Monday, December 29, 2008

VGL Male Seeks Same excerpt by Rick R. Reed

Rick R. Reed's first foray into the romantic comedy genre is VGL Male Seeks Same. The first excerpt on this blog in 2008 was from Deadly Vision also by Rick R. Reed. It is fitting that this excerpt should both close this year and begin the New Year of 2009.

Ethan Schwartz is alone. At age 42, he's determined not to stay that way. He's exhausted all the avenues for meeting eligible men, except the one he's always shied away from: online. But it seems like everyone is meeting online these days, so why not him? After his online profile gets no response, Ethan creates a new online persona (complete with a gorgeous—and fake—picture) and finds himself inundated with come-ons. And…he falls in love. But how does he get to know his cyber love in the real world…without bringing his web of deception crashing down around him?

The scene below is early on in the story, when Ethan first discovers there may indeed be a cyber highway to romance...

VGL Male Seeks Same
Publisher: Amber Quill Press
ISBN: 978-1-60272-430-3


Ethan was just finishing a victorious game of Spider Solitaire in his cubicle at LA Nicholes and Associates, the entertainment publicity firm where he toiled, when he overheard the office receptionist (a bleached blond waif of a boy no older than twenty) talking to the payroll clerk.

"Girl, if it worked for me, it can work for you!" The receptionist, even though he ostensibly possessed a penis and a supply of God-given testosterone had a voice that Ethan would swear was an octave above that of Miss Beverly Sills. "I have met, like, so many guys on this site. I have, like, a jillion dates lined up. I don't know how I'm going to find time to come into work!"

The receptionist and the payroll clerk did what seemed to be a carefully choreographed twitter duet. Ethan stared at his screen, moving a queen onto a king, and listened as the receptionist waxed rhapsodic about an online dating site he had found. He had shrieked that it "wasn't like all the others," that it "was more than just for quick hook-ups, like so many of those sites, okay?" and that it was simply, "a lonely girl's best friend."

That was all Ethan needed to hear. Well, no, actually, that was not all. And even though Ethan could stand no more Spider Solitaire or Free Cell and was more than ready to call it an honest day's work, he had to sit in his cubicles for twenty minutes more while "Bubbles" (as he secretly called the receptionist) prattled on about this wondrous—and apparently no-name—dating site. Finally, frustrated, and absolutely unable to endure one more hand of Hearts, Ethan stood and peered over the wall.

Almost immediately, the blond receptionist swiveled his head around to peer at Ethan. "Yes?" he hissed.

The payroll clerk, a portly woman of Latina heritage, eyed him with suspicion. Together, they both seemed to be saying, "How dare you interrupt us?" with their eyes.

Ethan applied his most sheepish grin and began to stammer, "Sorry to interrupt but I couldn't help but overhear what you were saying…you know, about that dating site. But I didn't catch the name of it."

The blond and the Latina exchanged knowing glances and Ethan, even though he would never claim psychic abilities, could read their minds quite well, thank you. They were telepathically saying:
"And who does Miss Mary over there think she is?" Bubbles asked.

Latina replied, "I don't know, but if she thinks she's going to have the same kind of success that you did just because she logs on, she better think again."


"Hello?" Bubbles was staring at Ethan, head quizzically cocked, and Ethan grinned, realizing he had let his imagination run away with him. He may have just missed his only chance to learn the name of the dating site in question, the one that apparently had men lining up for the affections of a nelly nineteen-year-old who probably didn't weigh more than a hundred pounds sopping wet and whose dubious intellect most likely rivaled that of a Chihuahua.

"Sorry? I missed that." Ethan felt heat rising from his neck to his face.

Bubbles closed his eyes and held them shut for a beat to indicate his distaste for, and impatience with, his coworker. Speaking slowly, as if he were talking to someone hearing-impaired, Bubbles enunciated carefully, "The name of the site is"

The Latina held a hand over her mouth to artlessly—and unsuccessfully—hide her giggles. Ethan noticed her nails were shellacked a lurid red, topped with dragon designs, and so long they were curving back at the top. And this woman managed to handle the challenges of a computer keyboard?

"Oh, okay," Ethan said, staring down once more at his monitor, which had gone to a screensaver of Barbara Stanwyck movie posters. Sorry, Wrong Number seemed like an apt title to be up at the moment. Ethan may have not been possessed of a dazzling intellect, but even he knew when his leg was being unkindly pulled. He had just sat back down and was powering off when Bubbles' voice fluttered over the beige partition. "It's wing people dot com."

Ethan perked up. "That's a funny name. Where did they come up with that?"

"How should I know?" There was silence as the Latina presumably walked away and Bubbles returned to his own game of Solitaire, miffed at being disturbed when it was so obvious he was hard at work.

"I'll let you know how it all works out for me." Ethan gathered up his messenger bag and Levi jacket and stood to make his exit.

Bubbles, from behind him, mumbled, "Whatever."

Jesus, Ethan thought, I'm like Rodney Dangerfield. I get no respect. As he rode down in the elevator, he wondered who he would find on Certainly, if they had certified Bubbles a hit, they would view someone like Ethan as a prize, even a force of brute masculinity. Relatively speaking, anyway.

Making his way out the door onto a bustling, rush-hour Belmont Avenue, Ethan also was curious about the name Was it because they were angels, delivering poor unloved souls like himself from their individual wells of loneliness?
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