The Ben Franklin Contingency

flash fiction, dating, humor, Modern PhilosopherMark and Ian, a couple of thirtysomething guys, sat across from each other at the table next to the front window of the coffee shop.

It was raining pretty hard, and since they both liked the rain, they’d chosen their seats so they could keep one eye on the storm.

“Didn’t you say you were going to try a new dating app?” Ian asked before taking a sip of his coffee.

Mark shrugged.  “Yeah. I tried it, but it’s not working very well.”

Ian raised an eyebrow.  “What do you mean?”

“I’m not getting any matches or messages,” Mark revealed with a heavy sigh.  “I’m pretty sure I know what the problem is, but I’m not sure how to fix it.”

Ian smiled.  “I’m pretty good with apps. Maybe I can help…”

They paused to admire the bolt of lightning that lit up the afternoon sky.

“The problem seems to be that I’m using a photo of me as my profile picture,” Mark explained.  “I think that’s keeping women from replying, and I’m not sure what fake photo to use to get past that issue.”

Ian chuckled and stirred his coffee.  “There’s not much I can do to help there.”

“But you can still help,” Mark chirped hopefully.  “How about setting me up again?”

A rumble of thunder made it sound like the gods were opposed to this idea.

“I would, but I don’t have anyone to set you up with, buddy,” he replied in a soft voice without making eye contact.

flash fiction, dating, humor, Modern Philosopher“How about your sister?” Mark suggested excitedly as you emptied two packs of sugar into his coffee and stirred vigorously.

Ian stared across at him with a mix of anger and fear in his eyes.

“My sister is too young for you,” he snapped.

“Five years isn’t too young,” Mark insisted.  “Come on, dude.  I’ve had a crush on her for ages.  Don’t you want to be my brother-in-law?”

“There’s also the issue of her being married,” Ian added as lightning once again illuminated the sky.

“Still?” Mark asked as his shoulders slumped.  “That guy from the wedding seemed like a real boring prick.

“I don’t know what to tell you,” Ian shot back with a shrug.

“You need to make new friends,” Mark offered a brilliant idea to solve the problem.  “New friends who are single, attractive women.  They don’t even need to be that attractive.  Just willing to go out with me.”

Ian turned to look out at the rain.  “Why would I want new friends when the ones I already have are so amazing and not at all demanding?”

Mark flipped him the bird.  “At this point, I bet I have a better chance of walking out into that storm and getting struck by lightning, than I do of finding a date.”

Ian nodded slowly like he was giving that some thought.  “I’d have to agree with you there. In fact, I think you should do it because the mere act will exponentially increase your chances of meeting someone new.”

Now Mark raised an eyebrow.  “How so?”

“If you stand out there in a torrential downpour, and jumped around and waved your arms like you were calling out for the lightning to strike you, I bet people would find that intriguing enough to approach you and ask what you’re doing.”

flash fiction, dating, humor, Modern PhilosopherMark nodded in emphatic agreement.  “And the odds are that some of those people would be single women.”

“Bingo!” Ian exclaimed.  “You know what would increase your chances even more? Dress up like Ben Franklin and go out there flying a kite with a key on the string.”

“Women love costumes and Ben Franklin and men who are adventurous!” Mark shot back as he pictured himself dressed up like the great inventor.

“And who doesn’t love a guy who flies a kite?” Ian piled on to the already crazy idea.

“If I actually get struck by lightning, that further increases my chances of meeting single women,” Mark continued.  “ENTs will be called to the scene, as well as police.  Maybe even the media since it’s just a smidge out of the ordinary, and it’s a slow news day.  Any or all of them could be women looking to date.”

“Once you get to the hospital, you’d have the staff there,” Ian kept going.  “Nurses, doctors, admissions, and the security guards who would surely be assigned to keep an eye on you in case you decided to chase after more wild weather while dressed like a founding father!”

“Then there would be visits from someone from the psych department, and most likely, an admission to the mental health unit to keep me under observation for a while,” Mark informed him.  “What better place to meet someone crazy enough to date me than in the psych ward?”

Mark slammed his fist against the table in delight, and as if on cue, the sky lit up with several more bolts of lightning.

flash fiction, dating, humor, Modern Philosopher“This is the best idea I’ve had in a long time,” Mark gushed as he chugged the rest of his coffee to prepare himself for his journey out into the storm.  “I’m so glad you were here to be a witness to it.”

Mark stood up and looked over at Ian with a odd, but genuine smile on his face.

Ian grumbled, pulled his cell phone from his jacket pocket, opened up something on his screen, and then handed it across to Mark.

Mark looked at the photo of the attractive woman on the screen and smiled, as he slowly sat down again.

“What’s her name?”

“Colleen,” Ian told him.  “She started in my office a couple of weeks ago.  I told her about you, showed her a few photos, and she’s totally up for going out with you.”

There was a loud rumble of thunder as Mark passed the phone back to his friend.

“You were really going to make me go out into that storm weren’t you?” Mark asked with a wise ass grin on his face.

“I do enjoy seeing how far you’d go to guilt me into stetting you up on a date,” Ian admitted and then smiled devilishly.

flash fiction, dating, humor, Modern Philosopher“You’re a good friend,” Mark assured him.  “Even if you did let your sister marry that ass hat just so to keep her from going out with me.”

“I’d do almost anything for my friends, but let’s not get crazy,” Ian advised with a wink.

About Austin

Native New Yorker who's fled to the quiet life in Maine. I write movies, root for the Yankees, and shovel lots of snow.
This entry was posted in Dating, Humor and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to The Ben Franklin Contingency

  1. markbialczak says:

    I was ready for the lightning strike, Austin. Way to back it down.

  2. AAristizabal says:

    You made a pretty good analogy here for being “starstruck” 🙂

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