'Move In Date' by Corey Miller
Danny woke up to what was becoming his morning ritual: change the orientation of the toilet paper (what blasphemy!), clean the shit off the back of the toilet seat (literally), then head for the kitchen to stare at the pineapple. He navigated through the cardboard mountains of moving boxes labeled: George’s Books. Surprised his new Craigslist roommate could read, Danny made a mental note to pat him on the back. This was Danny’s first apartment alone after graduating M.I.T. and finding a roommate was a struggle, eventually caving to the only person he found looking in the same area and the same price point. To Danny, George seemed like the brainless jock that would have given him an atomic wedgie back in high school for playing D&D and knowing HTML. George seemed like he graduated high school because he was the quarterback. George seemed like a mistake.
Danny replaced last week’s uneaten penicillin pineapple with a ripe one purchased this morning at the small market which occupied the ground level of their apartment complex. He had bought a new one every week since he and Michelle shared their first kiss together (Danny’s first ever). It had been four weeks, four pineapples, and one big move out of the dorms after graduation. Eventually, he would learn how to cut this bizarre fruit that he heard helped your sex life.
To fill the void in sexual expertise, Danny explored the internet. Sometimes the sites were NSFW, but lately, it was Bon Apetit that filled his addiction. The cooking pictures were mouthwatering in the way they upped your skills and showcased crazy techniques that Danny longed to attempt once he had found the rest of his utensil arsenal from the moving boxes. Tonight, Danny was prepared to Iron Chef this dinner he specially planned for Michelle. Tonight was going to be the night, he would create a meal that incorporated every aphrodisiac he ever heard of (probably a few he may have made up too).
The pineapple sat there taunting Danny as he wondered how the hell to cut it up. Maybe George has a book on cutting pineapple? He could have searched on his phone, but why not learn more about his new roommate while George was out at the gym. They had both procrastinated unpacking all of their junk as if they might reconsider one another and break the lease agreement. Danny nosed through the debris to discover some vintage dirty magazines that may have been a family heirloom, but alas, nothing to cut a fruit of the Bromeliaceae family with. He carved an ornery face into the thorny skin with a Goodwill pairing knife and named this pineapple Clint.
Clint was a strong name when Danny could use more people in his corner. M.I.T. wasn’t the sociable experience his mother promised it would deliver. Danny line danced through the fortress of moving boxes while the sun fell as quickly as it had risen. He waltzed through the living room, swung through the kitchen, and tangoed to the bathroom to rumba himself less excited. The kitchen was warm from the burner heating up a nonstick pan. Danny drizzled extra virgin olive oil like he was a seasoned chef. The oven contained puff pastries and the stovetop liquified the chocolate in a double boiler for the strawberries he planned to hand feed Michelle like in George’s magazines. He checked his phone only to see a message from mom “just checking in.” He bluetoothed a surf rock band called 'The Wood Waxers' to his portable speaker; the pulsating tremolo brought the waves of Kaunakakai to his Boston apartment (why did I sell my Hawaiian shirt!). Clint watched Danny cook the wild-caught salmon and poblanos, pour some cheap Barefoot Reisling, and light sea breeze scented candles at the dinner table.
Danny plated the three-course meal, then propped Clint at the table as a third wheel guest. They sat there, in the middle of the room shrunken by a moving box perimeter, and watched the candlewick burn lower and lower. Danny’s heart leapt when he heard a rustling in the hallway. The door creaked open to reveal George returning with an armful of more boxes.
“Oh, I got excited, thought you were Michelle,” Danny balked.
“Bro, didn’t ya get the memo?” George pointed with a foot to the box nearest the door labeled: Danny’s Crap. “Ya got dumped.” George made eye contact with Clint who was sitting at the table close enough to the candle to start a fire. Despite the candle, the apartment reeked of garlic. Danny peeked in the returned box and found the apple slicer he lent Michelle. It wasn’t what he wanted, but he thought it might get the job done. “George, sit down. I made us dinner.”
Copyright. Corey Miller.
Corey Miller was a finalist for the F(r)iction Flash Fiction Contest (’20) and shortlisted for The Forge Flash Competition (’20). His writing has appeared in Booth, Pithead Chapel, Third Point Press, Hobart, X-R-A-Y, and elsewhere. He reads for TriQuarterly, Longleaf Review, and Barren Magazine. When Corey isn’t brewing beer for a living in Cleveland, he likes to take his dogs for adventures. Follow him on Twitter @IronBrewer or at www.CoreyMillerWrites.com