She seemed normal enough. James met her on the softball diamond — he was playing, shortstop, she played second base. It was a singles club event for Labor Day. He wasn’t an actual member but showed up on the holidays.
Beth was sort of cute, her body pretty good for fifty plus. He was also getting older, too, so there was that. She could really handle a softball, which added to her sex appeal.
At the potluck picnic, she set her pasta salad right next to his Safeway potato salad. Her hand brushed against his as their Tupperware collided (he had put his in a bowl to make it look homemade — old bachelor trick — old trick, not old bachelor).
His lawn chair was far from hers, but she stood around to chat him up regarding the game.
“We almost had them,” Beth said,” except for their last four runs.”
As ridiculous a statement as that was, James smiled and asked her out for coffee.
They met at the coffee place, and he could tell that she was interested, as in right now, as in “come back to my place with me.” He wasn’t ready for any of that, so he suggested they go to a bar and have a drink. This was the first Starbucks-to-bar transition he’d ever made on a first date. Should he drive her there?
She got into his car, and next thing you know she was giving him a taste of what their night together could be. He was ready to kiss her with one brain but not so much with the other. He needed some alcohol. Three drinks later, they went back to the deserted Starbucks parking lot to get her car.
Beth invited him into the passenger seat to smoke a joint with her. After that, she told him to follow her home. She lived up a windy road, and it was all he could do to not fall asleep on the way. But she’d implied some things about him getting lucky, and both brains wanted to see it through.
When they finally got to her cottage, James followed her inside. Then the smell hit him.
“Uh, do you have a cat?” he asked, trying not to gag.
“No,” she said, “not really.”
Then she explained that a bunch of feral cats lived outside and she was feeding them.
“Do they come inside?” he asked.
“No, not really,” she said. “Well, sometimes.”
James choked back tears and asked to use her bathroom.
“We can do this,” he said to his little brain as he walked down the hall to her powder room.
But the powder room said otherwise. To describe it as filthy would be putting it mildly. He turned on his heel and headed out the door.
“I just remembered I have to work tomorrow.”
“I thought you said you were retired.”
“Partly-retired,” he said. “It was great getting to know you a little better.”
He climbed into his car and peeled out of there, leaving fur balls of cat hair in his wake.
Couldda Wouldda Shouldda
If James would’ve fallen for Beth, she would’ve moved into his place, and they would’ve torched hers and collected the insurance money.