When Chris woke up Monday morning, he knew something was not quite right. He was always the one to jump out of bed full of energy, ready to start the day. Not this morning. His neck and shoulders felt stiff and achy, probably from helping his brother repair his deck over the weekend. He didn’t overthink it, figuring a couple of Advil and a hot shower should do the trick.

And they did. Chris felt much better but by noon the tightness in his neck and shoulders was back. Rubbing his neck made the soreness feel a little better; that was when he remembered the masseur at his gym. He decided he’d stop by after work for a massage.

When Chris arrived at the gym, Rick – the front desk guy – told him the masseur was no longer there and his replacement hadn’t started working yet. Rick leaned forward a bit and quietly said, “Look buddy, I could get in trouble for telling you this but my cousin Alex recently opened a massage therapy practice. It’s not easy getting a practice up and running so I offered to help out by referring a few gym members. If you’re interested, I’ll share Alex’s contact info with you.”

Chris knew he didn’t want to spend another night suffering so he decided to take Rick up on his offer. Rick sent his contact information to Chris and five seconds later he had the number for ‘Alex Brody, Massage Therapist’ in his phone. Thanking Rick for the tip, he left the gym and headed to his car.

Chris always kept his gym bag in the car with a fresh change of clothes. He sent a text to Alex, saying he was referred by Rick and explained his situation; Chris added that he hoped he could get an appointment that evening. It didn’t take long for him to receive a reply; Alex agreed to see him in 45 minutes. He was good to go – just enough time to grab a cup of coffee and head over.

Chris arrived at Alex’s place with a few minutes to spare. He grabbed his gym bag, climbed the stairs and rang the bell. The door was opened by an attractive woman in shorts and a t-shirt. She extended her hand and said “Hi. You must be Chris. I’m Alex. Nice to meet you.”

A look of surprise and confusion registered on Chris’ face, then he gave a little chuckle and said “Oh, I see what’s going on here. What’s your full name, Alex? Alexandra?”

Alex withdrew her unacknowledged hand. “That’s right. Is there a problem, Chris?”

“Yeah there is, Alexandra. The problem is women like you who dupe unsuspecting people like me by using a guy’s name simply because they lack the confidence to make it in the big bad world by using their real name. I thought I’d be dealing with a man tonight.”

“You know what, Chris?” quipped Alex. “I thought I’d be dealing with a man tonight, too.”

And she shut the door in his face.

NAR © 2023

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