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Layla props up on her elbows, has to readjust her cups to keep her pale boobs in, and removes her giant black sunglasses. “I’d like to know,” she says, grinning wide. She works for a dentist and has the whitest teeth. “I can smell that something is up with you and him.” Now I’m laughing. The redhead dives. Makes no more splash than if you tossed in a pencil. “What you smell,” I say, “is your brain cooking.” Franklin is on the way over, swinging his keys on a finger, so we quiet down. Poor Franklin, he is not much over thirty but dresses like an old fart. Wears those belowthe-knee khakis and faded golf shirts all the time. The beach bum look. He has acquired this beer belly of late, too. Flecks of gray in his hair and sideburns. He tips an imaginary hat to Layla.

“No biggie,” Franklin says. No biggie is over, too. “I’ll see you after work, babe.” We watch him go. Layla and me. The waitresses do not even see a guy like Franklin. Tully, they would. Even though they are the same age, no doubt about Tully. He might even get an extra bikini wiggle. “Same old Franklin,” I say to Layla. … I waited tables part-time at the Barracuda Grille for two years, to pay off student loans, and Franklin was a superstar around there. Laid back, smart, handsome, funny, never missed a shift. In the four years since (which is the time we have been a couple, officially), he has never called out. He goes in when one of the others no-shows. But he spends more than he makes. Buys drinks for downon-their-lucks, helps out the busboys and dishwashers,

“Then she dives, making no more splash than if you tossed in a pencil.” “Did we ever decide who was paying my car insurance this month?” he asks me, scratching his stubble. The beach bum look was over in the ‘90s. I have told him so, but Franklin is one of those. Never listens. “I decided to pay mine, hon,” I say. “I don’t remember what you decided about yours. How late is it? Are you canceled or something?” He makes a face and nods. I see him sneak a peek at the fake redhead and I hate him for it. 54

buys expensive surf rods. You name it, he owns it. He is a real sweet guy, but tomorrow never happens. About a year ago, right about the end of the summer season, he tells me he has started to think we should have a kid together. Right out of the blue. I ask him if that means he is ready to think marriage and he says marriage is out. He tells me marriage is an outdated fashion. “Franklin,” I said, “you are the most throwback man I know.

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Niche Magazine No. 1  

Niche is an online literary magazine that was designed to be limitless. It aims to provide a place where an array of voices, from experimen...

Niche Magazine No. 1  

Niche is an online literary magazine that was designed to be limitless. It aims to provide a place where an array of voices, from experimen...

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