Kurt met Jenny’s eyes through the lenses of her thick glasses.“I can’t believe it’s taken us so long to do this,” he said. She smiled and raised her coffee. They clinked mugs.

“I know. I’ve wanted to meet with you for some time.”

The bell above the diner’s door chimed, drawing the pair’s attention. The slender woman in the entrance looked out of context for the setting. Her copper hair swished this way and that while she searched the booths for someone.

Kurt met her gaze then quickly looked away; it was already too late.

He heard the click, click, click of her heels on the linoleum floor as she picked her way towards them. The noise stopped beside their table.

“Dr Baldwin?” She said, her voice breathy.

He looked up. “Yes?”

She slid into the booth opposite him, not waiting for an invitation. Kurt looked at Jenny who shrugged.

The red-head reached for Kurt’s hand. He wasn’t fast enough to move away before she wrapped delicate fingers around it, pulling him toward her. She leaned forward, barely-constrained breasts squashed against the wooden table top. Jenny made to say something, but the red-head spoke first. “You must help me. The curse…”

Kurt rolled his eyes, held up his free hand. “Sorry, not interested.”

“Kurt!” Jenny gasped.

The red-head frowned and sat back, releasing his hand. Her mouth opened and closed a few times, like a fish out of water. She looked like she struggled to line up the words behind those full, wet lips. “What do you mean ‘not interested’?”

“Exactly that. I’m. Not. Interested.”

“I don’t—”

Kurt cut her off. “Look, I’ve had four of your lot after me this week alone. Like I told them, I don’t care if there’s hidden treasure in the amazon, it doesn’t concern me that a Siberian shaman is searching for a spell to destroy Russia, I sleep better not knowing whether the lost pharaoh is still alive in an Egyptian hookah bar, and I’m certainly not interested in any bloody curse.”

“Oh,” the red-head pouted. “But, you’re the only man who—”

“Stop it. Stop it now. Do I look like a storybook knight to you? Am I what you think of when someone says ‘the novel’s protagonist’?” He waved his hands up and down indicating an abject lack of “hero physique”. “What about me screams ‘flash fiction main character’?”

The red-head thought a moment “Erm…”

“I rest my case. Now, would you kindly leave us be.”

“You’re sure you won’t—?”

“Certain of it,” he said and wondered as she left if the dismissive wave was too much. He turned back to Jenny. “Where were we?”

Jenny stared at him for a moment then took off her glasses and reached to pull the clip from her hair. It fell around her shoulders in soft curls sweeping away the academia-chic and replacing it with unbridled sex appeal.

“Dr Baldwin…”

”Oh, for heaven’s sake! Not you too.”

12 thoughts on “Thirteen Week Streak – Week 8: Dr Baldwin, I Presume

    1. I often wonder what would happen if a character turned down their quest. Would it move on without them or would things conspire to draw them along regardless? Likewise, I wonder what the implications are of a character realising the truth of their fictional existence. The latter is especially frightening considering how often I torture mine…

  1. I love not knowing why these people keep asking him for help with these things. It adds more mystery. I agree with the rest; this story is very meta and very good.

  2. Pingback: Short Story of the Week for July 30, 2017 – ADAN RAMIE

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