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Featured Artist Stories - Fiction

Night Lights   Short'n'quick
September 1, 2001

Fancy, chic, high-tech compatibility

by Robert Pesa   PrintEasy

It's a programmable dating card,' the bouncer had shouted, his lips nearly brushing my ear. 'You pin it to your shirt. When you stand near someone who's compatible, those little lights start twinkling.'

Email to a FriendBut after three hours in the techno club my dating card remained twinkle-free, despite numerous forays into the forest of bobbing heads and manufactured fog.

At midnight I followed Heather's suggestion to stand outside of the restrooms, the idea being to maximize exposure. Heather was full of ideas, although the Big Idea, to date other people, had been mutual.

'We're still young,' she'd said, and I'd agreed.

'It's too soon to settle down,' I'd said, and she'd nodded.

So I positioned myself by the restrooms, hopeful yet un-twinkling, for the next two hours. I reviewed my bio, entered earlier into the kiosk at the door, among the throng of impatient elbows. Favorite food: French cuisine. Hobbies: Long walks on the beach. Aspiration: Astronaut. My lapel should have glittered like Times Square on New Years; instead it was Tuesday night at the rest home.

I imagined Heather at some other club tonight, mingling amid the smoky laser strobes and pounding trip-hop beat, probably with more success. I almost wished her luck.

At 2 A.M., my faith in technology shaken, I exited the club. I headed home, but my car disobeyed and brought me to Heather's apartment.

I checked for the agreed-upon Do Not Disturb sign, in this case a Yankees cap on the doorknob, but it was absent. Heather was already in bed, her clothes in their customary heap on the floor. A programmable dating card caught my eye, on top of the pile, still pinned to the lapel of her blouse.

I built my own heap of clothes, and we made love in the fitful glow of twinkling lights.

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