“So, ah, what do you do? For a living?” Tim seemed nervous about even this basic question.
Valerie, who had been looking around the room, pretending to be distracted by something she had seen, turned back to him. “I’m an adult film star.”
In the inch before it would have reached the dinner table, Tim dropped his water. He fumbled with it, making things worse. Had he not panicked, Valerie suspected he wouldn’t have spilled any. To his credit, he managed not to tip the whole glass. She smiled as he splashed water on the tablecloth. It was the first time she’d felt amused all night.
“Oh, really?” Tim tried to sweep some of the water off of the table with his hand. “You, um. I didn’t. I thought you would have said something about that, before.”
“Before our date?” Valerie’s smile deepened. If he wasn’t going to amuse her, she had to amuse both of them. “Does that bother you?”
The flush creeping up Tim’s next was painfully obvious on his pale skin. “No! No, I mean, it’s income. Right? Everyone has to make money somehow.”
Valerie laughed. “I’m just kidding. Did you really believe me? I’m an accountant.”
“Oh,” Tim said. He shifted uncomfortably in his seat. He actually looked a bit disappointed, Valerie thought, which only served to amuse her more. “That’s good.” His eyes widened slightly. “I mean, it would have been fine either way. I just, that’s more like what I do, and I don’t really know anything about porn, and I was wondering what we were going to talk about, and then I was thinking about how many—” His eyes widened further. He seemed to choke on his words. “I’m sorry. I get really nervous on dates and I just start talking, and it doesn’t make any sense sometimes…” He shook his head and grabbed his glass for another drink of water. He tilted it as far as he could, but the glass was empty except for the ice, which struck him in the face.
Valerie leaned back in her chair. That was more words than she had heard Tim say all night. He was cute, sure. Caleb had been right about that. It was the only reason Valerie had let him set up the date. She could tell already that this wasn’t going to go past dinner, though.
“What is that you do?” she asked. She might as well be polite and feign interest.
Tim looked confused. “I’m a teller at the bank,” he said. “That’s how I know Caleb.”
Right. Valerie had already known that. “Ah, yes. I remember Caleb mentioning that.” She had been listening more intently to Caleb’s description of Tim’s butt than, well, anything else.
Awkward silence followed. Valerie wished their food would arrive so that she could at least pretend not to be talking because she had a full mouth. She felt her stomach rumbling. Odd. She hadn’t thought she was very hungry, but she could literally feel it stirring.
“Do you like fun?” Tim asked. “No, I mean, sorry. Do you like to have fun?” Tim winced.
“One more try,” Valerie interjected.
Tim smiled, though it was the twitchy sort that Valerie recognized as forced. “What do you like to do for fun?”
“Men. Sometimes women.” Valerie laughed out loud at Tim’s reaction. She wasn’t kidding, this time, but she decided not to tell him that. “Mostly I just hang out with my friends. We eat, we drink, we go to concerts. You know, that sort of thing.”
“That does sound fun.” Tim did not sound convinced. Suddenly, Valerie wondered if she was somehow boring him as much as he bored her. That was just not possible. She was objectively more interesting.
“I like to play video games, mostly,” he continued. “Sometimes board games.”
“Oh.” Valerie didn’t even try to sound intrigued. “My younger brother plays a lot of video games.”
“What does he like to play?” Tim asked.
Valerie’s stomach rumbled again. She tried to ignore it, but it was worse, this time. It felt like, if she looked down, she would see it moving beneath her dress. It also seemed like it was rumbling lower than before, as though her stomach had drifted down toward her feet. “I’m sorry, what?”
“Uh, what games does your brother like to play?” Tim repeated. Valerie could tell he was frustrated at having to repeat himself, but he was too nice to say anything about it.
“I don’t know. Kid’s stuff,” she said dismissively. “What are those games called? Fortnite? Somebody’s Battlefield?”
“Yeah, maybe.” She didn’t care, but to make matters worse, she was becoming increasingly distracted by the feeling in her stomach. It felt like her intestines were vibrating. She gasped, out loud, as an epiphany came upon her. This was not hunger.
Tim didn’t seem to notice her moment of revelation. “I wouldn’t say those are just for kids. I don’t really play PUBG, but Fortnite is pretty fun. I like online FPS in general. I’m too old to ever really be competitive, but I like to play anyway. I hate when I end up with a bunch of young kids, though, and they’re all better than me.”
Valerie clenched her sphincter. This was not good. She should be running to the bathroom, but she was suddenly afraid of standing up. It felt like someone had turned on a hose inside her intestines and it was gushing hot fluid into her gut.
“I try to play a lot of different games, but I just end up getting stuck on the same old ones over and over,” Tim continued, oblivious. “Like, I don’t even want to talk about how many hours I’ve put into Skyrim and the Witcher III. It’s obscene. Of course, I also don’t want to talk about how many games I own that I haven’t even played yet. That’s even worse.”
The demonic flood inside of her hadn’t fully descended yet. She should go right now. She could feel it boiling down her chute, approaching her rectum faster than a motorcyclist on the freeway. She stood up.
“Are you alright?” Tim asked. He stood, too. “Did I say something to offend you?”
“No, you didn’t,” Valerie said. She tried to smile, but she was using every muscle in her body to control the hot mass inside of her. Even the muscles on top of her skull tensed as they, too, tried to contribute.
“I’m sorry. I know that you’re not interested in video games. We can talk about music, if you like,” Tim said. He obviously thought she was leaving. He moved around the table toward her.
“I do like music,” Valerie said. She felt bad for him. He hadn’t even been enjoying her company, but here he was, trying desperately to keep it. “I just have to go.” Soon, it would be too late. She could feel it now, pounding at the gate. She thought her knees might buckle. She should not have eaten at Taco Bell for lunch.
“I haven’t been on a date since my wife left me,” Tim said desperately. “Maybe we can just start over. After we eat, we can go somewhere else and find something else to talk about.” He stepped up to her, placing his hand on her shoulder. “I feel like maybe I could get to like you.”
Valerie just groaned, and not just because of what he had said. She reached out and grabbed his shoulder as her knees did, in fact, begin to give out. The floodgates opened. What appeared to be melted chocolate, at the perfect consistency for fondu, poured out of the bottom of her dress in a torrent. The sound was horrid, like a tuba filled with mud. It covered her inner thighs. It splashed across the carpet and onto her shoes. It sprayed up against the shins of Tim’s khaki pants.
“Holy shit,” Tim said, stepping back.
Valerie ran. She had to stop at the door, where more shot out of her. This time it was chunkier. She wasn’t sure if it was good or bad that she hadn’t worn panties. She didn’t stop to think about it. She took her high heels off, cursed the whole damn night, and tried to run faster than her feces.