Flash fiction challenge to the eponymous prompt.
|Nathan watched the girl’s locker. Julie would be out soon, a graceful contrast to his geekiness, but he was determined.
“Did it finish?”
“What?” Nathan turned, “Oh. Yeah. It finished.”
“Today, then? You gonna do it?”
The girls entered.
“Yeah.” said Nathan, “Right now.”
The nerds of first hour PE wondered as Nathan approached The Girls, who parted as he came near. Julie’s face was composed and tolerant, framed by fragrant twists of black hair tracing her neck and shoulder. The girls chittered in the background.
“Hi” said he.
“Hi” said she.
A pause. “I wanted to tell you something.”
“Oh?” Julie raised an eyebrow. “What?”
“I’m good with computers …”
“OK.” Julie replied, uncertain. The chittering intensified.
Nathan took a breath. “I wanted to ask you out. I didn’t know how. My friends weren’t much help … so I wrote some software.”
Julie raised her other brow. The girls went silent.
“I mean, I downloaded an A.I. to figure out how to talk to you. I fed it articles, books, your Facebook feed … I know. Creepy. But I wanted it to work, OK? I coded for months. Last night I turned it on.”
“This.” Nathan produced a charred computer chip. “My computer exploded. Completely destroyed itself.”
“Why are you telling me this?” Julie asked.
“That computer was everything to me. Years of work, all gone.”
Julie’s eyes narrowed. “Are you saying this is my fault?”
“No. NO! Let me finish. I thought I would be heartbroken, but I wasn’t. Losing everything … I realized I had nothing to lose! I had been so cautious. So stupid. I decided I would tell you: I like you and I’d like to go out some time. What do you say?”
The girls gawked. Julie sensed a floating feeling and jumbled thoughts. Words came. They seemed right. “OK. Where did you have in mind?”
Nathan smiled. Grateful. The computer was broken.