• Gemma Catherine Malak

The Diary of Jenny McFluff: The Date


“You’ll like this one” Louise insisted.


“pfft” I reply


“What do you mean ’Pfft’” she says, “What was wrong with Nathan?”


“Err, he looked like Rumpelstiltskin. Statistically you set me up with…um…let’s say questionable candidates.”


“Jen, last time we got drunk you tried to climb into your own shoe—let’s not pretend you are the height of sophistication.” (I did do that but to be fair I’d drank quite a lot of tequila.)


“Okay, you win. What’s his name, and what’s wrong with him? At least give me a heads up.”


“Harry—and there’s nothing wrong with him. He’s hot, Latino vibe. Friend of a friend.”


“Hmmm” okay, I guess I can deal with an Enrique Iglesias lookalike as long as he isn’t a complete tool, self-hater, women-hater or keeps staring at my breasts like my date with pervy Eric.


I wait outside the restaurant at seven p.m. and I see a Latino looking guy approaching. Okay, this could be good, he’s pretty hench, tall, shirt not too tight but tight enough to show off some serious bicep. He’s probably going to walk right past me to meet his real date, I’ll get the Danny De Vito lookalike standing behind him knowing my luck.


But he doesn’t walk past, he stops just in front of me and smiles with a set of pearly whites. So far so good.


“Jen? Hi, I’m Harry, How are you?”


I stumble backwards and try to invert my nostrils like some sort of demented dragon. That breath is from Satan’s armpit. I will Harry not to use any more breathy ‘H’s in his sentence!


By the power of Noel Fielding, how am I going to get through this date?


“Shall we go in?” I hurry before he can say anything else, with any hope our table will be a generous size to put of space between us, and more importantly, his breath.


The waitress shows us to our seats, fan-bloody-tastic, the table is the size of a postage stamp. Christ almighty why did I agree to have dinner on a first date? Always go for drinks Jen, and then you can leave early! Well it’s too fucking late now, I’m going to have to power through like the Gladiators on the hang tough round. If Jet and her power-eyebrows could do that, I can get through one single date with Stinky McStinkerson.


“I know a really good dentist that could just fix that for you.” Harry pipes up gesturing to my crooked front tooth “You could get that fixed in a jiffy, have you heard of those Invisalign braces?”


Have you ever heard of Listerine!? Or fucking Aquafresh?


Actually, I like it. I don’t like perfect teeth, reminds me of David Bowie when he got his teeth done and they were too big for his mouth—like Wallace from Wallace and Gromit.”


“Who?”


“y’know Wallace ‘Cheeeeeeeese Gromit’….wererabbit…..wrong trousers….’cheeeeeese, cheeeeeeeeeese.’” Stop saying cheese for fuck sake Jen. He looks blank and I find myself doing a buck tooth wererabbit impersonation, holding my hands like paws. Who the heck doesn’t know who Wallace and bleedin’ Gromit are!


I look like a nob, but it’s not like I desire to go on another date anyway with the man that is making the serviettes shrivel up to get away from the smell.


Harry snorts in acknowledgement—stinky and rude! I don’t know what on earth Louise was thinking. Granted, he is a good-looking man, but I’m soon discovering why he is still on the shelf (not the fucking toothpaste shelf obviously).


“Soooo, what do you fancy?” Harry asks gesturing to the menu.


Not you, that’s for sure!


“Oh, I don’t know—Caprese salad.” I add quickly, thinking that I can eat it fast and get the hell out of here.


“Watching your figure, eh? Probably wise. You women have to think about these things. I think I’m going to go for the stilton pie.”


Yes, because that is really going to help your breath situation, you misogynistic A-hole from planet Odour-ville—population: YOU!


I am backing my chair away subtly to get away from the niff, I am just in a good spot where I am out of the circumference of rotten egg breath when the fucker leans closer to me over the table.


“HHHHHHave you seen how HHHHHHot the forecast is for Tuesday?”


He’s spat in my eye and for the love of God, no more breath-of-doom ‘H’s please!


I hold a napkin over my mouth and nose, pretending I’m blotting my face. I can’t speak, I can’t think of anything to say. I just want to go home. Say something Jen, just say anything to break the pause in conversation that is now so large you could squeeze a baby elephant and its whole extended family into it. ‘Say something Jen’ the spirit of Jet from Gladiators implores.


“I’m half Japanese.” Is the complete and utter bullshit that comes out of my mouth. I am honestly as surprised as everyone else by the idiocy that trips off my tongue.


“Oh” Harry eyeballs me, clearly analysing my complete absence of Japanese features. “Your eyes are…”


“Blue.” I finish off “Strong recessive genes on my mother’s side. Excuse me, I just need to nip to the ladies.”


“Going to fix your make-up? No, problem. I’ll order for us if the waitress comes.”


I make a beeline for the ladies bathroom muttering under my breath. I am harrassed by Halitosis Hal who apparently thinks we are still living in the 1950s. I dial Louise.


“Louiiiissssseeee!”


“What? How’s it going?”


“How’s it going?! Quite frankly, I’d rather be on a date with Piers Morgan wearing an adult baby outfit, that’s how it’s going!”


“Oh. Not well then?”


“No, not fucking well at all. What were you thinking?”


“Well, I never actually met him, but my friend said he was okay.”


“Your friend’s head must be made out of cheese. Maybe stilton, like my date is going to have to add to his breath issue!”


“Tell you what, I’m only shopping down the road. Shall I burst in and say there’s an emergency?”


“Yes! That would be great” I say with relief.


I get through the next ten minutes with Dog Breath Harry. True to her word, Louise bursts in panting. “The baby’s coming!” She yells, and all the diners stop to watch.


“Oh my goodness.” I play along, as surprised as my date to see Louise with a huge pregnant belly that I’m assuming is stocked with the contents of Wilkinson’s homeware section. “Harry, this is my…sister.” I blurt out. Fucking hell Jen, ‘friend’ would have sufficed. I see Harry with that confused look again, trying to see the resemblance between my Ghanaian friend and myself. “Er, different dads…I’m going to have to take her to the hospital.”


“Yes, of course” He says “Let me give you a lift.” He offers, getting up to help Louise walk.

What a time to become chivalrous—when my fake sister is about to give birth to a fake baby!


“Oh, no, really. It’s fine, we can manage.”


“Not at all.” He says, an inch from my face, and I go a bit whoozy with trying to hold my breath. Louise has ceased panting and is now doing the demented dragon impression with inverted nostrils as she notices that I wasn’t exaggerating about Reeky Harry’s pong.


How do we get out of this? Louise and I eyeball each other, searching for clues to our predicament. Nothing. We are screwed.


“Oh, you know, I think it was a false alarm,” Louise pipes up. “I’m feeling much better now. It must have been indigestion.”


“Let’s get you checked out. I have five sisters—I know a thing or two about babies.”


Of-fucking-course he does.


‘Shit’ I mouth to Louise.


A few minutes later, Harry has parked up and is marching Louise into the hospital with me trailing behind completely out of ideas.


As we reach the reception area, Louise is holding a tissue over her nose to block out the smell from Harry-Horsebreath, and she suddenly sneezes, giving birth right there on the floor to three geometric patterned cushions and an eyelet curtain panel in a shade of French lavender.


I’m slightly amused that for once it isn’t me making a complete arse of myself.


“Err. Told you it was a false alarm.” She says sheepishly to Harry.


“Louise, how could you lie like that!” I shriek at the top of my voice in mock surprise. A small payback for setting me up with the bog of eternal stench.


Harry looks at Louise, to me, to the pile of soft furnishings on the floor and walks out without a word.


“I solved the problem.” Louise shrugs.


“Our friendship is based on mutual stupidity, you do know that right?”


“I know, let’s go and get a drink.”


“What about the baby?” I ask in mock concern.


“You’re a nob—here, have a breath mint.” Louise says, handing me a packet of Wrigley’s extra and holding her nose.


I throw the packet at her face and we walk to our next location to get suitably drunk, leaving our cushion baby, and any remnants of bad breath behind.


© 2020 Gemma Malak

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© 2020 Gemma Malak