Story Submitted by Miranda:
Al wrote me online and we talked for a little while. He asked me if I had heard of this particular museum that was in our area. I had heard of it, although I had never visited it. He insisted on taking me there, saying, "I haven't been back in years, but I have some great memories of it." I looked forward to it, and we set up a date for that Saturday morning.
I walked into town from my parents' house and he picked me up there and drove us out to the museum. When we arrived, we found that it had closed down.
"Oh shit… I'm so disappointed," he said.
I felt bad for him, and said, "It's okay. We can go somewhere else."
He shook his head. "No, no. There's nowhere else. This time was meant to be spent there. We can just sit for a while."
"Uh… okay. For how long?"
He said, "For as long as we would have spent in there. I just want to be alone with my memories of the place. I'll describe it to you." He sat back and closed his eyes. All of a sudden, I didn't want to be there anymore.
With his eyes closed, he said, "The entrance was flanked with glass panels of etched sea life. Jellyfishes and coral… they were lit from the bottom and seemed to glow. When you took another few steps, there'd be a reception desk, where you would pay five dollars…"
I said, "Maybe we could go to lunch early and you could tell me more about it there?"
He said, "Follow me," and stepped out of the car.
We walked up the front steps and he stood in front of the door. He said, "This was once a place teeming with laughter and visitors. They had fossils, art, books, and a playroom that…"
He went on for a few minutes, describing the place, just as he had in the car. Finally, I said, "Al, enough! Can we go do something else?"
"I miss my fucking museum!" he shouted, stamping his feet on the ground, "You don't know what this place means to me! And they broke it! They broke it forever!"
He looked up, into the sky. Then, he turned down to me and said, "Fine! We'll just go do lunch. My feelings are worth shit, so let's go get you fed! That's the important thing!"
I followed him back to the car and climbed in. The only reason I was still following him at that point was to have a ride back to town, closer to my house, which was about ten miles away from the museum.
He didn't say a word to me the entire time, and I wasn't about to make conversation. He stopped at a McDonald's in town, parked across three parking spots, jumped out of the car, and said, "Let's go! You're so hungry and all, I don't see how where we go will matter, as long as you get fed! Let's go, your majesty!"
I stepped out of the car and said, "I'm not the one who closed your museum down, and I think you need an attitude adjustment. I'm going home."
"Oh no you're not!" he said as I turned and walked away. "Hey!" he shouted, "You made me leave my museum! I'm in grief! And now you have the nerve to say that where I take you isn't good enough! You get back here!"
I heard his footsteps pounding after me. I reached into my purse, took out my pepper spray, and aimed it squarely at his face. He stopped short. I couldn't think of anything to say, but I was scared. I had never pulled it on anyone before, and I didn't want to use it. I also was afraid that if I had to use it, it wouldn't work.
He stared me down for what felt like five minutes right there, on the sidewalk, with most of the few passersby hurrying by without a glance.
Finally, he stepped back, said, "You're crazy, sick, and you have no heart," and doubled back to his car in the McDonald's lot. He pulled away and drove past me, down the street, giving me the finger as he did.
I walked back home, and that ended my date with crazy Al.
Story Submitted by Miranda: