Two days after Jim mailed a copy of "The Empty City" to Lisa, he got a phone call.
"Hello?" he said.
"Hello, Jim?" said a soft, female voice.
"This is Lisa! You sent me this weird story!"
"Oh, yeah, Lisa!" said Jim, trying to sound as if he hadn't been waiting hopefully by the phone all day. "How's it going?"
"Oh, not too bad, not too bad," said Lisa.
"What'd you think of the story?"
"Well, it was kind of strange," she confided. "Now, I do like strange, so I did like it, but I got the impression that there was something going on in it that I didn't really understand."
"Hmm. Yes, well, I tried some symbolism there that I don't think really worked too well."
"But I still enjoyed."
Silence. Jim decided it was now or never. He took the plunge.
"So listen, um, what are you doing tomorrow night? You want to get together? We could have dinner and talk about literature."
Jim listened to Lisa's breathing. He could hear her thinking about it, hesitating. The seconds dragged on. To Jim, it seemed like ten minutes elapsed before she spoke.
"OK," she said.
Jim's voice quavered with excitement as he asked for directions to her apartment, suggested a place and time, and worked out other details. He suggested they eat at "Trader Flip's," which was one of his favorite restaurants.
After they'd hung up, he jumped up and down and ran around
his room, bursting with anticipation.