Your cart is empty. Go to Shop

6 Attempts at Winning Jennifer’s Heart

Street art by the Norwegian artist Dolk. Taken in Bergen in 2009.
Street art by the Norwegian artist Dolk. Taken in Bergen in 2009.

Attempt 1: Talk to her.

“Hi,” I say in the break room at Innovations Worldwide, though this is debatable. I might have only cleared my throat. Regardless, I am counting this as the first word I have uttered to Jennifer.

She looks up from her tablet. Her green eyes sparkle in the fluorescent light. She’s most likely reading Stephen King. That’s her favorite author. She’s been listening to the Misery audiobook in her cubicle (which is next to mine) every day this week. I want to tell her he’s my favorite writer too. (But one thing at a time.) “Do I know you?” she says.

“Hi,” I say. My brain has run out of words. An invisible hand tightens around my throat.

I do the only thing possible: I run away.

Note: Technology is your friend.

#

Attempt 2: Try again using Dr. Tomokats’ TimeTripper©.

“Hi.”

“Aren’t you Dr. Tomokats’ quality-control officer?”

I think I nod.

Then I run away.

Note: Time travel solves nothing.

#

Attempt 3: Impress her.

I reprogram Dr. Tomokats’ BattleBorg©.

It enters the break room. “Destroy! Destroy!” the cyborg screeches as it lumbers toward Jennifer. Klaxons blare from its head, its eyes flash red and yellow. (That’s all I programmed it to do; it’s harmless.) I swoop into the room, ready to “save” my co-worker from the “killer” cyborg.

Jennifer taps on its head three times. It deactivates. I had no idea.

I make myself a tea and slink back to my cubicle.

Note: Recommend Dr. Tomokats configure more difficult deactivation protocol.

#

Attempt 4: Seduce her.

I sit at the bench that Jennifer passes every morning on her way to work. I had placed Dr. Tomokats’ Pheromone Amplifier Cologne© on all my pulse points. For good measure, I placed it everywhere else.

I try to keep calm by humming softly to myself, but my nerves kick into overdrive anyway and in time I’m soaked with flop sweat.

Before she turns the corner, I vomit.

Then I run away.

Note: Recommend issuing warning label for Pheromone Amplifier Cologne’s possible toxic reaction to perspiration.

#

Attempt 5: Write her a romantic song.

Words often fail me. So I use Dr. Tomokats’ AutoHitMaker©, which creates and then streams ten thousand songs about Jennifer. Among them: “Jennifer in the Sky With Diamonds,” “Jenny, I Need Your Loving,” and “This Guy’s in Love With You, Jennifer.” I play them all day long in my cubicle. I even sing along. (Under my breath.) I think I’m being pretty overt; in fact, my boldness is giving me a heart attack. But she doesn’t seem to notice.

It’s not until an hour before quitting time that I learn she is being transferred to our downtown facility after only two months here, and she had spent most of the day with her friends on the third floor saying goodbye.

When she returns to her cubicle, she listens to the Watership Down audiobook. It’s breaking my heart. I love that book too.

Note: You’re an idiot.

#

Abort Mission: Move on. Drown yourself in work.

It obviously wasn’t meant to be. I turn my focus on testing Dr. Tomokats’ latest invention, the Multiverse Viewer©.

The first thing I do when I enter Earth-Beta is look for my alternate self. You kinda have to do that, right? I’m living in the same Brooklyn, New York apartment. I pass through the door like a ghost. The place smells like potpourri and the decor is nicer. My Earth-Alpha apartment smells like a warm Ham & Cheese Hot Pocket. I enter the living room and my stomach drops.

Earth-Beta Jennifer and Earth-Beta me are snuggling on the couch watching Jay Leno. (On this Earth Jay never leaves The Tonight Show. It’s classified as a Grade-2 dystopia.) I exit the parallel dimension even more depressed. I’m totally jealous of my alternate self.

I jump into Earth-Tau, where the world is ruled by a werewolf-Hitler. Soon I discover that Jennifer and I are married and lead a band of resistance fighters against Nazi shape-shifters.

In Earth-Zeta, I watch as we board a generation starship that will eventually carry our great-great-great grandchildren to a habitable planet to ensure the continuation of the human race.

On Earth-Omega, a zombie apocalypse has turned us both into the walking dead. I look closer and notice we’re holding hands—and maybe it’s my imagination but our undead faces look kinda happy.

I visit one dimension after another, and we’re always together. So why aren’t we a couple on Earth-Alpha? Is this the one world in an infinite number of possible realities where we are not meant to be together? Am I the unluckiest of all the iterations of me? God, I hate being shy. But Dr. Tomokats hasn’t invented an anti-introvert pill.

Technology has failed me. What now?

It hits my Rube Goldberg of a mind like a ball-bearing that has dropped into a tiny basket, fallen down a length of string, and landed on a tiny bell. It’s so simple. It’s so damn terrifying.

I take a deep breath, I think of those brave bunnies in Watership Down. Then, my heart pounding like mad, I pop my head over the cubicle wall, and I–

#

Attempt 6: Ask Jennifer on a date.

Note: I don’t run away.


james_aquilone_ffo_pic

James Aquilone is an editor and writer, for fun and for profit. His fiction has appeared in Galaxy’s Edge, Weird Tales Magazine, and DarkFuse’s Horror d’oeuvres, among other publications. He has never owned a cellphone and hopes radio dramas make a comeback. Zombies don’t scare him. He lives in Staten Island, New York with his wife, Jennifer (who may or may not be the basis for the above story). Visit his website at jamesaquilone.com.


Become a Patron!

We need all the help we can get. For more info on any number of flash-tabulous rewards including extra stories, personalized critiques, and more:

patreonfriend

Or…

If you enjoy Flash Fiction Online, consider subscribing or purchasing a downloadable copy. Your donations go a long way to paying our authors the professional rates they deserve. For only $0.99/issue that’s cheaper than a cup of coffee. Or subscribe for $9.99/year.

subscribe_button

 

© 2021

Meet the Author

Become a Patron! Check our our NEW membership levels!

Sign up prior to March 31, 2021 to receive access to 365 Days of Flash Fiction Writing Prompts! (See Patreon for details)

FIREFLY

Receives weekly links to new stories, exclusive behind-the-scenes content, and our undying love.

WILL-O-THE-WISP

Receives Monthly discount code for a free download of our current issue, plus benefits from lower levels

SHOOTING STAR

Join our monthly chat/”ask me anything,” plus benefits from lower levels

AURORA

Get a shout-out in our monthly editorial, plus benefits from lower levels

LIGHTNING

Receive a monthly prize, which may include critiques, digital or physical swag, or other special events, plus benefits from lower levels

SUPERNOVA

Receive one flash fiction critique per month, exclusive polls, an opportunity to “sponsor-a-story,” plus all the benefits of lower levels!

5 Comments

  1. MercRustad
    August 13, 2014 @ 9:04 pm

    Super cute!

    Reply

  2. MereMorckel
    August 11, 2014 @ 2:56 pm

    Brilliant – especially werewolf-Hitler. Brilliant.

    Reply

  3. bontox
    August 6, 2014 @ 8:18 pm

    How much fun can one have with their cloths on while online?
    Lots! Thanks to you. My only complaint is by design: what did your character
    do, or say, at the truncated end? Yes, it almost writes itself. Almost. Oh, and
    the fact that I could not care less about who Dr. Tomokats is speaks volumes to
    your abilities as a story-driver. I’m not even mad that you left your
    protagonist, and audience, hanging on the edge of a partitioned wall. Okay.
    Mad? No. Perturbed? Yeah…yeah. Well played.

    Reply

  4. LindajoyJoyful
    August 4, 2014 @ 5:10 pm

    Cute!

    Reply

  5. Von
    August 3, 2014 @ 10:00 pm

    Great story. I loved the format–a very different twist on a romance story. The humor had me smiling, and the conclusion was perfect. Nice work.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Support Flash Fiction Online

Flash Fiction Online is a free online magazine that pays professional rates. So how do we make that happen? It’s due to the generosity of readers like you.

Here are some ways you can help:

Become a Patron.

Sign up to become a monthly donor. Read more…

Subscribe to FFO.

Never miss an issue! E-reader formats delivered to your inbox. Available from WeightlessBooks.com

Buy our issues & anthologies.

Each of our issues and anthologies are available in convenient e-reader formats (epub/mobi/pdf). Available from the Flash Fiction Online Store, WeightlessBooks, and Amazon

Donate.

Consider a one-time gift that fits your budget.


Advertise with us.

Have a product, service, or website our readers might enjoy? Ad space available on the website and in our e-reader issues. Sponsored posts opportunities are also available. Learn more…

Spread the word. 

Love one of our stories or articles? Share it with a friend! 

%d bloggers like this: