The War Between the States

Story Submitted by Margaret:

Ian, who worked in electronic sales (but was an actor and writer as hobbies) wrote to me online, came across as smart and well-read, and after a week, asked me out.  We met at a restaurant and were seated, and then the fun began:

"First thing you should know," he said, "Is that I'm not who you think I am."

I didn't say a word, my mind too busy racing with possibilities.

He went on, "I visited Antietam, a Civil War battlefield, with my parents when I was seven, and the spirit of a union army officer possessed my body."

I said nothing, waiting for the punch line.

"But that's not all," he said, "He was chased into me by the ghost of a confederate officer.  Now both officers are trapped within me and are chasing and fighting each other."

He stopped there, waiting for my reaction.  I said, "I don't get it."

He replied, "Just letting you know, in case I say or do something strange.  That's why."  Then, he saluted me and dropped his hand.  "Like that," he explained.

"I don't get it," I said again, "So you're a Civil War buff or...?"

He said, "I have two rival soldiers inside of my body.  I don't know why they chose me, but when they fight, bad things happen, don't they?  Yes, yes they do."

"How often do they fight?"

"Less often in recent years.  I've developed techniques to control them with my psychiatrist."

"I see.  So, you said that you like to write, is that true?"  I moved us off of the prior topic, and he didn't mention it again.

That is to say, not until we were done with dinner and walking outside.  We were near a bridge over a river when he ran down the embankment towards the river, rolled on the ground and said, "Man the trenches!  To arms!  Fifty down the east flank!  Thirty down the right flank!  Go!  Go!  Aaagh!" then he fell backward, as if shot.

I walked down towards the river and stood over him.  His eyes were closed and he made no movement.  I asked him, "Is it Civil War time?"

His eyes shot open and he sat up.  He saluted me and said, "We've got to get to Colonel Crocker!"

"Who's Colonel Crocker?" I asked, bemused.

He pointed his hands at me as if he was holding a rifle, then fell backward and shouted, "I got a powerful gun in my hands, Aunt Ida!"

I asked, "Is this for real, Ian?"

He shuddered on the ground and yelled, "No!  You won't take over... not... this... time... no!" and then he was still and silent.

I tapped his head and asked him, "Are you okay?"

He said, "Yes.  What happened?  I'm all weak."

I said, "You yelled some Civil War things.  Are you just screwing around with me or what?  Do you want to go home?"

He asked, "What did I say?  How bad was it?"

I replied, "You had to make it to Colonel Crocker."

"Colonel Crocker!" he yelled, then did this weird movement in which he leaned back, then urged his body forward and landed on his feet.  He stood fully erect and looked around, side to side.

"Colonel Crocker's men!" he barked, then ran away from me, into the river (it was shallow - only up to his ankles) and up the bank on the other side.  He turned around, said, "Take all gold and women!" and continued on, away from me.

I called him up and left a polite voicemail, informing him that it would be best if the four of us didn't see each other again.


  1. There actually WAS a Colonel Crocker at Antietam. Maybe dude was telling the truth. Or he was nuts. Either way, I can't fault his history, though I might hasten to try.

  2. A dedicated Civil War fraud would do his research! Only amateurs and the lazy make it up as they go along...

  3. Actors like that give the rest of us a bad name. >:(

  4. ^ Charlie Sheen is not an actor, he doesn't act. There's only one word for what he does and it's called winning!

  5. I hope this doesn't sound too mean, but has anybody ever wondered if the reason for the increasing amount of mental illness in our society is not because psychiatrists overdiagnose, but simply because our society is more tolerant of it? I'm not trying to say that EVERYBODY with a mental illness is just a drama queen, but I can't help wondering how many people like this guy would spontanteously cure themselves if their behavior was rewarded not with attention but rather a good solid thrashing. Am I a bad person to contemplate this?

  6. Wolf, it wouldn't be a question of curing themselves, it'd be a question of hiding it as best they could and attempting to explain odd occurences away. People are more understanding about mental illnesses, so now someone who is dealing with them doesn't feel as much pressure to lie. Before, having a mental illness was tantamount to witchcraft.

  7. ^ I guess you're right. It's still SOOOOOO tempting, though!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Content Policy

A Bad Case of the Dates reserves the right to publish or not publish any submitted content at any time, and by submitting content to A Bad Case of the Dates, you retain original copyright, but are granting us the right to post, edit, and/or republish your content forever and in any media throughout the universe. If Zeta Reticulans come down from their home planet to harvest bad dating stories, you could become an intergalactic megastar. Go you!

A Bad Case of the Dates is not responsible for user comments. We also reserve the right to delete any comments at any time and for any reason. We're hoping to not have to, though.

Aching to reach us? abadcaseofthedates at gmail dot com.