The Last Swipe | Robert Madden

The Last Swipe

Robert Madden

The Dragging Energy Award

Through the keyhole of the toilet room door Connor could see his wife, Mary, at the kitchen sink. Whereas he was content to throw the frying pan into the dishwasher, she always washed it by hand. ‘It was the grease,’ she’d say. ‘It gungs up the machine.’ Just one of the thousand differences of opinion that had arisen between them over eight long years of marriage.

His gaze moved back to his phone.

He was settling in to the arse-end of the daily routine, which went like: Get up. Go to work. Come home with nothing much to say to Mary. Change into hoody, tracksuit bottoms and slippers. Cook something unhealthy. Crack open a bottle of wine. Eat. Idle chatter. Another bottle. An argument. Start the clean up. She’d finish it (properly). He’d then flee to the safety of the toilet before she skyped her mother. After an hour of phone time he’d polish off the last of the wine then stumble into bed with her already snoring.

Rinse and repeat ad nauseum.

He thumbed to his latest download ‘Private Encounters.’ He found it via a banner ad on his go-to porn site, TripleXXX. Such the influence it had on him, he couldn’t resist. It even came with the revealing tag-line, “For when it’s Complicated.”

Was it complicated? Compared to the others, ‘Private Encounters’ didn’t fuck about. For those whom were scratching at the seven, eight or whatever year itch, this App was for them. Quite the opposite of complicated one would think.

First up was a blurred out photo of a woman whose profile name was ‘Up for a laugh.’ The App had given her and Connor a mediocre compatibility score of sixty-five percent. That’s how it worked. Users divulged all sorts of personal facts about their relationships, desires, frustrations, sexual needs etc. and the App gave everyone a compatibility score for each other. The higher the percentage, the higher the chance of a genuine connection. 

He looked closer at the photo. It was a selfie of a woman whose index and middle finger of her free hand were held up to her lips, her tongue sticking out between them.

He swiped left.

If they’d both swiped right they’d be able to message each other to arrange a ‘date’ or whatever. 

The next image was that of a woman floating on an inflatable unicorn in a lake, or maybe a slow moving river. Their score was sixty-seven.

Another left swipe.

With all the risk involved, why meet in person if there wasn’t a strong enough connection with her to begin with? One could only assume that the algorithm ‘Private Encounters’ employed to set compatibility scores was up to the task. They were the experts, weren’t they?

On he went. Swipes to the left, one after the other after the other.

He started to get up off the toilet seat when an image stopped him short. A lady in a blue summer dress against the backdrop of a blood-shot sunset. Compatibility score: 99%

He zoomed in on the photo and squinted. Who was this perfect match? She was vaguely familiar.

Connor: Hey. With a score of 99% we’re (almost) perfect for each other 🙂

Not even a minute later came the reply he wanted.

Lady in blue: Yeah we are! I was losing all hope in this App tbh, but my faith has been restored 🙂 What you think?

Connor: Meet up?

Lady in blue: K

Connor: Where and when???

Lady in blue: Tomorrow @ 7pm. Bar area of Dicey’s. Know it? I’ll wear my blue dress from the photo.

He quickly googled this unknown bar called ‘Dicey’s.’

Connor: Yeah know it. C u thenxxx

At five minutes before 7pm that next evening, Connor gave himself the once-over in the front window of Dicey’s. 

Here goes nothing.

He opened the door, walked straight up to the only lady wearing a blue dress and tapped her on her shoulder. When she turned around, he gawped straight into the devilish eyes of Mary, his wife.