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Ruby’s left eye was twitching. She could almost hear her grandma Lily’s’s voice saying “Somethin’ good this way comes!” The last time that happened, she found a $20 bill in an old pair of pants. She checked her left pocket just in case. Then the right one. Nope. Not it. Come to think of it, maybe it was her left ear that twitched that time. Or was it her nose?

Stifling a yawn, Ruby checked her watch. Seventeen minutes and twenty two seconds. She didn’t know a poem could last that long. Well, of course there was Beowulf, but poems in Olde English don’t count.

Speaking of Old English, she needed to get some furniture polish for her roommate, Peter, whose mission on Earth was to polish and dust everything in sight. In fact if she hadn’t stopped him, he would have sprayed Endust all over her black cat, Smartypants, who suffered from a terminal case of dandruff. Not that Ruby cared. But Peter…well he was a one-man cleaning committee. Ruby didn’t get it. As far as she was concerned, if you can just get past the first couple of weeks, the incremental dust after that seems negligible.

A burst of grateful applause brought her back into the room. The epic poet slinked off the stage in a pool of his own sweat. “And now be still my heart. He cometh!” Ruby whispered to herself.

Lawrence Riviera took the stage like a matador entering the ring. He was one of the most exciting writers in New York City – or anywhere as far as Ruby was concerned. Every time she read “I’ll Never Forget You” she actually felt her toes curl. Up to that point, she’d only read about such things in books she’d found in Grandma Lily’s dusty bookcase. (A sure sign Peter had never been there.)

Ruby relaxed into Riviera’s richly resonant voice, which seemed to electrify his natural wild blond mane of hair. Up there on the stage, he looked like a cross between a mad scientist and a child raised by wolves. But his words were like a soft caress.

Ruby imagined he was looking right at her as he read from her favorite book. And then, just for a moment, their eyes actually met. She heard herself gasp out loud as she felt her toes curl yet again. The rest of the reading was a bit of a blur – but oh what a nice blur it was.

And then, before she knew it, he was gone. Poof! The stage was empty. Her toes were just plain old toes again. Sigh. Maybe she’d pop by Grandma Lily’s house on the way home to borrow a dusty book or two.

Peter spent the rest of the week listening to Ruby talk about Riviera. Now he loved Ruby, but enough was enough. The girl had to move from fantasy to reality. And then he had an idea that might just help that along.

Turns out his writing professor actually went to high school with Lawrence Riviera. After a short flurry of e-mails, Peter arranged to meet Riviera at a local coffee shop. He was determined to get him to agree to come over to their apartment for a home-cooked dinner – just for the three of them. Let Ruby’s curling toes get ready for action!

The meeting went well. Peter was surprised at how easy it was to talk to Lawrence. He was just a New York guy after all. No leonine god. But plenty cute, for sure. Before they knew it, four hours had passed. They were amazed at the number of things – and people – they had in common. And, as it turned out, they had one other thing in common. That was the first of many dates.

Three months later, Peter and Lawrence moved into their beautiful new 2-bedroom apartment on the Upper West Side. Ruby agreed to help plan the wedding and give the bride away.

Meanwhile, Ruby decided it was time to look for another reading. But this time she was taking no chances. No more toe curling for her. At least not for a while.

Perfect! She found the ideal thing just a few blocks away. Sapho Kowalski was reading from her new play “Leggy Lesbian Looking for Love”. Ruby figured that was about as safe as she could get. She barely even noticed her right eye twitching as she dialed for the ticket. Or was it her left?

——

Tee hee.  Hope that at least amused some of you. (-;

A personal note: This is a very very short story I wrote for fun – kind of a no-pressure writing exercise combined with a challenge for a certain writer cyber-pal who knows who she is. (Tag, by the way.)