The thing about Uncle Bob is, he’s not a real person. I made him up.

I know it looks bad but, before you judge me, look at her. My date tonight is a solid ten. Bright blue eyes, legs for miles and the kind of silky blonde hair that you just want to wrap your fingers around. And, to top it off, right now she’s got her luscious, glossy pink lips wrapped around…ok, so it’s not really a straw. It’s the skewer the bartender uses to spear olives before he drops them into a martini glass. Any minute now she’s going to…yup, there it is. The sexy look on her face gives way to confusion and then embarrassment as she tries to cover her mistake by oh-so-casually sliding the skewer to the side before taking a sip.

Ok, so she’s not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, but nobody ever cares if there are a couple lights out, right? Not when there are presents waiting with your name on them. I love me some presents.

“So, your Uncle Bob’s in show business?” Chloe asks, setting her drink down on the table. Liquid sloshes over the rim and she giggles before patting the table dry. “Sorry.”

“It’s fine,” I say, and it is fine. A girl can’t be that beautiful and not a klutz. It totally defies the laws of physics. “And yes, Uncle Bob is a…casting director.” That sounds good, right? I mean, we’re in LA and there have to be what, like ten thousand casting directors within a ten-mile radius?

“Ooooo,” Chloe coos, “I wonder if we’ve met at one of my auditions. Do you think so?”

Her eyes widen like a Disney Princess on crack, and I take a long pull of my beer and flash her a grin. “Anything’s possible, babe.”

Throwing in the babe at the last minute was totally a game time decision but, judging by the way Chloe crosses one bare leg over the other to rest just inches next to my knee, it worked. Score.

“Ready to order?”

I look up to find a waitress standing over us. She lifts her eyes from her notepad and glances at Chloe indifferently before focusing on me. And she doesn’t stop looking.

So, I do what any guy would do in my situation. I check her out. Relax, I don’t make it obvious. Not that I have to worry since Chloe is busy scanning the menu with one finger, her lips moving like she’s trying to sound out the entrees.

Ms. Deer in Headlights isn’t my usual type. She’s a little too punk rock for me with her cropped dark hair, cut-off tee and jean skirt but, what the hell? Her nose ring is hot.

“Do I know you?” I ask, leaning back in my chair.

She does look vaguely familiar, but this is the only city in America where body doubles can make bank just by breathing. If it doesn’t work out with Chloe, Punk Rock Chick is a solid seven. Her surprised, slack-jawed expression suddenly morphs into a wide, slightly manic smile. I shift in my seat. Ok, maybe not a seven.

“Of course, you do, silly,” Punk Rock Chick says, slamming her pad down on the table. “Well, I mean, you and I only met once, but I know your Uncle Bob.”

Oh crap.

Chloe stops lip syncing the menu and looks up. “You do?”

“Sure! Bob’s one of the best record producers in the city.”

Chloe looks at me like I’ve just stolen her favorite toy. “I thought you said he was a casting director?”

I open my mouth to respond but Punk Rock Chick is quicker.

“Oh, you know Uncle Bob,” she says, good-naturedly. “He’s a jack-all-trades. Isn’t that right, Scott?”

I clear my throat. “Well, I-”

“In this town, you really need to have a wide range of skills,” Rock Chick interrupts. “Just in case one job falls through, there’s always a backup. For example, see that girl over there.” She points to a brunette at the bar. 

I swallow hard.

“Scott here said she had the perfect face for Uncle Bob’s new cosmetic line.” The woman with flawless makeup holds up her glass and levels me with a glare. “And that one over there,” the waitress, who I’m finally starting to recognize says, turning her attention to the far wall, where another one of my conquests leans against a tall table. “Uncle Bob told her he would publish her novel. If only he’d had a chance to read it,” she tsks, shaking her head. “But, you can’t blame him, really. A man as busy as Uncle Bob probably has people to do that for him. Or at least, you’d think so. Wouldn’t you, Scott?”

“I can explain,” I say, looking from Rock Chick to Chloe. There’s no mistaking the look of disgust on my date’s face.

“Ok,” Rock Chick says.

“Ok,” I parrot, licking my lips. Shit, she wasn’t supposed to say that. Something tells me telling these ladies I use Uncle Bob to get laid isn’t going to help my case. “I’m…umm…”

Punk Rock Chick, fuck me, I still can’t remember her name, raises an eyebrow. I sigh. “I’m sorry,” I say, because it’s the only thing I can say.

She smiles and looks at Chloe. “Can I borrow this?” She asks, pointing at the martini glass.

Chloe stands. “Oh, please, she says, taking the glass herself. “Let me.” Then she walks to my side of the table and tips the glass, olives and all, over my head. I close my eyes as the cold, sticky liquor coats my hair and the back of my neck. “Thanks for the drink,” Chloe says, before they disappear.

I pluck an olive from the skewer in my lap and pop it into my mouth.

Damn you, Uncle Bob.

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