Prove Me Wrong

My breath misted in the yellow lights over the stairs up from the subway. Another puff of mist caught my eye at the top of the stairs, but my second glance proved me wrong. Someone was smoking, a woman thoroughly bundled against the cold, looking straight ahead as she started her descent for a three am train. I slowed as she approached and leaned on the handrail.

"Y'know what's gross?" I said. "Strangers who stop you on the street to criticize you for smoking." I grinned.

"Y'know what else?" She didn't look at me or slow as she spoke. "Men who stop women on the street without consideration for the potential safety implications."

I stopped and watched her disappear into the tunnels. I wanted to tell her I wasn't like those guys, that wasn't me. But that'd only prove me wrong.

The Couch at Night

When night falls and everyone in your house has gone to sleep, your couch sneaks out and goes swimming. It doesn't want to get wet, so it wraps itself in a waterproof suit, then swims the underground waters to find a fountain and settles on the bottom. All through the night, people toss coins into the fountain. Some make wishes, but most only want to entice your couch to stay, to always live in the fountain. Your couch, however, is fond of you. It always returns before your family wakes up, to reassume its place in the living room, so no one in your house will know.

But now you know. So next time you root around in your couch's cushions for change, give the couch a look and say, "I know where these came from."

Don't forget to wink, so the couch knows its secret is safe with you.

In the Near-Pitch Dark

"Bloody Mary." Jane had turned out the lights, closed the blinds, and closed the door. Ana and Demetria waited outside. "Bloody Mary." She'd wanted do it all together. She was afraid, she admitted. But Ana said it only worked if you were alone.

"Bloody Mary." Jane held her breath and looked around in the near-pitch dark. Nothing. She bit her lip. She thought Demetria might say they hadn't heard her, that she hadn't really said the words.

"Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary," she said in full voice.

"It only works if you're alone," whispered a voice in her ear.

First Contact between Two Peoples

"Hi, I'm an alien," she said. She was a pretty young woman with short red hair, freckles, and a cocked smile. The person now looking at her oddly was an older woman, late twenties to early thirties, hair up in a bun and wearing the sort of outdoor coat that said she wasn't uncomfortable in money. "You don't look so alien to me." The corner of her mouth quirked up, unsure what came next but curious and, for the moment, entertained.

"It's an excellent disguise," said the redhead. "Totally impenetrable to any kind of investigation. I'd like to invite you to be the first to try to examine my disguise and learn my alien ways. Maybe Thursday at seven? At Antoine's?"

The brunette blinked. "Are you asking me out on a date?"

"No!" the redhead said. "This is a factfinding mission. A first contact between two peoples."

"Yeah?" Her smile was deeper now. "Why me?"

The redhead looked away, then back. "Because you're cute."

"I'm Daria." She held out a hand.

"I'm Allie. The alien."

To Walk

He wanted to walk, so he walked. "You'll get tired and wish you hadn't gone so far," the said. He didn't get tired. "You'll get homesick," they said. "Once you've been away too long, you'll come back." It turned out he didn't get homesick for people who told him not to walk.

"You'll get lost in the woods! Bears will eat you!" He did get lost, but as long as he was walking he didn't mind. The bears left him alone because he left them alone.

"You'll walk off the edge of the Earth," they cried. He did walk off the edge of the Earth. Drifting in the void, he relished all the walking he had done, but wondered if perhaps he should have turned.

A Special Prescription

Mark smiled across the table. As first dates went, this was pretty good. Dan had a bashful charm that had been putting a smile on Mark's face all night. "Can I see your glasses?" Mark asked. Dan hesitated in that way that Mark found so cute. "Uh, okay." He took the thick black frames off and passed them over.

"I just want to see how bad your prescription is." Mark fitted the glasses to his face peering too closely through them to see Dan's growing nervousness. A moment later Mark whipped them off in shock. "Those... those colors! Shapes! What was that?"

Dan snatched the glasses back in a panic. "It's, uh, a special prescription. I'm twenty/four-hundred emotional recognition. These help correct for that. Makes the emotions... more clear. With colors."

"So that kind of red light I saw glowing, uh, all around you?"

Dan blushed. "Um, that's attraction. And..." he muttered something Mark couldn't make out, but Mark was pretty sure he didn't need to. Mark smiled. Dan smiled. They started holding hands.