Red Button




Red Button


That’s what you said in reference to the dating app with its specific string of letters and numbers that allowed us to connect. You said You know how to catch me, a response to my let’s-get-together-again jubilance outside of the Hasco Brewing Company where we had met for the first time. You had invested 45 minutes on the Greyline to get there: your hair needed a trim; your shirt faded from wear; your wallet cheap vinyl. I learned you were a stock boy, never went to college. But you were easy to talk to – nobody else I’d come across on the local circuit had the gift of making me willing to dump out my story bucket. Your eyes registered curiosity and bald admiration. You were an ace at listening!

             I subscribe to the school of thought that less is more, so I pretended I had to be somewhere after the third bock. Crestfallen is how I’d describe your face once I announced this.

             When we parted, I turned in circles up Corcoran Avenue to catch another glimpse of your receding yellow shirt. I conjured up a spiffy missive to telegraph my idea for a follow-up picnic at the beach on Friday, or a brunch at Harvest Sun. Spare you the anxiety and any premature disappointment that might propel you to move on to the next chap in queue.

             Only 50 seconds at most till I was at my BMW pulling out my phone to locate the app. I tapped. I swiped. I flicked. Where were you? Our conversation thread – your profile in my list of favorites – where’d you go? I shut down and rebooted. Shuffled. Flipped. Come on! But nowhere. Any clue you had occupied a week of quippy messaging with me capped by our singular face-to-face evening had vamoosed.

             Then it sank in. You had pushed the little red button under my picture, the one that omitted me from your portal, deleted us from collective memory.

             You know how to catch…echoed as a taunt, the kind played in schoolyard dodge ball with the clumsiest boy of the class who everyone agrees will never hit the mark. Or had it been genuine when offered - the decision to block me arriving later? Except there was hardly any footage before later.

             I sat in my parked car unspooling our encounter, every word, every instant when I lifted an eyebrow, paused in consideration, cocked a grin at your wisecracks. No missteps, no pratfalls to speak of. You had even, when I finished my dead dog story, placed a gentle hand upon mine.

             But a slip-up can be so subtle, it doesn’t even register that a muscle was used to commit it. The press of your fingertip on that button vaporized any possibility I’d take you to shows on Broadway, bring you breakfast in bed on my schooner, show you my digs on Nantucket Island.  What a dazzling life! Were you hoping to become part of it - or already sure you didn’t want it?

DannyBoy*35, didn’t you know what a great catch I am?


 Shoshauna Shy


Author of five collections of poetry, Shoshauna Shy's flash fiction has appeared in 100WordStory, 50-Word Stories, Fiction Southeast, Sou’wester, Micro fiction Monday Magazine, Thrice Fiction, Brilliant Flash Fiction, Blink Ink, Crack the Spine and other places.

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