Story Submitted by John:
Mia and I met online and flirted back and forth for weeks. She was the one who first brought up the idea of meeting in person, and she said, "I know a great place with good, free food."
I had planned to pay for our first date, but she was adamant about meeting me at this "great, free" place, so she gave me the address and a time, and I confirmed it.
The day of the date, I drove to the address, 1333 Sycamore Street, to find that it was a sprawling retirement village. Figuring that I had made a mistake, I circled the block and checked the numbers again. Sure enough, 1333 Sycamore Street was an old-age center. I called Mia and asked her, "Do you have the address right? Or I possibly misheard you. It's an elderly complex."
"Park in any of the yellow spaces," Mia said, excitedly. "I can't wait to show you this place. I'll meet you inside the main building."
I parked in the first yellow space I saw, near what I guessed was the main building. I walked inside to a large atrium, lined with potted plants and portraits of old people. She was waiting for me, and she was dressed in a set of pale blue scrubs. She handed me a set and said, "Put these on. We'll fool them, easy."
She said, "The old people won't care, but the workers here can be bitchy about it. It's legal. Don't worry."
I had the vaguest of feelings of what she was planning, but I was curious enough to see it through at least a little bit more. I went back to my car to change into the scrubs and returned to the building. She led me a short way to a dining hall, where dozens of elderly persons were eating at long white tables. She approached a cart that was stacked with food trays, she grabbed one, and she walked past me, back toward the tables.
I stopped her and whispered, "That probably belongs to somebody."
She replied, "They always have extras. Shut up and grab one."
Once we were sitting down over our trays of oatmeal, peaches, and boiled chicken, she gave me a big smile and shoveled spoonfuls of oatmeal into her mouth.
"Isn't this great?" she asked, "Free old-people food!"
For me, dates are less about how much I pay and more about atmosphere and the person I'm with. I have to say that eating dinner in a sterile, white cafeteria that smelled of ammonia and was filled with very elderly people wasn't exactly the kind of candlelit dinner I had imagined.
"Mmm," she said, finishing her tray of food and wiping her mouth on her sleeve. She stood up and I asked her, "Where are you going?"
She replied, "To get more food! Want some? It's all free!"
I had barely picked at anything, and I told her, "No, I'm all right."
She returned with two more trays and set them down in front of us. I said, "I appreciate the extra tray, but I think I'll be fine with just this first one."
She gave me a look, then said, "They're both for me. I know you're perfectly capable of getting your own, if you want seconds."
There wasn't much in the way of conversation, as she was too busy eating. When I finished eating from my tray, she said, "And the best part is that we can just leave the trays here. Someone will come by to clean them up for us!"
I picked up my tray and brought it to the used cart tray, all the same. "Wow," she said, following me there, "Look at you. Ready to go?"
We walked out of the main building together, she gave me a hug, said, "Goodnight!" and walked briskly away to her car. I returned to my vehicle, changed out of the scrubs, returned them inside the building, and drove home, never to hear from Mia again.
Story Submitted by John: