Preventable Dudes (HTML excerpt)
“Some guys,” Nancy said.

“Regrettable dudes,” I agreed.

“What’s so sad is how preventable they are,” she sighed, shaking her head wearily at the foibles of dudedom.

We were nearing the drinks table, so I grabbed us both a plastic goblet of red. “It’s been tried. Unfortunately, HR thinks they’ve done quite enough by ensuring a five-to-four ratio of women to men in engineering; they’re not particularly fussed about how one of the men acts around the women.”

“No,” said Nancy, “I mean, with proper assistance, he might have left off at fourteen.” I laughed dutifully—I’ve read my Lewis Carroll, what self-respecting engineer hasn’t?—but Nancy didn’t crack a smile. Her expression was genuinely wistful as she sipped her wine.

I played along. “Right? If only someone had been there to knock him off before he got old enough to knock anyone up.” I laughed again to show it was a joke, please God don’t let anyone take me seriously, I am not advocating murder no matter how satisfying it might be, it’s just a joke.

“Well, not so much knock him off,” Nancy said, “as head him off. This sort of behavior is learned—”

She was interrupted by an enraged cry from the kitchen, followed by a ringing slap, which was in turn followed by a bellow of pain that turned into triumphant laughter. Tony was being regrettable at someone else.

“Come on,” I said, “to the rescue.”

“Wait.” Nancy grabbed my hand. I turned. “We’ll do it my way....”
This has been an excerpt from the Friday Fictionette for May 5, 2017. Subscribers can download the full-length fictionette (1078 words) from Patreon as an ebook or audiobook depending on their pledge tier.

Cover art attributions: School bus photo by Die4kids (Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0) via Wikimedia Commons; wine glasses photo by Agnali (CC0/Public Domain) via