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But Would You Do It for a Screamy Snack?

Story Sent in by Celeste:

Gerald asked me out on a first date for lunch. As we had met online, we talked a little about online dating. He confessed to me that he was also dating a couple other people from the site and he asked if I was okay with that.

I was (at least while you're getting to know someone), and I asked him if he'd be okay if I was dating someone else at the same time, which I also was. He said that was fine. So all seemed well.

After the conversation had turned to different topics (but before we ordered anything), he said, "I dated someone once who insisted on our first date that I stop dating everyone else."

"That's pretty presumptuous of her," I said.

He went on, "I'll put it this way: when I was open and honest with her about seeing other people, she said," and then he screamed so loudly that it made passersby on the sidewalk jump, 30 feet away.

And it wasn't a quick scream, either! He had taken a deep breath right before, so the scream kept up for several seconds. When he was done he looked like he was about to cry.

I didn't have a chance to say anything, because a waitress came right over to us and said, "Sir, you'll have to leave. Like now."

He sighed and stood up. I remained seated, likely because I was still in some sort of shock. He asked me, "You coming?"

I stayed where I was, really because I didn't know what to do. Was I also kicked out? Did he realize how truly terrifying he was? Was the waitress going to start yelling if I didn't also leave?

Before I could do anything, he turned and left. The waitress turned to me but didn't say anything and then she left, herself. I have no idea if the other patrons were looking at me because my eyes were turned down and my face was becoming hotter and hotter.

I don't remember how long I waited, but eventually I left without a word. And while I still did simultaneous online dating afterward, I wouldn't go out with Gerald again if he screamed a million dollars at me.


Meaty Fate

(Episode one of my new dark comedy web series, Below the Belt is five minutes. You just might love it. -JMG)

Story Sent in by Christopher:

I was at a playground at night on my first date with Bea (we wanted to go on the swings) when she asked, "Are you an arsonist?"

I'm not, nor have I ever been one. It was a question that came out of left field. I told her, "Not that I'm aware of."

"Good," she said, "I don't date guys like that. And you haven't killed anybody?"

"I don't think so. Have you dated many killers and arsonists?"

She sighed and nodded her head. "Too many."

She was deadpan but I took it for a joke and said, "I know how you feel. My last girlfriend was a cannibal grave robber."

She stopped swinging at once and said, "That's a brilliant idea! Come with me?"

Bea didn't wait for a response and took off at a fast walk. I jumped off my swing and followed her through the park and towards town. "Where are we going?" I asked her.

"You'll see."

I followed her to a McDonald's. She strode up to the counter and asked, "Do you serve person-meat?"

The cashier said, "As in, meat made of people? Uh... no."

Bea asked, "Know of anyone around here who does?"

"Uh... no."

Bea turned to me and said, "Well, that's a disappointment. Want to come with me to the graveyard, then?"

I followed Bea to a nearby graveyard. She knelt near one of the graves and tore up the grass around it. "Person-meat must be around here somewhere," she said, "Come on. Help me out."

"Do you want to grab some actual dinner?" I asked her.

She said, "I'm grabbing us some actual dinner right now. Come on. Help me out."

I left her to her thing. I wonder if she even noticed that I took off.


Beg Leg

Story Sent in by Andrea:

I walked lakeside with Adam on the afternoon of our date. We paused for a little while on a bridge that had benches from which we could see out over the entire lake. It was pretty.

We sat next to each other. He scooched a little bit closer and then a little bit closer. Soon, he was gently pressed up against my side. I shifted over a little away from him. He slid closer again, then picked up his leg and dropped it on top of mine. I squirmed out from under his leg and said, "I'm not really up for that."

He asked, "Then what are you up for?"

"Just enjoying the day."

"What about me?"

I said, "You can enjoy the day, too."

"No, I mean are you enjoying me?"

I said, "Sure."

He then smiled, nodded, and dropped his leg on top of mine again. I pushed his leg off then stood up. "I said I didn't like that."

He jumped to his feet and yelled, "Well, you're ugly!"

I guess he thought he'd hurt my feelings. I said, "And yet you still want to hump my leg."

"Your leg's the only nice part of you," he said, then gestured to the bench. "Now, can we try that again?"

I laughed. He also laughed. I said, "I'll see you around," not meaning a word of it. I strolled away and never once saw him again.


The Sky Is Stalling

(Below the Belt has arrived. The five-minute first episode of my dark comedy web series. It will make your day/life. -JMG)

Story Sent in by Reggie:

I had what I thought was a fun, normal, refreshing date with Melinda. We went indoor rock climbing and then went to dinner. While at dinner, her phone made a noise that scared the crap out of me. She pulled it out and looked at the screen.

"Oh my God," she said, "I just received an alert: a meteor is heading for earth. We're dead."

I reached for her phone. "Can I see?" I asked.

She ignored that and kept reading her phone's screen. I pulled out my phone. I had no similar alert. I checked CNN and saw nothing at all about an imminent impact. "CNN says nothing," I informed her. I checked a couple other news sites. Nothing at all. I mean, we're all still here, after all.

She said, "Oh my God," again then stood up and said, "I have to go. My pets... I have to go save my dog and parakeet!"

She slammed down a handful of bills on the table (though why she took the time to be considerate enough to pay the bill when we'd all be shortly obliterated was confusing to me) and hurried out. When I uncrumpled the money she had thrown down, I realized that it was for more than the cost of both of our dinners - a lot more.

Not feeling quite right about things, I used her money to pay only for her part of the tab, and then I paid for the rest, myself. Morally obligated about hanging onto her cash, I called her up and left a voicemail to let her know that if we all survived, I had her money for her.

A week after, once we had all miraculously survived whatever near miss she had discovered, she called me up. We caught up for a bit and I said, "Hey. I have your cash from the night the meteor hit. I'd like to give it back to you. By the way, how are your dog and parakeet?"

She hesitated for a moment then said, "I have to go check on them. Hang on." She put me on hold or put the phone down or whatever. But she never came back. There was no disconnect sound, and my phone remained connected as if she was still on the line. But after about seven minutes of hanging on, I hung up, figuring that she'd call me back once she had ascertained the well-being of her pets.

She never called me back. And I kept her money. Figured I ought to save it in case I need emergency cash for the inevitable cosmic impact. Or parakeet.



Story Sent in by Arlene:

I was waiting by the food court in a mall to meet Dan for our first date when he called me. "Are you ready to be freaked out? I'm at level P1 in the parking garage."

When I found him, he showed me the front of his car. There was a giant red, sticky stain across the bumper and the hood, as if he'd hit something that bled a lot.

"Oh my God," I said, "What did you hit?"

"That's the thing," he said, "I found it that way this morning. It was on the street overnight but I didn't hear or see anything. Something... or someone must've smacked into it. Freaky, huh?"

It was freaky. He stared at it for a while, then said, "Ready for lunch?"

I asked, "Are you going to call the cops or something?"

He laughed. "So they'll think I killed someone? Nah. I'll just go for a car wash later on."

The date went all right. We ate at a restaurant inside the mall and walked around outside a bit, but he seemed preoccupied the whole time. I asked him, "Are you worried about your car?"

"Yeah," he said, "I should probably bring it in for a wash sooner than later." He then gave me a quick hug and said, "Best of luck!" before speed-walking away.

He called me an hour and a half later. He said, "I was pulled over on my way to the car wash. They think I killed somebody. Will you be a witness to tell them I was with you?"

I said to him, "But it happened before I even met you today. You said you found it that way this morning."

There was a long pause. Finally, he said, "You're no help," and he hung up on me. That was the last I heard from him.