Written by Joe Janes
67 of 365
(Lights up on a missile silo control room somewhere in Kansas. Bri and Keely wear dark coveralls. The reasonably attractive Keely sits at a control panel as the reasonably unattractive Bri takes down readings from wall panels on a clipboard.)
BRIMan. You know what I haven’t done in awhile, Keely?
KEELYWhat’s that, Bri?
BRIGo to a movie. Go out to a movie theater, sit in air-conditioned comfort, eat a bag of popcorn, sip on an ice cold coca-cola and watch a flick on the big screen.
KEELYGuess I haven’t done that in awhile, either.
BRIWe should go. After work Friday. Maybe even sneak out of the ol’ silo early. Grab some dinner at the Chicken Shack. Hit the mall and see what’s playing. Sound like a plan?
KEELYSounds more like a date.
BRIDate? Naw. You’ve been clear on that. This is just two co-workers getting away from the drudgery of baby-sitting a nuclear missile. Relaxing. Blowing off some steam. Bitchin’ about the boss.
KEELYYou’re my boss.
BRIJust barely by rank. You can bitch about me.
BRITo my face.
BRIThen it sounds like we’d have a good time.
KEELYBri. No. I don’t go out with people I work with. Makes things weird.
BRIKeely, we both got transferred here. Neither of us knows anybody. We can’t tell anybody that we’re here babysitting a nuclear missile in their backyard. Aren’t you just the least bit lonely?
KEELYYes, Bri. I’m lonely. But it’s just an assignment. We’ll be here a few months and then move on to something else.
BRIRight. And we’ll regret not taking the time getting to know each other better. Not now, but, you know, down the road. You’ll look back and think, “That, Bri. Cute. Comely-
KEELYI would never say “comely.”
BRIFine. But the way I fill out my coveralls will forever be etched into your mind.
KEELYThis is true.
BRIThen let’s go out on a “sort of” date.
KEELYWhat’s a “sort of” date?
BRIVery casual and if something happens, it happens. If not, no big deal. Still just friendly co-workers.
KEELYNothing’s going to happen.
BRIYou never know.
BRII can deal with that.
KEELYIt kind of takes dating completely off the table, don’t you think?
BRINot necessarily. I’d go gay for you.
KEELYDoesn’t work like that.
BRIYou’re telling me flat out that there is absolutely no way under any circumstances that you would sleep with me?
KEELYMaybe if it were the end of the world.
BRISo there’s hope!
KEELYI said “maybe.”
BRIWhat if there’s a nuclear war? What if we fire off ol’ Bessie here and the whole planet’s just a post-apocalyptic wasteland? You’re telling me you wouldn’t have sex with me to carry on the human race?
KEELYI don’t want to have a kid now the way things are on this planet, what makes you think nuclear holocaust is going to sweeten the deal?
BRIOkay, then. As long as we know where we stand. But this Friday, after work, I am going to go to a crowded restaurant and eat fried chicken and then see a movie in a big room with lots of other people. Some of them inexplicably rude and loud. I’d like to not be alone when I do that.
KEELYIt’s a date.
(The lights turn red as a baritone pulsing buzzer-warning signal goes off. Bri and Keely look at the control panel stunned and then look at each other. Lights and sounds fade.)