Katie, part 5

19 Sep

Anna had already left for work by the time I made it back to her apartment the next morning. Kevin puttered around the cluttered kitchen and bedroom, exchanging pleasantries with me and keeping an average three-foot buffer of uncomfortable space between us. On average, conversations per se hold almost no semantic value. By that I mean most people, most times, say things of only vestigial meaning to one another. The conversation’s value lies in function. I designed this particular conversation to renegotiate my relationship with Kevin and to express the hope that although as far as he knew, I had spent an evening of mammalian sensuality with a girl who’d lately expressed her most sincere desire to rub up on him, he and I were still cool, right? Right?

Mostly I chatted cheerfully about people, potential new friends, who I felt an intoxicating and unwarranted closeness to and who, until the night before, had been his friends and not my friends. Kevin found ways to face the wall, tidying untidy stacks of books, addressing caches of unclean dishes that had been left until the right time to address them. Just now they served as a convenient focal point for attention. He did the dishes. I talked to the back of his head. He responded to me in listless monosyllables. He didn’t seem pissed, exactly, but clearly something was different.

“Hey, where’s Anna?” I asked.


“Oh, okay. Well tell her I said goodbye, all right? I’m sorry I didn’t get to see her this morning.”


“Thanks for inviting me up. I had a really good time.” As soon as I said it, I cringed at my choice of words. Innuendo is inherent to the phrase “really good time.” But then I thought, What does he care? And then I thought, What if he does care? He had a girlfriend, after all. Maybe he was pissed that I didn’t come home with him to defuse the fight. Maybe he was just tired.

“Sure thing.”

I left.

The ride back home to Columbus forced me to stop and buy more gas. For some reason, my credit card company believed that I was thousands of dollars creditworthier than I was. While I spent my bank’s money, I texted Katie.

Text messages are the preferred medium of an uncertain relationship. They are brief, direct, immediate, and may be ignored indefinitely in the short term without breaching etiquette. I like them. Immediately she responded to tell me that I should call her later. I continued driving, flush with pleasant anticipation. To me, she seemed like a genuine person.

Later, when I called, a thick, syrupy male voice answered her phone. His voice sounded the way someone with a concussion looks.

“Um, is Katie there?” When you are confronted with a confusing situation, the most overwhelming human instinct is to ask stupid questions. I had texted Katie earlier using this number. Of course she was there.

“Who is this?”

“My name’s Dan. I’m a friend of Katie’s. Can you put her on?”

The pause stretched for slow and greasy seconds. “Who are you?”

I started to answer again and stopped. My stomach turned. “Fuck you. Who’s this? Put Katie on.” The line went flat. It rang again, Dayton numbers I didn’t recognize.

I answered.

The same sluggish voice spoke again. “You stay the fuck away from Katie.”


Leave a Reply


  1. Jana

    September 19, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    I can’t wait!

  2. Dan

    September 19, 2010 at 6:23 pm

    Well, you’ll have to. :) But thanks!

  3. LOL

    September 21, 2010 at 2:28 am

    Pssst……. Part 5.

  4. Dan

    September 21, 2010 at 4:56 pm


  5. E

    September 28, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    When is the next installment coming? Eager fans are waiting.

  6. Dan

    September 28, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    Ack, I know. Tonight! Gimme a few hours.