A friend of mine sat on a lawn chair in the pool area of our apartment building, leaning forward with his head in one hand and a cigarette in the other. He hadn’t taken a puff of his cigarette for a few minutes so his cigarette looked more like a long ash stick than an actual cigarette. I approached him cautiously and said, “Hey Frank, what’s up man, rough day?” startling him out of deep thought, he jumped and once he realized who I was he mumbled, “Oh, Rob, hey man, what’s up?”
“You don’t look so good, what happened?” I asked.
“Oh my girlfriend blew up last night.” He said.
“Another one?!?” I asked amazed, “Isn’t that the third one this year?”
Yeah another one and, no, fourth one this year. Remember I had two in January. That was a disaster also,” he said throwing his hands in the air and slapping them down on his thighs, “I thought that if I have two on opposite cycles of the month then I wouldn’t have to wait around for them to, you know, be in the mood. It worked out great for the first month but I couldn’t afford the maintenance, then when I kept getting their preferences confused, like which on likes wine and which one likes beer, they both exploded…. But I didn’t even see it coming this time. I don’t get it Rob,” he continued, “I read the manual three, even four times and followed it exactly.”
“What model did you buy?” I asked.
“The Edu…educated Showpiece 5000,” he replied with a stutter.
“Holy shit, Frank, no wonder! Why you messing around with such an advanced model? You got a 5000 series with an education package?” I exclaimed.
“I know, I know, but I’m just sick of the dumb ones,” he said sucking on his cigarette, “I didn’t realize that the education packages think so much, I just thought it just makes conversation and advice better.” He explained, head bobbing low, “I didn’t realize that I actually had to put so much effort into them.”
I hate to say it man but that’s advanced material,” I responded, “I’ve never bought higher than a 3000 series, I like to keep things simple. Actually I’m happier with the 2000 series actually, they don’t analyze my behavior so much and it is much easier to persuade them to do what I want them to do, ” I trailed off realizing that my words weren’t really helping.
“Now I have to start all over,” Frank mumbled head in hands again. “Build the whole relationship from scratch, if only they didn’t cost so much money.”
“Well, just try being single for a while then,” I replied.
“No, no, I’ve tried being single before, it messes with my mind man,” he said with wide eyes, “suddenly everything in the world has a sexual connotation. This one time I walked into a grocery store to return something and the cashier was talking to me in plain English but I didn’t get what she meant.”
“What was she saying?” I asked
“She said something like, ‘This is past the return DATE sir, we have to GO OUT to the warehouse and speak with my manager. Most likely she will approve it because we like to keep up good RELATIONS with our customers. COME along.’ Then she had me follow her to the back and all I could focus on was her….”
“I hear ya, you don’t have to give anymore detail…” I interrupted while tapping him on the shoulder, “but hey, lets go grab a drink, take a load off. I’ve had girlfriends blow up on me before too, it always sucks at first but, hey, it’s a learning experience, that’s why you try different models. You’ll get it down…”
“yeah you’re right,” he responded as he got up to head off to the local pub with me.
While walking out of the pool area we saw smoke flowing out of a second floor apartment where a couple was arguing on the balcony.
Suddenly the man on the balcony yelled, TAKE COVER!!!!” instantly we jumped under the nearest table just in time to hear a loud BOOM BOOM BOOOOOM. As the shards of plastic and metal wires rained over us, I said, “See, you’re not alone.”