The Grapes of Sociopath

Story Submitted by Frank:

Etta seemed normal at first glance. I wrote to her online, and we had a good few messages. She worked in a school district administration office. Maybe it was her daily proximity to a school, but something made Etta act annoyingly young for her age.

You know that five-year-old cousin you have who asks "Why?" to everything? That was Etta, only a thousand times worse.

When we sat down to dinner, she asked, "Why did you pick this place?"

I replied, "Because I asked you in an e-mail what kind of cuisine you preferred, and you said that you liked everything."

"Do you think that everyone is as easy-going as I am, or that someone else would've been more decisive?"

I said, "I don't know."

"Why not?"

I asked her, "What looks good to you in the menu?"

She replied, "What looks good to you in the menu?"

I said, "The eggplant parm."

She said, "Is eggplant parm your favorite food?"

"No. Probably grapes. What's yours?"

"Grapes! Or eggplant parm. What is it about grapes that you like so much?"

"They taste good. How about you "

"What is it about grapes that you like so much?"

"I just answered that."

"Why do you like grapes so much?"

I asked, "Why do you like grapes so much?"

"Why do you like grapes?"

Thankfully, the waitress came to take our orders. Etta asked me to order first. I said, "I'll have the eggplant parm," and then I coughed. Etta ordered the same thing, verbatim, and then coughed, just like me.

The waitress took off and I noticed that Etta was mimicking everything I was doing. I scratched my nose, she scratched her nose. I drank water, she drank water. I said, "Etta, what are you...?"

She said, "Etta, what are you...?"

She smiled, then asked, "Why do you like grapes?"

I said, "They taste good."

She asked, "Why do you like grapes?"

I said, "Etta, if you don't stop, then this will be our last date."

From that moment on, Etta didn't breathe a single word to me. She was silent for the rest of the date, and would not make eye contact.

Well, that's not entirely true. At the end of the date, when I hugged her goodnight, she went limp in my arms and said, "Blaaargh, dead fish."

Her online profile said that she was 25, but I wonder if she was closer to 10.


  1. Jared, this girl is not a sociopath. She definitely has something wrong with her, but she's not a threat to herself or society at large. Charlie Manson is a sociopath. This girl is just annoying. :P

  2. It never occured to you to ask if she ever played doctor before?

  3. Actually, a sociopath is not by definition necessarily a threat to anyone, Nikki. It's a person whose behavior is antisocial and who lacks a sense of social conscience. I think you're confusing it with a psychopath.

  4. http://sociopathx.com/sociopathvspsychopath.php See the second section.

    You're right; you don't necessarily need to be a threat to be a sociopath, but these symptoms are what made me mention the violent tendencies:

    # repeatedly performing acts that can serve as grounds for arrest
    # irritability and aggressiveness, indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults
    # disregard for safety of self or others
    # cruelty to animals

  5. ^PS: I have a family member with antisocial personality disorder, so I was aware of those symptoms before "looking them up" as "proof."

  6. Melissa: A sociopath is the same exact thing as a psychopath with one exception: psychopaths are born the way they are while sociopaths are born normally but develop psychopathic tendencies through abuse, poverty, and other negative influences. That's it. There are different classifications of psychopaths/sociopaths, but that's another matter.

    Knowing is half the battle, kids!

    Nikki: Same here. I actually have a close relative who is a sociopath; for nine delightful years I got to see his violence and narcissism first-hand. Scary shit.

  7. Sociopath or not, Etta sounds like someone made a humaniform version of a CleverBot program.

    Presuming we all lived in the Twilight Zone or the Outer Limits, of course.

  8. YoungWilliam - that's exactly what I thought! Eliza for real.


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