this letter, is deep in a post-coital slumber. I hope this clears up any confusion you may have encountered last Thursday night.


Your friend.

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