Apple Sauce

Contributor: Jerry Guarino

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Julie walked in with her laptop case over her shoulder. Her long brown hair pulled through a crimson velvet scrunchy, draped behind her blue blazer, over the cranberry cardigan sweater, over the white oxford, accented by the Harvard tie which went with the plaid, pleated skirt that highlighted the knee socks which sat atop the cordovan clogs. In short, she was the dream girl of every code savvy programmer in Cambridge. “Hi, my name is Julie Bowen.”

Hi Julie, I’m Zach” said the college sophomore in jeans and t-shirt. Zach was one of those code savvy programmers, working a part time job in the hopes of meeting girls like Julie. He wasn’t a bad looking guy, just not in the same league as Julie, sort of like your company softball team versus the Red Sox.

Hi Zach.” At this point, Zach could feel his heart beating. Not that this was the first time he talked with such a vision. In fact, beautiful women were lining up to meet with him on a daily basis.

How can I help you Julie?” Zach could smell the expensive perfume Julie was wearing, light but classy, just like her.

There’s something wrong with my mail program. It works on my phone, but not on my laptop.” She smiled at Zach in that way beautiful women do, not encouraging anything more than friendship, but genuinely grateful.

Well, let’s see what we can do.” Julie put her laptop on the counter, turned it on, entered the password and passed it to Zach. “This doesn’t sound too serious.” He quickly and deftly checked the mail program, the settings and tested the incoming server. “Yes, I see the problem. But I know how to fix it.” Within minutes, her program was working again.

What was wrong?” she said while flicking her bangs to the side.

Sometimes the other company servers hiccup and it changes the settings. I just reset it. No problem.” Zach, always the professional, and hoping to prolong the encounter, offered his parting phrase. “Is there anything else I can help you with today?”

I guess not. Thanks very much Zach.” She packed up her laptop, and then offered her hand. “You’re welcome,” said Zach. “Have a good day.” Julie turned slowly, giving Zach one more friendly smile. Julie glided gracefully toward the big glass door, and then looked back once more. Zach waved, sighing to himself. “I love my job.”

Later, at another bar, this one on Dunster Street, Zach and his friends were having a beer and watching the Celtics. “Looks like they’re ready for the playoffs” he said. “Yeah, and the Bruins too. Makes the cold Boston winter bearable. It must be tough for places like Toronto, stuck inside watching two lousy teams. Must be why they drink so much up there.”

Then he saw three Harvard coeds coming in, shaking off snow from their UGGs and taking off scarves and wool caps. Zach thought he recognized one of them. The girls sat down at a booth. “Excuse me,” said Zach to his buddies, as he tried to walk nonchalantly to the rest room.

Hey, Zach” Julie said as he passed by while Julie’s friends looked up. Zach did his best to act surprised, even though he had smelled her perfume.

Hi. It’s Julie, right?” Zach paused long enough to be polite, without acting too eager. “Mail problem?”

Email, yes. This is Debbie and Karen. Zach fixed my computer last week. He’s a genius.”

Small G, Julie, small G.”

We’re just having drinks and some bar food. Want to join us?”

Well, I’m with a couple friends” pointing to the bar, “watching the game.”

That’s ok, we can go to that big table.” Zach called for the waitress to set them up. “Can we get six here please?”

Over the next hour, the six talked about living and working in Bean town, the sports teams, life at Harvard. Then Karen excused herself. “Well, I have an early class and a paper to finish. Sorry but I’ll have to go.” Julie and Debbie nodded that they should go to.

May I walk you back?” said Zach.

I’d like that thanks,” said Karen. As the girls left, Karen whispered something into Julie’s ear, gave her a hug and headed out with Zach.

As they walked out, Zach turned and looked back at Julie, smiling. Julie gave him a little wave and sighed to herself.

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Jerry Guarino’s short stories have been published by dozens of magazines in the United States, Canada, Australia and Great Britain. His latest book, "50 Italian Pastries", is available on and as a Kindle eBook. Please visit his website at
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