Darnell Swann is “in insurance” it turns out. Abigale doesn’t know whether he sells it or is a manager for a company in one of the glass buildings that litter downtown San Diego. It doesn’t matter, she thinks with some surprise. (He’s making me laugh, he’s real, and he’s an antidote---here and now!---to the loneliness I’ll never admit I feel every day.) He also has a degree in sociology from a college in Oklahoma. Minored in business. “Didn’t do me a whole lot of good,” he says ruefully. “Gotta major in something,” Abigale says, “I majored in something even worse.” “That’s not possible,” he responds with a grin. “What’s worse than sociology?” For some reason Abigale is reluctant to say it. She hesitates, then comes clean, saying it a bit too loud: “Um…gender studies?”
Darnell Swann is a gentleman. He keeps a studiously neutral look on his face. “Gender studies,” he repeats in a flat voice, sounding dubious in spite of himself. “Yeah,” says Abigale, sounding apologetic; “Thank God I minored in business.” He laughs. “Well, we do have that in common,” he says, taking a sip of his depleted drink and gesturing to the bartender for another. “Can I buy you one now?” “Of course,” she nods happily; “Tanqueray and tonic…the bartender knows.” Then she blanches at what she revealed: Does he think I come here alone all the time? Every night? Oh god I hope not! The drinks are set on the bar and picked up. They toast each other, and over the next two hours talk incessantly. He turns out to be an excellent conversationalist and Abigale feels herself relaxing, often laughing with him. She discovers that he’s a car buff. “Check this out,” Darnell says furtively, leaning close to her as if to impart her a secret: “Guess what kind of car I’m driving tonight?” “I’ll bet I’m going to find out,” she responds, grinning. He raises his thick eyebrows comically at her: “Have you ever heard of…an Aston Martin DB5?” “No,” she responds, “but can I find out?” He laughs again, and she’s shocked to feel how much she enjoys the sound of his mannish chuckle. “Think James Bond,” he says with a wide grin on his face. “James Bond?” she repeats, hesitating. "The…OH, James Bond! The movies! Where he always drove cool cars, right?” “One of them,” he affirms. “I like famous old cars that have been on the big screen.” Abigale eyes him closely: “Really,” she says with evident interest. “Does it have machine guns and flame throwers and an ejection seat and all that?” He grins wider. “You’ve seen the movie!” “Well, some of them,” she says, “but that first one with all the gadgets stuck in my head…especially with the passenger side ejection seat.” He laughs out loud now: “No machine guns I’m afraid. No ejection seat either.” He looks abashed at not having them. “Sorry….”
He looks just…adorable, thinks Abigale.
Algerine Onyx is the nom de plume of an alien "transitioned intelligence" that decided to become a "storyteller-for-humans." Originally of the species "Achron," Onyx is one of several hundred such entities currently loose on earth. To find out more about the author and its original species, the Achrons, read its first book "Achron Kindness" (available on Amazon).