I Have This Condition
I’m invisible. Okay—not invisible in the conventional sense of the word but I can walk by a small group of other women whispering and they don’t bother to stop or even slow down their gossiping. I go to the ladies and pass a couple of girls talking about who’s going to do which guy that night and the like and nobody turns their head even when I stand next to them washing my hands and I’m as much a hand washing freak as can be.
I took the test to get on the police department and in the essay wrote about my invisibility and how it would come in handy doing undercover work. When I didn’t hear from the police department in a month I stopped in and asked about my application and was left sitting for two hours and a shift change. Someone new asked why I was there and I told him and he had me sit again and I heard him call and leave a message asking about my test.
I left him my number and he said he’d make sure that someone called me the next day and sure enough I got a call but it was from this same patrolmen who had no news but asked me out on a date.
I agreed to meet him Friday night at Wine & Roses, a trendy restaurant mid town at seven and I got there early and took a seat at the bar and nursed a glass of white wine. He came in a few minutes before seven, looked around the bar, walked into the restaurant and then came back into the bar and sat a few stools down from me. He looked my way and I nodded and smiled slightly and he nodded back and turned and ordered a drink. I waited for him to talk to me while he had a couple more on the rocks and then I got up and left.
As I walked by him I said, “Excuse me, do I know you?” And he said he didn’t think so but thanks anyway but he was waiting for his date to show up.
The next day I got a letter in the mail telling me that I passed the first part of the policeman’s test and was told to pack a bag and show up at the station and be prepared to stay away for three weeks for physical training.
While I was waiting in line to board the bus the officer I was to have dinner with came over to me. “I don’t like being stood up,” he whispered in my ear. “You better hope if you pass you don’t get assigned to me.”
“I never saw you before in my life,” I said and boarded the bus. He had that strange, I’d better give up drinking look on his face as the bus slowly pulled away. He watched and I waved to him as we passed.
He didn’t notice.
Paul Beckman’s stories are widely published in print and online in the following magazines amongst others: Connecticut Review, Raleigh Review, Litro, Playboy, Pank, Blue Fifth Review, Flash Frontier, Metazen, Boston Literary Magazine, Thrice Fiction and Literary Orphans. His work has been included in a number of anthologies and published in a dozen countries. Paul earned his MFA in creative writing from Bennington College. His latest collection of flash stories, “Peek”, published by Big Table Publishing weighed in at 65 stories and 120 pages. His website is www.paulbeckmanstories.com