07/21/21 Snippet, DEEP IN THE HEART OF SEX FISH.

This really needed some more expansion. Ach, well, that’s how you learn.

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Emily also wore her hair a lot longer in real life than she did in the picture. She kept in a bun, with two carved white chopsticks to secure it, so that seemed like an obvious conversational gambit: “Your hairpieces. They look…” I almost said ‘pretty,’ but decided at the last second to say ‘elegant’ at the last second.

That was a better word to use, because it got a smile out of her. It was only a small one, but the wattage on it was impressive all the same. “Thank you, Bob. They’re favorites of mine.”

I looked at them — well, maybe I looked at her, and used the chopsticks as an excuse. They looked like bone, and had carvings on them that triggered a guess: “Scrimshaw?”

And it was a good guess, because she turned up the wattage on the smile a little. “Yes! My great-great grandfather carved them out of walrus bone, as a wedding gift. We’ve worn them ever since.”

“Elegant and a family heirloom?” I said. “Now I’m flattered. Because you thought this date was worth it, I mean.” Inside I winced, because it sounded a lot more stupid when I said it aloud. Don’t screw this up! But she laughed, which made me relax a little. If she thought that was funny, I probably was going to get away with sounding like a dork. At least this one time. Better make sure you take this real slow, Bob. Don’t expect any miracles here.

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