Bad Date

Our father never smiled in pictures. Not a single one in 72 years. He told us it wasn’t dignified. “Too often you look like a fool, so why risk it?” he said.

My brother and sister invited me to casino night to meet a girl. Her name was Heather. “Thai parents, though,” Bonnie assured me like she was verifying the authenticity of a 100-dollar bill. “Great teeth. Great smile. She likes to laugh, and you like to tell jokes, David. You two will be perfect.”

My brother, Chris, clad in his customary black, smirked. He’s a decade younger than I am, a Lothario who can’t imagine how I wander though life minus a girl on my arm. “When was the last time you got laid, David?” Chris asked as we walked from the parking lot to the conference room in the Best Western that had been converted into a gambling den.

I didn’t answer. It wasn’t important. I wanted to look dignified when Heather stood me up. Bonnie hustled us to the red curtain where the complimentary photo was snapped. “She told me she’d be here,” Bonnie said. “I don’t know what happened.”

The photographer asked if we were ready. I thought about my father. “Don’t smile,” I said. “Don’t even think about it.”


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