Story Sent in by Leslie:
Joseph sent me an email over a dating site, and I checked out his profile. He appeared to be a clever, witty guy, but one sentence struck out: "I'm currently working on a top-secret project that will blow your socks off. Literally." Curiosity gaining the better of me, I wrote him back and asked about his secret project.
He replied, "You'll find out very soon. Everyone will. Then zap-boom!!!"
Convinced that he was just joking around, I ignored that and we went on to have an otherwise jaunty correspondence. It turned into a dinner invitation.
Dinner went well, and I found myself looking forward to date number two. However, during the meal, I couldn't help myself and said, "Tell me more about your project."
He looked around as if listening devices or spies could've been anywhere. He said, "It was after my last breakup. My girlfriend dumped me for another guy and I was pretty pissed off. At her, at him, at everybody."
Uh-oh. He went on, "I've always loved building stuff, and so to distract myself, I locked myself in my garage with a bunch of old parts to see what I could come up with. I ended up with a dimensional bomb."
He raised his eyebrows at me, as if that was my cue to be impressed. Unsure whether to be frightened or laughing, I stared at him, waiting, hoping for a punchline.
He pulled out his cell phone and showed me picture after picture of a device that was taller than he was, and looked like a combination of an oil derrick, motor engine, and pinball machine.
"That's my baby," he said, "It can bend space-time. At least, in theory, and on paper. I've taken about five notebooks worth of notes. Once I switch it on, who knows what'll happen?"
I said, "You might get hurt. What if it blows up?"
He laughed. "It won't. There's nothing combustible in it. It warps the very fabric of space-time. Once it does, there's no limit to what I can do. Don't they say that the best ideas come out of garages?" He snickered to himself and showed me the next photo, a shot of him covered in grease from head to toe, posing next to his contraption.
I asked, "What are you going to do with it, once it's ready?"
He said, "Oh, I have a list. First thing, I'm going to set my enemies straight, starting with that bitch girlfriend and that brainless guy. She'll come crawling back, but it'll be too late. I'll suck her into another dimension of existence. It'll be beautiful." Then he asked me, "You don't know her, do you?"
I replied, "I don't think so, but I guess there's no way for me to know for sure."
He said, "I just wouldn't want you to warn her."
"When do you think it will be ready?"
He replied, "Probably the day after tomorrow. I can't wait."
I wanted to stay in touch with him, not because I was interested in a second date (I wasn't, anymore) but because I wanted to see how he'd rationalize the failure of his device to work.
We parted ways after dinner, and I called him the next day to say hello and see how his secret project was coming along.
"It's almost ready," he said, "I can't wait to show you."
The next day, "launch" day, I didn't hear from him. Late that night, I called him, but he didn't pick up. He didn't call me or pick up the next day or the next. I went online to check his profile. It was still up.
That was three years ago, and I haven't heard from him from that day to this. His profile is still up, last I checked, although it has remained unchanged, as far as I could tell. Whether he blasted himself to another dimension or not, I hope he's still in one piece.
Story Sent in by Leslie: