Patter (short fiction)

“What do you do for a living?” she asked.
 
“I write patter,” I replied with a wink.
 
“Patter?”
 
“Yeah, patter. Like in the stories. Some guy needs to say something obvious, something that moves the story along. But in a way that makes people pay attention. Maybe they’ll even remember. Something they can repeat later at dinner parties to impress random strangers to give the impression of wit.”
 
“You can make money doing that?”
 
“I didn’t say it was much of a living, but it beats working.”
 
She leaned in close. I could sniff the faint scent of alcohol on her lips. Those lips, those eyes. A man and a certain kind of woman would do stupid things for a chance to be near them.
 
“So what’s your best line?” she asked.
 
“I don’t do lines. Amateurs do lines. Lines aren’t patter. Anyone can do a clever line now and then. Patter is a back and forth. Patter is a dance.”
 
“So you’re saying it takes two?”
 
“You can dance alone, doll.”
 
I might’ve been pushing it with the doll bit, but I might not have.
 
“But where’s the fun in that?” she said, smiling.
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