Overheard in a Bagel Shop

I was tasked to eavesdrop on a conversation for my writing class. I holed up in a bagel shop and overheard the following interaction. The juiciest parts of it were taken down word for word. Had to fill in some of the gaps myself because the boy [Paul] was a mutterer. I did it up all nice and story-like for your reading pleasure. Two absurd New Yorkers in a bagel shop:

In an overpriced bagel shop in the Flatiron District, Ivy sat feigning lunch with her boyfriend Paul. She sat picking at her bagel and flipping locks of blue hair out of her face, glancing up every so often to watch Paul eating intently, and eating quietly. Ivy was a slim and wiry girl. She was an assortment of studded and patched jackets. Her boyfriend dressed like a college professor and had the academic scruff to match. Ivy had grown bored of eating long ago and struck up a line conversation, the first thing that popped in her head, trying to catch her boyfriend on her life of late.

“I applied for a topless modeling job in Times Square for body painting,” she said, “they never got back to me.”

“Oh. That’s a shame,” Paul said drily.

“Yeah! They’re going to miss out. I am awesome at public nudity; I don’t give a shit!”

Paul gave a meager smile and muttered, “How much were they going to get pay you?”

“$30. It would’ve been great.” Ivy crossed her legs and kept her eyes on Paul.

“$30 an hour?”

“I don’t know.”

“Well, when I did that modeling thing over the summer,” Paul said, “I was getting $40 an hour for a two hour session, coming out to $80. I assume that the body painting takes a long time to do, so if you’re doing $30 an hour you will probably come out with some good money.”

“Yeah, but I didn’t get it, Paul, they never got back to me. And what are you talking about your modeling for? Are you trying to compete with me or something?”

“No. I was just trying to give you some perspective.” Paul said.

Ivy sneered, “I don’t need your perspective, Paul, I just need a job and some money ‘cause I’m fucking broke. Doesn’t matter how much I get as long as its something. Hell, I’d consider doing it for free ‘cause it’d be fun.” Ivy looked at Paul and scrutinized his face for his reaction. Paul had turned back to his sandwich and said nothing.

Ivy sighed briefly and looked out towards the door and the avenue beyond it.

“I think you’d make a great body paint model,” said Paul softly.

“Thank you Paul,” Ivy said, shifting her sharp gaze back onto him.

The two sat for a minute in silence. Ivy scratched at a little crust on her jacket’s frayed shoulder and Paul ate. Then Ivy struck up another conversation again with the same random alacrity as before. “Imagine someone overhearing us here talking about modeling, they’d be saying: ‘What? They don’t look like models!’”

“Maybe you don’t, but I do.” Paul said melodically but quietly, smiling so that Ivy would know he was kidding.

She laughed. “Yeah, you look so high fashion! Haha! God forbid I ever get asked what I do: ‘I stand naked and get paid.’”

“Well you didn’t get the job, Ivy, so you don’t have to say that.” said Paul.

“What if I do get it? I’m going to be applying to others, maybe I’ll get those.”

“Then lie.”


“Lie. Say you write children’s books or something. You should lie.” Paul said the last sentence very seriously.

Ivy murmured an approval and looked back out towards the door.


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