‘Alright.’ Tara whispered to herself. ‘Let’s do this.’ She yanked her cellphone loose from the charger and slumped down on her bed. There was no need to scroll through her contact list; the name remained in the middle of the screen where it had been when she closed the app last time.
‘Buying speakers (nikita)’.
Tara clicked it, and as the menu popped up she again selected ‘Send Message’. She stared at the blank conversation and let slip a pained sigh. The clock said 23:49. Plausible enough.
‘Hey’ she typed. ‘so this may be a bit weird but’…
She paused for a moment. Then she erased the whole draft. She scratched her cheek and made another attempt.
‘So I may be a bit drunk right now but’
No. That wasn’t any good either. She had to be concise. The character count would make a big part of the difference between coming across as spontaneous and coming across as a psychopath. The drunkenness would be implied anyway. No need to waste space on it. She started over again.
‘Hey! We don’t really know each other so this may be a bit weird, but… I think you seem cool, so, uh, do you want to hang out?’
Her finger hovered over the Send button, but then she decided to go back and remove the ‘really’ near the beginning. After some consideration she deleted ‘a bit’ and ‘I think’ as well and replaced ‘do you want to’ with ‘you wanna’. Those were improvements, but it needed to look more drunk. She edited out all punctuation but the question mark and changed the uppercase W to lowercase to hide her tracks, then replaced ‘each’ with ‘eacb’
‘Hey we dont know eacb other so this may be weird but you seem cool so uh do you wanna hang out?’
She stared for a while at the ‘uh’, trying to determine if it felt too contrived, then went ahead and deleted the whole text again. She had a new idea, a two-parter: first she would send a message like ‘Wanna grab a beer?’, and then, twenty seconds or so later, she would follow it up with ‘Oops, wrong number. But the offer still stands!’
She typed up the first message, but couldn’t bring herself to send it. Feigning drunkenness was one thing, but outright lying? That would push her further into crazy person territory than she was comfortable with. She erased it and started over.
‘Hey this may be a bit weitd but doyou wanna grab a beer?’ Short and sweet. Before sending it, though, she had to once more go through her plan in case of a positive reply. If Nikita responded, Tara would have to quickly get a bit tipsy before heading out. She still had that perpetually half-full bottle of cranberry liquor though, so that shouldn’t be a problem. Then as they met up, she’d have to recite a story about how she’d gone out with a couple friends but they had disappeared and, well, considering the company they’d been in when she last saw them she’d do best not to search for them, wink wink nudge nudge, so then she’d looked through her contact list for other friends to meet up with and it had turned out that she hadn’t deleted this number yet and, well, this may be a bit unorthodox, but…
Christ. What the hell was she doing? If something required a lie this elaborate to justify, then that was a good sign she shouldn’t be doing it in the first place. Tara had made five minutes of small talk with this Nikita while selling her a pair of used speakers, and even though they had turned out to have a number of favorite bands in common, and even though Nikita had made that exquisitely subtle quip about 90’s pop lyrics, this was not grounds on which a normal person would four days later try to pursue a friendship, was it? This was weird. Tara was being weird. She groaned. Then she deleted the draft, put the phone on her nightstand and rose to brush her teeth.
There was a chime, and the screen lit up. One incoming message.
‘Yo! Thx again for the speakers. Wanna do something sometime?’