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“Why do you think it does that?”

“What?”

“Splits like that?”  Marie sat at the edge of the bed, eyes crossing and uncrossing to inspect the ends of her hair.

“‘Cause y’wash it wrong or somethin’, I don’t know.  Hey, stop that,” Iz swatted at her, “Don’t pluck at it – you’ll go bald.”

“Will not.”

“Will too – happened to Martha’s great aunt Pauline or whatever,” Iz sat at the cluttered hand-me-down desk, flipping though glossy fashion pages, “Picked at the split ends and went totally bald.”

“She did not.”

“Like an eight-ball.”

“Martha doesn’t even have a great-aunt Pauline.”

“How do you know?”

“How do you?” Marie twisted her brow.

“Ok, well it was somebody then,” Iz said, “Hey, how’d it go the other night?”

“I don’t wanna talk about it.”

“You gotta talk about it,” Iz insisted, “I set you up – how did it go?

Marie dragged her hands over her face.

“Jesus, it wasn’t that bad was it?”

“The longest hour of my life.”

“You only stayed an hour?”

“Why would I stay longer? It was like pulling teeth to get him to say anything.”

“I told you he was shy.”

“Yeah well,” Marie frustrated, “There’s shy and there’s mute.  Felt like I had to fill up the space – or entertain him or something… And you failed to mention the sweating.”

“He can’t help that…I’m pretty sure it’s a medical thing.”

“And the hyena laugh,” Marie screeched the hiccupy sound, “Just like that.”

“Really?”

“I swear t’God.  And loud – really loud – like, the other tables looked worried.  Seriously Iz, why do you insist on setting me up with these guys?”

“Ok,” Iz conceded, “So he wasn’t a dream boat.”

“Definitely not a dream boat,” Marie soured, “More like a compromise canoe.”

“Hey,” Iz perked up, “That’s better than a pity raft.”

“Or buoy of last resort.”

The sour cracked to giggles.  On the other side of the room, Iz flipped the record over.

“So y’gonna see him again?”

Marie just shot a glance.

“Never mind,” Iz laughed.  The needle dropped, and a new song started.

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