Story Sent in by Margie:
Paul, who I met over a dating site, seemed like a sane guy who was really into home improvement. He sent me several before and after pictures of his garage, which he was very proud of having cleaned. The after pictures showed various tools and machines, neatly hung on hooks or otherwise organized.
"First date in my garage?" he asked in an email, which I took to be a joke.
When he asked it again ("You didn't reply to my suggestion about our first date in my garage"), I replied that I was probably leaning towards a more traditional first date: dinner, drinks, something fun we could both do together, and so on.
"But I cleaned out my garage. You even said how nice it looked. I can set up a table, some chairs, it's right on the street..."
It was unusual, but it was the last point, the bit about it being right on the street, that made me feel more comfortable. I didn't receive any bad vibes from Paul, but having a just-the-two-of-us dinner in a (mostly) public area made me feel better than going to a garage in the middle of nowhere, or tucked away behind a house. I agreed to it.
When I arrived, I saw that he did indeed set it up very nicely: a small table and tablecloth, two nice chairs, and even a small bouquet centerpiece. Unusual, absolutely, but I was up for something a bit different, it seemed, after all.
We were in the middle of eating a chicken dinner that he had made when a kid who looked to be about 15 walked by us and stopped and stared.
Paul said, "Get out of here, Van. Not tonight."
The kid stalked off. I asked Paul, "Who was that?"
Paul said, "Van. Neighborhood kid. Got some problems, but I let him help me out around the house. He's a halfway decent mechanic, and..." and Paul went on, and I soon forgot all about Van.
That was, until Van returned about five minutes later, with a bright blue exercise ball. He ran close and hurled it at us. It smashed against the table and our meals clattered to the ground.
He made as if to run, but Paul was on him in a second. He tackled Van to the ground and beat him bloody, which only sent Paul madder. He shrieked, "And I just cleaned this garage! Now your goddman blood is all over it! Your goddamn blood is all over my garage!"
I screamed for Paul to stop, and he did, but then he grabbed a chainsaw from where it hung from a hook. He turned it on and brandished it at Van, who tore away faster than a falcon.
Paul turned to me and switched the chainsaw off. I must have been a weepy mess. He stepped toward me and I backed away. He laughed. "Don't worry! I wasn't going to use it on him, and I'm not going to use it on you." He hung it up, but I was done for the night. I bid him goodbye, he apologized profusely, but there was no way I was going to stay there another minute.
(Greetings, ABCotD readers. Still on a road trip across America. Posts will still appear every day, although the daily timing might be a bit wonky for a few weeks. Then again, depending on my Internet access, you may not notice a blip at all. If I'm traveling through your area and anyone wants to grab a coffee, then give me a shout at abadcaseofthedates at gmail dot com. Today, I'll be through Chicago and possibly northeastern Iowa. Tomorrow, Iowa into eastern South Dakota, then across to the Badlands. - Jared)
Story Sent in by Margie: