I Keep it Next to Where My Heart Used to Be

Story Submitted by Julia:

Pete and I met online.  We were surprised to learn that we lived in the same neighborhood.  After talking for a little while, we made plans to meet up.  He said that he'd walk to my house and we could decide what to do from there.

It seems appropriate at this point to mention that in the back of my house, there is a shed, and within this shed are a series of tools, both old and new, that my parents have collected through the years.  One of these tools is a full-sized scythe, just like the kind that death uses, only rustier, heavier, and real.

The night of the date, I told him that he could come by anytime between 6pm and 6:30pm.  My parents were out.  I was running a bit late, and was in the bathroom at 6:15, finishing preparations when I heard a tremendous bang against the side of my house.  It sounded like a gunshot.  I looked out the window and heard someone yell, "Yaaa!" just before another bang.  I couldn't see what was happening, but whatever it was was going on in my backyard, so I rushed downstairs to check it out.

When I looked out the window that faced the backyard, I saw Pete, swinging the scythe into my house.  "Yaaaa!" he screamed, then swung its blade into the vinyl siding.

I opened my back door and yelled, "Pete!"

He looked at me, smiled, and said, "Hey, Julia!" as if nothing at all was out of the ordinary.

I asked, "What are you doing?"

He said, "Testing this scythe.  It's awesome."

"Yes, it is.  Why are you testing it against my house?"

He said, "Well, the siding looked a little busted over here, so I didn't think you'd mind."

I replied, "I do mind, and my parents will probably mind even more."

He said, "That's shitty," then dropped the scythe in the grass and asked, "So you want to go out?"

I gave him a quick stare, then said, "I think you should leave."

He said, "No date?  Damn it!" and shuffled away, out of my yard and down the road.  I brought the scythe into the house (the shed didn't have a lock at that point – it does now) and I had to explain the situation to my parents when they made it home.

Luckily, they took it with relatively good humor (my mother said, "Well, we have been meaning to re-side.") and as mentioned, they have since put a lock on the shed.  Pete wrote me a terse apologetic email, which I appreciated, but to which I didn't respond.


  1. In disbelief. I would have called the police AND forced him to pay for the siding. What the hell?

  2. Well hey, at least you can rest easy knowing that you have a tested, working scythe.

  3. I would have tested it on his skull.

  4. You saw a man you didn't know swinging a scythe outside of your house, and you opened the door to speak with him?! Are you insane OP? I would have stayed inside and called the police immediately. I am glad you are okay, but you (and your parents) should not be so cavalier about some lunatic hacking away at the side of your house, even if he was a moron and was most likely harmless...accidents happen!!

  5. I would have called the police without question. Let them sort him out.

  6. Also, why does no one respond to apology emails? At least acknowledge them and reinforce the fact that you don't want to see them again. Unless you're purposely trying to upset an imbalanced person, sending them nothing in return is just asking for trouble in my opinion.

  7. ^ I think it depends on the person. Ignoring someone could add fuel to the fire, but responding could encourage them to keep trying to communicate with you.

  8. ^True, but I think an acknowledgement with a firm reminder that you will not be responding to any further emails would work just fine.

  9. If you open that door, these are the kinds of people who'd stick their foot in that door and shove.

    She made herself clear when she said "I think you should leave." She doesn't need to repeat herself, and she shouldn't, honestly, because there are some out there who'd interpret that as an invitation to continue communicating. She said she was done with him, and she followed word with deed. There's no ambiguity there.

    (Also taken from The Gift of Fear, FWIW.)

  10. I know I'm really late, but a Grim Fandango reference? Awesome!

  11. I'm so glad that you caught it, McCoy. Boooonnnee Waaaaaagoooonnn...


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