Story Sent in by Duane:
Layla showed up to our first date with a stuffed Cookie Monster. Giving her the benefit of the doubt, after we greeted each other, I pointed at it and said, "You brought a guest."
She said, as if seeing it for the first time, "Oh! Him? This? He's, he's my niece's! I'm dropping him off at her house after dinner."
Not wanting to make any further fuss about it, I silently accepted her explanation and we headed to dinner. At dinner, Layla sat Cookie Monster next to her, although she didn't mention him once. During dinner itself, I looked up twice to find her holding a forkful of salad up against its mouth, as if feeding it. She didn't catch me watching either time.
Merely making conversation, I asked her, "How old's your niece?"
"Niece?" she asked, then her eyes widened. "Niece! Yes. Er, Emma! Emma-Socks, yes. She's three. Loves Cookie Monster."
"Her name is Emma-Socks?"
She laughed. "Yeah. Her dad... yeah, long story."
Just to clarify, I asked, "This is your sister's daughter?"
"Yes. They live over in Iowa. I miss Emma-Socks a lot."
I nodded. "Lucky you, then."
"You said earlier that you're dropping Cookie Monster off at her house after dinner. They're in town? My guess is you're not driving to Iowa, tonight." The closest Iowa town was about 10 hours away.
"Yep! They're in town, visiting my parents."
Dessert arrived. We had opted to split a slice of cheesecake. She smiled down at Cookie Monster and pressed a forkful of cake to his mouth, then she shot a glance up at me, catching my eyes.
She then held Cookie Monster up at me, over the table, and shook him, saying, in a gruff voice, "Ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra ra!"
I tried to take it well. I even smiled. But then, she did it again. "Ra ra ra ra ra!"
I said, "Thanks, Cookie Monster."
"Ra ra ra ra ra ra!"
"Um... do you want a cookie?"
"Ra ra ra ra ra ra ra!"
I said, "That's adorable. Your niece must love spending time with you."
"Ra ra ra ra ra!"
And so it went. The only words out of Layla for the rest of dinner (which was a very short amount of time, indeed) were variations on, "Ra ra ra ra!" and "Ra ra ra la ra!" all said while brandishing Cookie Monster at me. I didn't lose my cool, and she even split dinner with me, which I didn't ask for nor expect.
Well, she did say, "Good night," after a particularly extended bout of "Ra ra ra ra ra." My theory is that she just wasn't into me and decided to throw seriousness to the winds. Or maybe she was just nuts. Either way, I didn't end up asking her out again.
Story Sent in by Duane: