Watching her disrobe felt very much like watching a snake shed its skin. Slow and almost hypnotic. Plenty of writhing and undulating. It’s been my experience that most encounters are improved by a healthy (or unhealthy) dose of undulating. The last thing she took off was her wedding ring and just like that snake, it made her shine like brand new.

I prefer to sleep with married women for the same reason I’d rather drive a rental than my own car. Vroom vroom.

She was certainly attractive, but you could tell she was once beautiful. You also knew that at some point she loved her husband because her last name was Tribble. A woman whose first name is Trisha has to love a man to take that last name.

Maybe she still did. Who am I to say?

I’ve found that women look at business trips the same way girls look at Spring Break. Something about a fancy resort that makes everything surreal. Something that both whispers and screams that the normal rules don’t apply.

Just ask the palm tree that has a speaker next to it playing music 24/7. Maybe the tree just assumes that all Arecaceae hear music all the time. Rain or shine. I just hope that it doesn’t spend all its time longing for a little quiet.

Or the palm tree that has a spotlight on it 24/7. Maybe that tree just assumes that all Arecaceae have a spotlight on them all the time. Rain or shine. I certainly hope that it doesn’t spend all its time longing for a little darkness.

Heaven help the tree that has both.

So how did she end up in my room?

It started innocently enough when, during a rather banal conversation on the exhibitor floor of the Biotech trade show, she mentioned that her favorite cartoon was Ren & Stimpy. My eyes widened.

“Did you just say Ren & Stimpy?” I inquired.

“Yes. I just said Ren & Stimpy” she replied.

Not something you expect to hear on the exhibitor floor of a Biotech trade show. Especially with so much direct eye contact.

I told her I too was a big fan of Ren & Stimpy and that while I appreciated the subtle intricacies of Mr. Horse, my favorite character was far and away Powdered Toast Man.

I could have sworn I saw a twinkle in her eyes when she asked me why. I didn’t appreciate at the time the positions I was applying for.

“It’s the little things. When he launched himself into the air, he flew backwards. It’s a small but brilliant detail, because that’s how I imagine toast popping out of the toaster.” I tried unsuccessfully to mimic the ass-first take-off.

She mulled it over, the failed take-off included. Finally she asked “Why do you assume we put toast in head first?”

I was forced to do a little mulling of my own.

Growing weary of the prolonged deliberation and sensing I was struggling a bit, she pressed on like the high-performing salesperson she was. “When they fire a man out of a cannon, they don’t put him in head first. Do they?”

Next thing I knew we were in my room.

When we were done, or when she was done with me (being a much more accurate way of describing the proceedings) (she was, as expected, toasteriffic), I watched her get dressed and it was very much like watching a snake put back on the skin it had just recently sloughed off. When she slid her ring back on her finger the last vestiges of shininess evaporated.

She was already late for another meeting.

If you had to identify, in one word, the reason why the human race has not achieved, and never will achieve, its full potential, that word would be ‘meetings.’
– Dave Barry

Lance Manion

Lance Manion is the author of twelve collections of flash fiction, the most recent of which, The Forest of Stone, was published in January. His stories have appeared in 50+ publications and have been included in over a dozen anthologies. He has been posting daily stories on his website since 2012.

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