You what?" Rachel sat across from Samantha, drinking her Cosmo. They had a bowl of wasabi peas between them and Rachel was making sure she had her share.
"Would you slow down? I'm sure we can get more of those and if you continue to suck down the drinks like you are, I'm going to have to carry you home!" On the flip side, Samantha had only sipped her 'sweet heat', a vodka martini laced with jalapeño juice. Oddly enough, she hated wasabi peas.
"I can't believe you did that! Whatever possessed you to pretend you were a man?" Rachel reached in for another handful of peas, her very black hair falling in front of her as she did. It was long and curly, framing her heart-shaped face perfectly, making her look a lot younger than her thirty-five years. She wore too much makeup, had a few pounds to lose--nearly her mantra--and she was loud and sometimes obnoxious--like now.
"Keep it down, would you? It's not like I'm proud of it or anything!" Why in the hell had she let that slip? And to Rachel of all people! Rachel was a coworker with her at Midtown Basics, a company that specialized in office setup. Rachel worked in the sales department and Sam worked in finance. The two departments worked closely together and Rachel had been a close friend from the very moment Sam walked into the building. But she had a very bad habit of making mountains out of very tiny bumps in the dirt and anything to do with Sam's love life, or lack of one, seemed fodder for her twisted sense of romance. "It just... happened, that's all."
Samantha had dark hair as well, but she kept it short. She had never been able to grow it out and she truly envied Rachel for her ability and patience to be able to do that. She was also short in stature, which made her look young as well. There was never a time she would come to places like this and not be carded. Sadly, she did not consider herself pretty, but rather plain. She never turned heads. Not like Rachel.
"Yeah right! Just how does a woman happen to tell a bunch of people on the Internet that she is actually a he? Not only that, but continue to let those people think it?"
"Well... it's kind of a long story..."
"Spill!" She drained the last of her glass and motioned to the waiter for another.
Samantha let out her breath in a long sigh. "Fine. I... I play that stupid Internet game 'Chances'. You know, that murder mystery one? You can chat with other people who play. So a few days ago I started to chat with this woman who was having some car trouble. Well, you know me. Always an opinion. It sounded like a water pump but some other guy who was on started to argue with me, saying chicks don't know that kind of stuff. Yeah, he really said 'chicks'! And... I kind of denied it and thinking back on it... well... you know my dad is a mechanic and I grew up knowing all that stuff. I kind of got mad and said I wasn't a 'chick' and it led into that I wasn't even a girl, and I let them all think I was a guy. It really shut this other guy up. The woman was grateful because she came back on later that same day and told me I was right. She was happy because the bastard she took it to tried to tell her it was something else more expensive and she was able to sound like she knew what she was talking about by saying
all the things I had said. It saved her a ton of grief and money. I felt happy I had helped."
"So why didn't you tell her at that point you were not a man but simply a very smart woman? Why let her go on believing you were a man?"
"It didn't come up. I mean... I wanted to but... it was hard to admit I had lied and who would really care if I was a man or not? But..."
"She came on to you?"
"Well, yeah, I guess... but... it got to a point... It's just that now other people ask my advice and it feels..."
"You are such a loser! Look, Sam. I know you like helping people, but this is ridiculous."
"It isn't just about that. It's nice to have people... you know, think I'm important. Think I'm smart."
"But, Sam, they don't think you're smart. They think some guy is. I don't understand how that makes you feel good."
"Yeah? Well, it's easy for you. You have everything you ever wanted--a husband, kids, love. Me? I can't hold onto a relationship to save my soul."
"So you think making some woman fall all over you is the answer?"
Sam sighed. Of course she didn't. "No. I don't know what to do about that. You're right of course. It stopped 'feeling good' quite some time ago."
"Look. I know you broke up with Tom not too long ago, you don't have a boyfriend right now, and good single guys are hard to find at our age, but that does not mean you need to switch teams!"
"Oh, you are so-o-o-o funny. I am not switching teams. I just like having people not only think I'm smart but know I'm smart. If I suddenly tell them all I lied about... about that... well..."
"I'm telling you, Sam. It's nothing but trouble."
The problem was... Sam already knew that.