Short Cuts: fiction by a top writer in Poetry
“Well, hello there, little lady!”
Jordan instantly regrets taking the seat across from Chris. She hates Chris when he looks so smug. She hates him the rest of the time, too, but it’s the shit-eating grin he’s currently wearing that really sets her off. “What are you looking so smug about?”
If he knows it, he doesn’t show it. “I’m kind of a big deal.”
“What are you — Ron Burgundy?” She’s pleased with her comeback, but Jordan thinks Chris is more like the other guy from that other movie who makes the smart chick throw up in her mouth a little. Only without the hitting-on-me part. Thank fuck.
“Never mind.” She unwraps her sandwich and hates it, but not as much as she hates Chris, and certainly not as much as she hates his shit-eating grin. “Anyway, what?”
He’s thrown for a beat but recovers quickly, disguising his folly as a dramatic pause. “Wait for it…” As if she has a choice. “Ate Kay on egg roll.”
“You did what on an egg roll?”
He rolls his eyes, suggesting he’s even more pleased by her apparent stupidity than by whatever he hasn’t yet told her. “Not egg roll. Egral.”
“I’m supposed to know what that is?”
“Egral!” Because saying it louder will help her understand, she guesses. “The premier longform writing platform! You don’t know it?”
“Egral is a stupid name and it sounds like egg roll.” She points at his lunch. “Like that.”
“That’s not an egg roll; it’s a spring roll. And Egral is not stupid; it’s smart. Which you’d have noticed if you were smart.” He takes a bite of his spring roll and chews methodically.
I wonder if he realises I can hear those semicolons. Jordan chokes down a chuckle, careful not to derail the conversation. The last thing she needs is another diva outburst like yesterday’s. Plus, she’s brewing a juicy one, and if she can keep him here another ten minutes, she can crop dust him on the way out. So catty!
“Seriously, you don’t get it?”
After a dramatic sigh, Chris continues: “It’s large, backwards.” He pauses again, waiting for Jordan’s a-ha moment to kick in, but he’s left hanging. “Get it? Because it’s turning Big Content around, giving credit where it’s due?”
“And where’s that?” Jordan gives approximately zero point two three fucks about where credit is due. She takes a large bite of her sandwich and savours it for just a moment before swallowing. No methodical chewing here. It’s curried egg. Her mum loves to make curried egg sandwiches because Jordan loves to eat them. Also, because it stops the boys from hanging around Jordan.
“Curried egg? Ugh.” Chris shudders and loses his train of thought.
Jordan doesn’t bother to remind him.
No, of course it doesn’t end there! It continues in Two: Omelette…