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We Can Hope

Story Sent in by Darlene:

Steven was wearing a plain black necktie on our date. He wasn't in a collared shirt, so it struck me as an unusual fashion choice. I didn't say a thing about it and the date went on just fine.

After dinner, he took me ice skating. I was better than he was, but he still sort of held his own. We laughed and had a good time.

Once we had been on the ice a little bit, he skated in close to me and whispered, "By the end of the night, one of us will be dead. Thanks to this necktie."

I thought he was just kidding around and I said, "You have to throw it away before it kills us all."

He said, "It'll choke one of us by the end of the night. One of us will die and there's nothing we can do."

He trembled uncontrollably and looked like he was about to cry. Other skaters continued past us. He sank to his knees and I had to do my best to drag him off the ice to a bench nearby. He asked if we could sit in my car and I took him there.

In my car, he hyperventilated a bit, then unexpectedly kissed me, then hyperventilated even more.

"Why don't we throw the tie out?" I finally suggested.

He rubbed his eyes and said, "Do you think it'll work?"

"It's worth a shot."

He removed the tie from around his neck and threw it out the window. He calmed down and then gave me a kiss on the cheek and said goodbye. He hopped out of my car and disappeared into the night.

I took the tie from where it lay upon the ground. On my way home, I dropped it off at a clothing donation drop box.

After all this time, I'm still alive. I didn't hear from Steve anymore, so maybe the tie really did kill him.


Get Realpolitik

Story Sent in by Ned:

I'm politically active. At one point, I even decided to run for a city councilman position and I mentioned that in my profile.

I took Patty out to dinner for our our first date. After some conversation she asked me, "Do you think you'll be mayor someday?"

I do have a day job that I'd likely prefer to full-time politicking. I told her, "Maybe someday, but just being on the council would be great."

"Yeah, but there's all the prestige of being an actual mayor. There's nothing like that for councilmen."

"I wouldn't be running for prestige. I'd want to make the town a better place."

"Once you're mayor," she said, "you'll need a mayor's wife. And you're not married?"

"Hence this date."

"You know, in recent years, mayors' spouses have become more and more powerful in lots of circles."

"Which circles?"

"You're gonna be mayor. And a mayor needs a wife. Who was the last single mayor you can remember?"

I knew of two offhand. One had never been married and the other had twice divorced before he was elected. I'm sure there were others. When I mentioned these two examples to Patty, she dismissed them and said, "I want to be a mayor's wife. And you're the closest out of everyone I know to being mayor. Think we can arrange something?"

"Like marriage?"

"Why not?" she asked, "I'd be a good mayor's wife."

"What if I'm never mayor? Or never want to be?"

She thought for a few moments then said, "I'm disappointed in your lack of ambition, Edward."

"My name is Ned."

"Ned's a bad name for a mayor, anyway."

She drank down the rest of her wine and perhaps would've ordered another glass had I not suggested that we each pay for ourselves. She played with her gaudy rings for the rest of the meal and there was no second date.

Some time later, I was actually elected deputy mayor. That's as far as my political aspirations have taken me. I heard that Patty moved to St. Louis to pursue theater. So I guess she made it to the public stage after all.


Worst Base

Story Sent in by Alice:

Kyle took me out on a date to a local minor league ball game. It was fun, but every time any of the players did something of note, Kyle would say, "I can do that." For example, if a player hit a home run and the crowd cheered, he said, "I can hit a ball way farther." If an outfielder made an amazing catch, he'd say, "I could've caught that."

After the umpteenth time of hearing his nonsense, I turned to him and said, "So why don't you go and do all of these amazing things?"

He stood up and said, "I will." He left me sitting there. I was afraid he'd actually stride down the bleachers to the dugout and demand to be added to the roster.

He didn't do that, though. He returned a few minutes later with a baseball cap he had purchased at the concession stand. He pointed to it and said, "See?"

I asked, "See what?"

He said, "I told you I could do it!" and then he punched me in the arm.

Maybe he thought I was one of his buddies, but I wasn't having that. I excused myself to use the bathroom but I left without looking back. He never called me, so I guess he realized he deserved it.


Best Fronds

Story Sent in by John:

I bought Charlene a small bouquet of flowers before our first date. I normally wouldn't but we had talked online for a while and I felt like we knew each other well enough for me to do that.

She was very happy with them and carried them around with her as we walked around a park before dinner.

Something queer went on, though. At least twice as we walked, I thought I caught her whispering into the flowers. At first I thought that I was the crazy one. She's just smelling them, I thought.

No. She was bona fide whispering to the flowers. I caught words being spoken. I didn't mention anything at first, and when I caught her doing it again, I asked her a non-related question, just to see what she would do.

She stopped talking to the flowers immediately and addressed me. A little strange but again, we had spoken for a while before meeting. I wanted to give her the benefit of the doubt.

Right before we made it to the cafe where we were going to do dinner, I could swear I caught her saying something to the flowers like, "Fa fa fa, ta ta ta, ha ha ha, nyork nyork nyork."

"Are you talking to the flowers?" I asked.

"No!" she said, with no further explanation.

At dinner, whenever I looked away for whatever reason, out of the corner of my eye I could see her lean toward her flowers and move her lips. For all intents and purposes, it was like she was really talking to them. As soon as I snapped my head back in her direction, she stopped.

Finally I asked her, "Having a good conversation?"

"With who?"

"Your flowers."

"Yes, thank you."

Ah. An admission! But if I thought that things would soon clear up, I was mistaken. She simply left it at that. Yes. I'm talking to my flowers. What about it?

I asked, "Are they talking back?"

She said, "No. They're flowers. But I know they can hear me."

"How do you know? They don't have ears."

"Yeah, but they're flowers."

Again, an answer that wasn't really an answer. She wasn't forthcoming with anything else, and I wasn't about to indulge her strange behavior anymore. The one thing that changed, however, was that she no longer attempted to hide it. She leaned in and whispered to her flowers as I watched. She'd even give me smiling glances as if sharing some private joke with her plant life.

I hope she had a good time with them, because she sure didn't see me anymore.


My Least Favorite Burrito

Story Sent in by Felicia:

I had been dating Harold for a solid three months. Early one week, he called to ask me if I was up for a "Turkish burrito" for that following weekend. I had never heard of such a thing and I asked him what it was.

"You've never heard of a Turkish burrito? You just wait. I'll show you this weekend."

The rest of the week passed as it normally did with him. We had daily conversations and nothing seemed at all out of the ordinary.

Finally, Saturday rolled around. It was snowing and we had a movie night in at my place. Every time I asked him about the Turkish burrito, he demurred and wouldn't tell me anything more than, "You'll find out tomorrow. Probably in the morning."

We watched movies. We had some fun. The next morning in bed, he woke me up and said, "Are you ready for the Turkish burrito?"

"Yes! Finally," I said. I didn't know what to expect, but I was excited.

He wrapped me up tightly in my blankets, like a burrito. He tucked some excess in around my head so that I couldn't see anything. He then said, "Wait here."

He left the bed and the bedroom.

About seven-ish minutes later, he hadn't returned. I called out for him. No answer. I slid out from the covers and walked out of the bedroom.

He was gone. As in, he had clearly left. What's more, all of his stuff was also gone: the movies he brought over, the clothes he had habitually left at my place, and even his toothbrush. Gone. I called him and texted, but there was no response.

The next week, I found out from a friend that Harold had apparently already met someone else and they had started dating. Well, it was fun while it lasted. I guess.