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Greta

Ryan shows me a picture of a short woman with glasses. Her hair is long and tied back from her face in a ponytail. She looks slightly disappointed in the picture, as though the person taking the photo had just given her some bad news.

“Are you guys ready to order?”

Our waiter is so thin he can barely hold up the iPad that’s in his hands. He yawns while staring at a spot a little above our table the way a cat will stare off into space. His long, yellow hair is wet with some kind of product that allows it to be styled like a mass of noodles on a floor.

“A lychee martini, with Vodka for her,” Ryan says, gesturing towards me with his head.

“And this 86’ scotch for me,” he says. “Although technically, that’s a mistake on your menu.”

“What?” the waiter says. His eyes finally focus and he stares at Ryan in the dazed manner of an accident victim.

“Menu?”

“This drink,” Ryan points. The waiter does not follow his finger, still staring at the same spot above the table.

“It says, that it’s made with an ’86 scotch.” Ryan winks at me. “I know that brand. It’s actually a bourbon. You should get that changed.”

“Scotch?” says the waiter. He seems unable to move beyond one word questions. His eyes are half open in what I suppose is a contemptuous sneer, but it makes him look half asleep.

“Bourbon?” says the waiter.

I put my hand on Ryan’s arm and smile at him. I tell him to let it go.

Ryan opens his mouth, so I lightly squeeze his hand and smile so hard I feel like an orangutan and he shrugs. The waiter bashes our order into the iPad without missing a beat. Ryan orders for both of us, picking a steak dish for himself and some kind of a shrimp salad for me. The waiter never even looks at me, which is good. I make note of these details because I know Greta will ask me later.

“So where are you from?” Ryan says once the waiter slides away from our table, his shoes spitting sharp clicks on the polished wooden floor. “Your friend said that you moved here from… Chicago?”

I tell him I met Greta in college in Chicago, but that we moved to Omaha, Nebraska after that. Most people have never been to Nebraska, so Omaha is always a safe bet. There was a time when a guy, I think it was the thirty-year-old entrepreneur, had actually grown up in Omaha and started asking me a lot of questions. After I recovered from the initial shock, I told him that we were only there for a short time before moving to Seattle, too short for me to remember most of it. Then, like most of them, he started talking about himself and the topic did not come up again.

“Been inseparable since college?” Ryan asks. “She told me that you’re in business together.”

I tell him that we’re trying to start our own company. An Internet security firm. Before he can ask any questions I tell him that I’m the marketing side of the business and Greta handles the technical work.

“An Internet security firm started by two girls from Chicago,” Ryan says. “That’s so Seattle.”

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