The Singles Dance
Author: Will Berry


     To be single and unattached is always harrowing, but to be all that when one is over 60 can be excruciating for it is the natural order of male and female, wrinkled or not, to be bonded, or at least imprisoned, to someone. William Quimby had been documenting this happenstance of nature and decided that it was time for him to make some 'moves.'

     William's wife, age 61, had run off with a young stud of 50, a divorce was filed and quickly granted because William, not the avenging or even the mercenary type, gave in to all demands. But he got to keep his book collection. Fair was fair.

     Now it was Saturday night, again, and he knew that, even at age 66, his entire life, albeit shortened, was in front of him. The first hurdle in his comeback was the upcoming Saturday night. His ex-wife's church had been sponsoring a number of "Together Again" single's dances at the 40 and 8, which seemed like a decent thing for his ex-wife's ex-church to do.

     So there he stood in the 40 and 8 dance hall wishing he had not worn polyester and his eyes came to rest upon a lady, slim and attractive, whose dark eyes told him to take the vacant seat in front of her. Maybe this wasn't going to be too bad at that, William thought. In the 6 seconds it took him to approach the lady's proffered chair, he had tried to pull in his stomach and think of something really whippy to say. A good 'hit' line he thought it was called.

     "Hello," he said, "I'm William....Fantasia."

     "Are you really? Well, then, I'm Anastasia. And for authentication you can dial 1-800-ROMANOV."

     William knew that this lady in front of him was a veteran. She was also quite pretty. He would have to forget the smooze talk, not that he had ever been inclined in his entire non-Brobdingnagian life towards smooze talk. "Uh....well, Anastasia....would you care to dance?"

     "I would be delighted, Mr. Fantasia. Something European perhaps. Would you care to wait for 'Swan Lake' or shall we just settle for 'Islands in the Stream?'" Anastasia was enjoying the joust immensely. "And, Mr. Fantasia, whether you can really dance or not is immaterial just so you will lead. God, I hate men who won't lead."

     William lead, rather well he thought, to 'Islands in the Stream' and to quite a few more inasmuch as Miss Romanov was very graceful, her lithe body quite compliant. At evening's end, Anastasia took the lead and gave William her phone number, but William thought that they should have dinner soon, say Wednesday night where it was Senior's Night at the Hanover Lounge and Cafe. Anastasia's smile was a quasar. She even managed a slight curtsy and a time was agreed upon.

     On his way home, William Quimby gave thought to three things. The first was erotic and personal. Then, he thought of the other two. He had to get rid of the damn polyester and buy a really good suit, something like David Letterman wears. And, he had to find Boris Pasternak in his library.


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