Shortlisted for the Bridport Prize 2012
All of this happened in a single exchange:
It was the way Debbie responded to his comments about American plugs that killed it for Andy, how she derided his view of the English plug, that steady and sturdy device, that paradigm of Britishness with its trident of strong legs, legs which could stand the plug upright, unlike those other flimsy plugs, the mainland European plugs with their sad cylindrical arms, the even more pathetic American plugs with their weedy breakable legs, about as dependable as the country itself, or so Andy had said, a comment that had riled Debbie, a meat-and-threes Yank who wore a stars and stripes bandana when cycling, who believed she was from a special and serendipitous land, and who reacted to Andy’s comment with broadsides of her own, proclaiming Andy a product of his country in the same way as the plug, fussy and frumpy, clunky and cumbersome, too self-assured for such a minor product, too pleased with itself in the same way that a dog yelps gleefully at its own farts, comparisons which, to Andy, who was only buying Debbie dinner in the belief American women put out on the first date, seemed as pathetic and insubstantial as the plug attached to Debbie’s mobile phone charger, which had fallen out of her handbag and he had picked up from the floor.
“You know,” Andy said as Debbie reached for the charger. “I don’t think this is going to work.”