Her living room is filled with storms. On coffee tables, bookshelves, and window sills, chaos everywhere. This is our first date. I’m not sure what the proper response is besides,
“What’s up with all the storms?”
Olivia stares at me for at least ten seconds before answering. Her lips are painted a shade of bruise. “They’re all ex-boyfriends,” she says without a hint of humor. “I turned them into storms, put them in jars. Cool, right?”
Cool, not right. What the hell, Tinder? Her profile mentioned soothing sunsets and poetry readings and snuggling up with kittens while listening to Nickelback and riding motorcycles at night. Nothing about male natural disasters caged in glass jars. “That’s funny. Okay. I’ll play along. Why are they different colors?”
“Eyes,” she says, pouring two glasses of red wine. “The color of their eyes.” She points to each one. “Blue hurricane. Green tornado. Brown dust storm. Grey blizzard. Angry, dangerous, and helpless, just how I like my men. Are you dangerous, Mike? Are you a weather disturbance growing on my horizon?” Her smile is a forest fire.
I have no idea what she’s talking about. But she’s strange and attractive, my addictive exacta. “I’m not going to lie, I’m a bit concerned that you’re going to turn me into a storm. Just saying.”
“Well, that depends.”
“Depends on what?
“If you’re good.”
“In the bedroom, Mike. If you perform adequately, aren’t selfish, and please me, you get to walk out. If not,” she says, waving her hand around the room, “you’ll have a permanent spot next to the lamp.”
The next evening, she’s entertaining a man with a military buzzcut. “What’s the deal with all the storms?”
I pound the glass with thunder, screaming run, man, run.
He glances at me, says, “Why is that thunderstorm so small? It’s almost cute with its tiny lightning strikes.”
Olivia shakes her head, turns off the lamp. “Nevermind him, he’s just a pale-blue disappointment. Let me ask you something, Marcus,” she says, handing him a drink. “Are you good?”
Chris Milam lives in Hamilton, Ohio. His stories have appeared in the Molotov Cocktail, Jellyfish Review, WhiskeyPaper, Lost Balloon, (b)OINK, Sidereal Magazine, and elsewhere. You can find him on Twitter @Blukris