art by Jeffrey Redmond
Overheard at The Platonic Ideal Bar and Grill
by Aimee Vanessa Blume
***Editor's Warning: Brief adult language, and adult themes, in the story that follows***
"Heya, Bob! How ya feelin'?" shouted a plump, balding gentleman as a young man in a baseball cap entered the bar. The young man waved and joined the table.
"Hey Martin." Bob nodded at the balding man and grinned at his companions. "Hi Jane, Tammy. Hey Pete. Monica coming tonight?"
"Up at the bar," said Martin. "So... ?" He leaned forward, eyebrows arched. Everyone was staring at the small adhesive bandage on Bob's temple. They all had a tiny dimpled scar in the same place.
Bob's grin stretched wider. "I've never felt better," he announced; Pete applauded and the whole group beamed. "There's nothing left," he said, signaling for a beer. "I don't care about her. I don't care!" He looked around and took a deep breath. "God! All these women, and I don't care! I'm not thinking about them naked, am I man enough for them, do the other guys have something I don't... nothing. God, it's such a relief. Martin, I can't tell you how thankful I am you convinced me. It's the best thing that's ever happened to me."
Martin clapped him on the shoulder and petite, dark-skinned Tammy leaned over to give him a chaste hug. "We're so happy for you," she said. "The Romantex, it's amazing, huh? And the fiber's so small you can't even feel it going in!"
"Now you understand, yeah, Bob?" said Monica, handing him a beer as she retook her seat and slurped foam from her mug. "Ugh, imagine; thirty years ago, before Fiberlobotics, we'd have been slaves to our hormones, desperate to find a mate." She shuddered. "I don't get why some people still haven't had a Romantex. Who wants heartbreak after heartbreak, feeling like shit all the time, worrying about being cheated o--" She stopped herself. "Oh! Bob, I didn't mean... I just meant, you can have any part of your brain altered, I don't know why anybody would deal with that."
Bob sipped. "Don't worry about it. I couldn't tell you why. I was so damn crazy for her; I guess my brain thought I needed a wife." He snorted.
Jane spoke up for the first time, smiling a pretty pink smile and smoothing her sweater over her bosom. "Well, that brings up something I need to tell you." She giggled. "I'm getting married!"
Pete slopped beer down his front, Monica rocked her chair back, Bob slapped his forehead.
"Well, it's not because I'm in love, obviously, or want kids or anything," Jane said, fiddling with her glass. "But I've always kind of liked those houses over on the North Side, you know, in Appleton. They have grass. And flowers. I've been driving over there a lot, and it's... quaint, I guess. Even the kids are all right. I think we might have one, me and John. A girl. Then I can fix her hair and drive her to school." She glanced up and smiled uncertainly.