This week marks the fifth entry in Coast Weekend’s fiction writing contest. To participate, send in a short story, no longer than 250 words, to firstname.lastname@example.org. Entries can be continuations of published prompts or new works of fiction. This week’s edition shifts from focusing on Astoria’s past to a more modern tale. Here is “Internet Boy Meets Online Girl,” by Jan Bono, of Long Beach, Washington.
‘Internet Boy Meets Online Girl’
“You can’t make this stuff up,” I said to myself as I mentally gave my forehead a good hard head slap. “Did you really think you’d find love on an internet dating site?”
His profile said he was 47, financially secure and owned his own business. The photo showed him in a suit and tie, standing next to a sleek black Tesla.
The man who emerged from the vehicle might be 47, but the suit was long gone. Instead, he wore faded jeans with threadbare knees and his t-shirt read, “I got Crabs in Long Beach.”
I nearly bit my lower lip in half when he wiped his right palm on his grimy jeans, and stuck out his hand. “I’m Earl,” he said.
I reluctantly shook his hand and nodded. “Earl the Sqwearl,” I replied. “That’s the name you put on your profile.”
He grinned ear to ear, showing less than a full complement of teeth. “You remembered!”
I retrieved my hand and nodded again, this time toward his vehicle. “Is your Tesla in the shop today?”
Earl turned to look back at his battered pickup. The color on the front fender on the driver’s side didn’t match the rest of the truck, and the passenger door was held on with what appeared to be camo-colored duct tape. He shrugged. “I’m a handyman. I don’t need no fancy car.”
Apparently, he didn’t need no fancy girlfriend, neither.