'I think he feels a cold coming on'
(Illustration by Rico Schacherl 5 Oct 2009)
... That's what we tend to tell ourselves. But should Jason catch a glimpse of himself in one of the freshly buffed shop-front windows, he would see the tell-tale flush on his cheeks, and have to admit to shame rather than illness. For weeks he's been building up the courage to approach his crush, the latest addition to the small law firm at which he works, and today, just now, he came upon her in a carefully staged chance meeting on the way to the cafeteria.
'Hi, Maggie ...' he practically shouted, interrupting her conversation with a friend in his eagerness.
She frowned. 'Margaret.'
'Um, Margaret ... Wanna slice of my salami?' He slapped the stick of salami he'd especially brought to work rather hard into the palm of one hand, making himself wince.
'I'm a vegetarian.'
'Right,' he mumbled. 'Don't worry.'
Upon which he turned tail and headed through the first door he could find. It was the main entrance door and led him out onto the street. Now he wanders along in a haze, slapping his head with the salami and muttering, 'Idiot fool.' He sneezes, and sighs. All his hopes have smashed around his feet and are leaving a glittering trail behind him. Which is what Maggie, feeling bad, follows. Poor Jason. He shouldn't give up hope and bury his face in a handkerchief - it's not a cold that's coming.