“Netflix and Chill” is a euphemism for a booty call. It implies an invitation to some type of romantic partnership culminating in an intimate sexual encounter. Thus it was not a surprise when Barry received a call from Ava at 10 o’clock at night on a Wednesday to come over to watch “Lala Land.”
Barry, a 32-year-old bank manager, had been exclusively dating Ava, a 27-year-old third-grade public school teacher, for two years already. They met through an online dating app. The couple had done the “Netflix and Chill” thing so often now that they had begun to lose count. It was convenient since Barry lived only a five-minute taxi ride down Columbus Avenue to Ava.
Barry freshened up and headed to the street to hail a cab. Along the way, he was enjoying the relative calm of Manhattan’s Westside on this fall evening. The traffic was light, and he arrived at Ava’s address quicker than the sesame chicken she had ordered for her dinner earlier in the evening from the Chinese restaurant over on Broadway.
Ava’s one-bedroom apartment on West 79th street and Amsterdam was always tidy and clean. Unlike Barry’s apartment which was basically a messy bachelor pad in desperate need of a woman’s touch. None the less Ava liked it when Barry would invite her to his home to “Netflix and Chill.” She never complained about the mess.
When Ava answered the door in a bathrobe, the two embraced and kissed on the lips. It had been two days since they had last seen one another. Barry followed Ava into the living room and took a seat on the burgundy colored cloth covered sofa. He could smell the scent of her favorite fragrance. Closing his eyes and inhaling he indulged in the aroma of this familiar place. Barry anxiously anticipated the sensual moments soon to unfold.
“Barry honey, I’m going to make us some popcorn,” Ava said in her usual sweet soft tone.
Barry nodded to her and smiled as she walked into the narrow “kitchen” and reached into the cupboard for a packet of microwavable popcorn.
The box held three packets, and this was the last of the three. Ava made a mental note to herself to replenish her supply as soon as possible. The final pack of popcorn had sat on the shelf for more than a week. In the flat rectangular pouch, there were precisely 462 kernels of corn. Ava placed the popcorn kernels into the microwave according to the instructions written in blue ink which read “THIS SIDE UP.” What Ava did not know was that one of the 462 kernels of corn was a killer. It had been waiting to snuff the life out of some poor soul from the moment it was packaged.
In three minutes the popping was virtually complete. Ava removed the bag from the microwave and transferred the contents into a large plastic bowl before delivering it to Barrys’ lap, and cuddling up beside him.
“Are we ready sweety?” Barry asked before pressing the button on the remote control to begin the movie.
Ava simply said “Play!” And so Barry pressed the play button.
However, there would be no play tonight. Something unthinkable was about to happen. The calamitous kernel of corn had blossomed into an injurious piece of popcorn, which Barry placed onto his tongue just before Ava turned to kiss him sliding her tongue into his mouth at precisely the moment when he began to swallow. The wrathful piece of popcorn then seized the moment to “go down the wrong way.” The popcorn became lodged in Barry’s throat, and he was unable to speak or to inhale.
Realizing that he was in big trouble. Barry stood up immediately tossing the bowl of popcorn aside. He reached up to his throat with both hands. At first, Ava was surprised by Barry springing to his feet so suddenly. But she recognized in less than a couple of seconds that he was choking.
“Barry? Oh my God!” She screamed and began striking the middle of his back between his shoulder blades. It was not working. So, she grabbed her phone and called 9-1-1. By now Barry was turning blue, and Ava began crying.
The Academy Award-winning movie ”Lala Land” was playing on Ava’s huge flat screen television. Barry’s last thoughts were “Death by popcorn?” as he lost consciousness, and collapsed face first to the plush cream colored carpet, bam. It was the force of the fall that dislodged the popcorn from Barry’s throat and saved his life.
Hi, I'm Lester Patterson,