No. 570

The book dropped onto the table with a dead thump. “I finished it,” said Steve Larson.

His girlfriend, Rita, didn’t look up from her cereal. “So you hated it, then,” she observed.

“Just a little bit,” Steve confirmed. “Wasted a week. I guess that’s what I get for taking your brother’s advice.”

“You knew what you were in for when you picked it up,” Rita said with her mouth full. “You’ve seen his shelf, right?”

Steve grunted, unwilling to admit that Rita was correct. He had not opened the cover with high hopes.

“Why do you do that to yourself?” she asked.

“Dunno,” said Steve. “I think I just wanted to be nice.”

“You were trying to impress him,” she said.

Steve was silent.

“I’m right,” said Rita, slurping the last of the milk in her bowl.