crapp

One of Cameron’s favourite things about having a part-time job in the library is the opportunity for people watching – and listening. He also loves that his best friends line the shelves. Which, he realizes, is a bit sad, but at least they never ask him to help them move.

Cameron thinks that line is funny.

And then there is “her.”

Cameron always says (well, wrote on his blog once) that any straight man worth his salt has a “her.”

And then he explained that we use that expression because in Ancient Rome soldiers used to be partially paid in salt. Then he explained that the word “salary” comes from this. Then he realized that nobody cared.

Cameron’s “her” is Sarah Tunstill.

To date, she has spoken one hundred and forty-three words to him. (If you count “a” as a word.”)

(Cameron does.)

Cameron would lop off a toe to get to touch her shiny hair. Cameron wishes there was a way to express this willingness that wouldn’t make her run screaming from library.

He learned to say it in Spanish.

Cameron has said twenty-seven words to Sarah. More accurately, he has said “Yes” twenty-seven times. On twenty-seven different Tuesdays.

He said “Yes” to everything Sarah said.

“Nice weather?”

“Yes.”

And…

“I’m so glad they had this book.”

“Yes.”

And…

“How long have you been working here?”

“Yes.”

And…

“Can I thwap your testicles with this ping pong paddle?”

“Yes.”

(One of those exchanges may not have taken place.)

Cameron’s favourite thing about Mondays is that Tuesdays are only a day away.

Cameron hates Wednesdays.

This day was a Monday.

Cameron almost whistled on his way to work. It was sunny. The birds were singing — but not obnoxiously loud. The coffee place had gotten his order perfect. And he whistled.

Sort of.

In reality, his whistle was to music what boy bands are to… well, music.

Around noon, maybe noon thirty, a guy in his twenties ran through the library. Before Cameron could whisperyell at the dude, he was gone. Cameron noticed that the guy had dropped something and went over to pick it up. He had hoped he could find the guy’s name.

Cameron doesn’t like to miss an opportunity to whisperyell.

It was an iPhone. But not like any iPhone he had ever seen. When he picked it up, a menacing smiley face appeared on the screen and winked at him.

Cameron thought that was a tad odd. But he went to the address book and scrollled through it. Cameron considered calling the “Mom” number. No mother, after all, would want her son running willy-nilly through libraries.

But curiousity got the better of him, and he wanted to see what kind of apps “Little Johnny Speedster” had on his phone.

He found the typical apps. Tip calculator. Music recognizer. Countdown timer to Julianne Hough turning 21.

But there was one that caught his eye. It was just a warning sign. (Literally.) Nothing else.

Cameron was not a risk taker, but he was intrigued. He touched it.

“20” appeared on the screen.

It disappeared and was replaced with “Shake me.”

Cameron looked around. Filled with pee and vinegar because the next day was Tuesday, he shook it.

“PFFFZZZZTTTTTTTTTTT” accompanied a blinding flash of light.

Cameron found himself standing five feet from his previous position. The iPhone was back on the floor.

Cameron had seen/read/and secretly penned enough science fiction to understand that this was clearly a magical “do over” app.

He ran to the iPhone and picked it up.

The screen said “19.” Which, again, faded to “Shake me.”

Cameron looked around nervously. He quickly stogged the iPhone in his pocket.

He spent the rest of his shift trying to ignore the fact that he had it in his pocket.

That didn’t go well.

That night, at home, Cameron sat and stared at the phone. He had a brief moral issue with using up someone else’s do overs. But then he thought about Sarah.

And then he started writing notes. Very detailed notes, involving carefully drawn diagrams.

He would see Sarah the next day. And from his first do over experience, he figured that each one resets him to what he was doing two minutes earlier. So he couldn’t let a situation play out longer than that.

And he only had 19 tries left.

He arrived at work the next morning a focused man.

He tapped his shirt pocket every five minutes throughout the morning to make sure the iPhone was still there.

He attempted to avoid watching the clock, with mixed results.

Then something caught his attention out of the corner of his eye.

It was her.

Even the way she walked completely blew his mind.

As she got closer, he stealthily took the iPhone out of his pocket and placed it on the desk.

She smiled as she walked up to him. “Hi. Can you tell me where to find–”

“Hi, Sarah!”

She was surprised at how loud that came out. So was he.

He thought for a second before…

Shake.

“PFFFZZZZTTTTTTTTTTT.”

Blinding flash of light.

This time he was going to do it right. He waited impatiently until…

She smiled as she walked up to him. “Hi. Can you tell me where to find the Canadian Poetry section?”

“Why yes, I certainly can,” he said in a strange accent.

She stared at him.

His mind went blank.

Shake.

“PFFFZZZZTTTTTTTTTTT.”

Blinding flash of light.

He stared at the “17 on the screen.”

And so it went.

16.

15.

14.

All pretty much the same.

13.

12.

11.

Well, 11 went a little better.

She smiled as she walked up to him. “Hi. Can you tell me where to find the Canadian Poetry section?”

“Yes. I can.” Three words in a row! He was very impressed with himself. “In fact, I can take you there.”

He put the iPhone in his pocket and walked out from behind the desk. She followed. He asked, “Any Canadian poet in particular?” and turned around to hear her reply. But she was following close behind and he elbowed her.

In the left boob.

She started to say something, but he held up one hand to stop her, while the other hand went into his pocket.

Shake.

“PFFFZZZZTTTTTTTTTTT.”

Blinding flash of light.

10.

9 involved unfortunate swearing.

He considered waiting until the next Tuesday to try again, but worried that the phone’s owner would return.

8.

7. “Yo corteria el dedo de pie si me permite a tocar tu pelo”

6.

5. They got as far as the elevator. And then he sneezefarted. She giggled. He did too.

Shake.

“PFFFZZZZTTTTTTTTTTT.”

Blinding flash of light.

4.

3.

He thought about the lessons he learned watching Groundhog Day, lo those many years ago. Then decided that he didn’t want to manipulate her into liking him. Manipulating the space-time continuum was perfectly cool however.

2. Another dude walked up while they were talking. They had a class together. He was funny.

Shake.

“PFFFZZZZTTTTTTTTTTT.”

Blinding flash of light.

1.

This was it. One try left. If this didn’t work, things would unfold in real time again. No more do overs.

Cameron enjoyed some flop sweats as Sarah approached.

She smiled as she walked up to him. “Hi. Can you tell me where to find the Canadian Poetry section?”

“Sure. I can take you right there.” He smiled. Only a little nervously.

He instinctively put the iPhone in his pocket and walked around the desk.

“Before I take you there,” he continued, “I’d like to ask you a question.”

“Sure,” she replied.

“Would you like to go out for a coffee with me this evening?”

“Really?” She asked. He had no idea what the expression on her face meant.

“Uhm… yes? Unless you don’t want to…”

“You are asking me out?”

“No good?”

“Finally, Cameron! Twenty eight weeks, man!”

He smiled. Big.

She excitedly took his hands. “Cameron… for the last month, I’ve been taking out books on subjects I don’t even study.”

He smiled again. Biggger.

“You did it!” She kept holding his hands and started jumping up and down a little. He jumped along with her.

He didn’t care how silly they looked. They jumped high and higher. His keys jangled in his pocket.

Suddenly something dawned on him.

“Motherfu–!!”

“PFFFZZZZTTTTTTTTTTT.”

Blinding flash of light.

You may also like...

No Responses

  1. Lily says:

    I think any girl worth her salt (and thanks for the etymology lesson) also has a him

  2. shine says:

    My iPhone seems much less cool now. Thanks.

  3. Sybil Law says:

    Awesome story. :)

  4. This was brilliant, Peter. I loved it.

  5. tia says:

    you are a strange yet wonderful man.

  6. Amanda says:

    The iPhone trick – what a creative, and timely notion! Loved this, by the way. Funny and cute.

  7. BS says:

    What does it say about me that I knew the origins of “worth his/her salt”?

    Also, the name Cameron is and will forever be associated with Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

  8. Christina says:

    Amazing story! LOL.

  9. Kara says:

    love it. is it really that hard to talk to someone you see on a regular basis?

  10. MissE says:

    Very cool, Peter.
    Have you thought about submitting that one to literary magazines?

    You seriously rock the twist endings, mate.

  11. Patryce says:

    Great story, very entertaining!

    P.S. Thank you for the CD sharing, they were wonderful :)

  12. i like you (and your writing).

  13. Sid says:

    Canadian’s have their own poetry section in a library?

  14. JenBun says:

    Peter, I love this idea, and I love the way it played out in your writing!

    Very nicely done.

    :)

  15. Matt says:

    HAHA, this story was awesome.

  16. Julie says:

    love. this. really cute and funny. more please!

  17. blue-eyed brunette (Renee) says:

    “Noon-Thirty”, I’ve always loved that time. Really great story!

    PS…apparently I’m delurking your blog today.

  1. December 29, 2009

    […] May […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *