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Purchase Plan

(2004)
I really did get a phone call from Bombay — a mortgage salesman with a Southern accent — which gave rise to this parable.

“Purchase Plan” is actually a cautionary tale that suggests everyone is on the come. Who can be certain the information your bank promised not to give to any of its “business partners” isn’t going to be sold by the next person you try to crawl into bed with?

an excerpt from this contemporary short story …

This would be their first dinner together, not exactly “a date,” Ben promised over the telephone when he called to ask her out. “But you never can tell.”

Marion accepted, although not too quickly. “Let me be sure ah haven’t a girl’s night out planned,” she said half joking, he hoped. She would give up the girls for him, wouldn’t she? “Kin ah have yer number and get rat back atya?” He was pleased when fifteen minutes later his cell phone rang. Her calendar was open.

They ordered from the menu and then their drinks arrived. Marion looked delighted as the waiter placed a full glass of red wine in front of her. “Why, thank you sir,” she said in over-polite solicitude. The waiter nodded in response, set Ben’s glass down, withdrew.

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Ben sipped his scotch, placed the tumbler on the table cloth and said, “You know, I’m a sucker for a Southern accent. Where were you born, exactly?”

She was kittenish in her reply: “Atlanta. Which Northerners think is the deep south, but it’s just a shy mile from the north, y’know.” She pronounced it “nawth,” which he found both exotic and fascinating, but did not tell her that. He wanted to save it for when they were in bed, he confided to himself in anticipation of a post coital conversation involving her and a cigarette.

“Well, I think it’s cute. A soft Southern drawl. Where’d you go to school?” It surprised him to learn it was here in the City. “No kidding. Me too. Got my MBA at State, emphasis in marketing.”

Was that bragging, he thought, or was it subtle enough to sound like a fact of life he merely wanted to share with her? Got to be careful not to overplay his hand.

This story is 11 pages long, available in PDF format.
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