Chapter Fourteen

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I didn't know too many people in the city, so I was not used to my phone ringing. "Hey, what's up?" the soft voice said with no introduction. A little presumptuous, but I knew exactly who it was.  

"Hey, Ashley, how's it going? I was just thinking about you." 

"You were?" she replied with a flirtatious giggle.  

"That's good because I was thinking about you too. I got your message. When did you get into town?" 

"To be honest with you, I've been here for a few months. I would have called sooner, but I had to get my life in order." 

"So did you get your life in order?" 

"I'm starting to get it on track. What are your plans tonight?" 

Even though I would have loved to see her, I did not have any game at the moment. There was nothing attractive about my situation, but I could have really used a friend, someone to talk to and hang out with so I wouldn't feel so alone. Besides, she didn't really seem like the type to judge, and even if she was, it would be better to find that out sooner than later. It was time to find out if my lack of funds would be a problem for her. 

"I'm not really sure what I'm doing tonight," she replied. 

"Do you want to hang out?" I asked. 

"Sure." 

"Okay, great, what part of the city do you live in?"  

"I live downtown." 

"Okay, I can come downtown and meet you if you want?" I asked. It was too soon to be showing her where I lived. My clothes were still relatively new so I wouldn't give off the impression I was in serious financial trouble. I needed a few more dates in before I would feel confident enough to bring her back to my place.  

*** 

I could hardly wait for the night to come. I had a second date with Ashley, but I wasn't sure what I was going to do with her. I needed to keep the date cheap so I scheduled it after dinner to eliminate the possibility of her getting hungry.  

As soon as I arrived back at my apartment, I went to the kitchen to make some food. I filled my pot with water, put it on the stove, and turned the knob on the corresponding element. Nothing happened. I tried the others, but they were all dead. 

I thought for a moment then came up with plan B.  

I took out my electric grill and plugged it into a nearby socket, but it didn't work either. I tried a few other sockets around the apartment, but after a while, it was confirmed. I did not have electricity.  

I opened the door of my apartment and found an outlet in the hallway. I plugged in my grill and inconspicuously tucked the cord under my door. I waited a few moments to see if the grill was getting hot - it was. In that moment, sitting in the front entrance of my apartment, I reflected on how truly ghetto this was. It was one step above roasting wieners over a barrel fire in the back alley.  

While the grill was heating up, I went to the kitchen again to grab the wieners and fill up a mug with tap water. By the time I got back, the grill was hot so I sliced a wiener in half, the long way, and began grilling. I sat there on the floor, hovered over my grill, monitoring the progress. A few moments later, dinner was served.  

*** 

Ashley lived on the other side of the bridge from where I was currently living. It was a ten-minute cab ride or an hour-long walk. I needed to conserve as much money as possible so I decided just to walk to her place. I took a handful of résumés with me so I could apply for some jobs along the way.  

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