by Rebekah Postupak
The notion was irrational, but when I became conscious of the fact it was already too late: I was wearing a candy apple red silk gown on top of Peter’s car, Piazzolla’s finest tango blasting from the boombox while I held high the “Marry Me, Peter” sign. And right in front of me stood Peter and our company’s very shocked CEO.
“Do you know this girl?” said the CEO once he had recovered.
Peter looked everywhere else. “She works in the mailroom.”
The CEO’s eyes fluttered shut. Open. Shut again, wincing like he was in pain. Then he lifted them up toward me. “What is your name, young lady?”
“Are you happy working here?”
“Oh yes. Yes, sir. This is a great place to work. I really love it.”
The CEO frowned. “And how long have you known Peter?”
“Since he walked in the door, sir.”
“Last week? That’s right, isn’t it, Peter? Tuesday, I think.” He glanced at Peter for confirmation.
My mind raced. Was this a trick question? On the calendar of True Love, I had known Peter forever. I answered truthfully. “Since the dawn of time, sir. Since the birth of stars. Since the planets were spun into place—”
“All right, all right, I get the picture.”
I watched the owner of the company purse his lips, thinking. In the window-sized portrait of him hanging in the lobby, he looked powerful and angry. It was a wonderful portrait; all us clerks said so. In real life he appeared kind, if somewhat harried, though from this vantage point I could see a suspicious patch of skin growing on top of his head.
At length he spoke. “I had hoped you both would remember the terms of your contracts here.”
“I remember them clearly, sir.” Peter spoke smoothly.
“Oh, me too,” I said, anxious to make a good impression. “All the little details and points.”
“Then let me deal with you first, Melanie,” said our boss. “What is Term XIV, subpoint E3?”
“Um—recycle all paper products?”
“No interspecies dating.” He stared pointedly at my third and fourth arms, which were plucking nervously at my dress.
Peter studied his shoes intently.
“Peter, HR claimed nepotism when I hired you,” continued the CEO, “but I assured them your… proclivities… would not cause a problem. Did you, or did you not agree to leave those infernal love arrows at home?”
“Only brought a little one, for fun, to test it on the alien,” said Peter, blushing. “No harm done, right?”
Our boss sighed heavily. “Apparently you haven’t looked up. Now listen! I will undo this, but you must both swear by all that’s holy that you will follow the rules!”
“Yes, sir,” I said proudly. The moon glowed pink above us.
“That includes you, Cupid.”
“Yes, Zeus,” said Peter, but he winked at me, and hope bloomed afresh in my hearts.
Maybe my notion hadn’t been so irrational after all.
495 words, written for the flash contest #FinishThatThought, beginning with the mandatory opening sentence and incorporating three of the judge’s challenge elements of stars, space ships, planets, aliens, robots, or fantasy.