Chapter 1

Jason and Francis stared at me. I grinned like a retard with a cookie and slurred:

"Heyyyy, why the fuck not?"

I leaned my elbow through the crowd, kicked a barstool out the way, and sidled up next to them in front of three whiskey shots. A puddle of beer on the oak bar counter soaked through my shirt sleeve before I could yank it away. I caught my reflection in the mirror behind the liquor shelf. Hey there sexy, I thought as I fixed my tie.

Jason caught me and shook his head, "Hold on, let's wait until Jon's done putting on his make-up."

Francis was rolling too fast to notice though, and had already raised his glass: "Cheers, bitches! To Jason finishing his Master's, and to Jon finding true love, once again, in any reflective surface that happens to be nearby!"

To love, I thought. Clink.

We traded the three empty shot glasses for three pints, and turned away from the bar to survey the talent around us. It wasn't bad for a Wednesday night.

"How about those two?" I asked, gesturing at a pair of dancing brunettes in front of the band. Jason was not impressed:

"Dude, they're busted. The little one has a face like a Picasso painting. And I wouldn't talk to her friend unless I was getting her autograph at the World's Strongest Man competition."

I shrugged. "The little one has a nice body."

Francis squinted at the pair: "Yeah, she does. But her friend is large. I wouldn't say she's fat. Just big. Like a shot-putter."

"Well fuck you guys, I'm going to go hit on them."

Jason winced: "Why? Are you going to hire them as scarecrows?"

The girls picked that moment to get a drink at the bar. The little one gave me a quick eye on the way. I smiled back and started walking towards her. In the ten steps it took, her appearance downgraded from 'bangable butterface' to 'repulsive swamp donkey'. Proximity had shaved a full point from her score on the binary one-zero scale of female attractiveness. I made a decision:

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