Attach a Couple of Masts and You'd Have a Fine Ship

Story Submitted by Patti:

John was slightly younger than the usual guy I'd consider dating, but he had a way about him that was different from any other guy I could remember who contacted me online.  There was nothing fake or phony about him.  He came across as a little immature, but he was blunt and funny, so I took to him quickly.

The day of our date, a couple of hours before we were to meet, I received a call.  I saw on my cell's caller ID that it was John, and so I picked up.

"Hey," a voice said over the phone, a voice that didn't sound like John.

"Hey," I replied, "Who is this?"

"This is John's… friend.  Alec.  John wants me to tell you that he's going to be late to dinner."

"Why doesn't John tell me himself?"

"He's stuck in a fish tank."

So sure I was that I had misheard it, I asked, "Could you put John on, please?"

Alec replied, "John's stuck in a terrarium.  He can't get out.  I'm going to call the fire department right after we hang up, but he wanted me to call you, first."

"John's stuck inside of a tank?  That's the lamest excuse I've ever heard."

Alec lost his patience with me and yelled into the phone, "Fine!  Don't believe me.  You can come by and see for yourself.  288 Claymore Lane, Buxton.  I've got to go."  He hung up.

The address was less than 10 minutes away, so I drove there and knocked on the front door.  A guy with blue hair opened the door.  "Shit," he said, "I hoped you were the fire department."

He turned around and walked into the house without introducing himself, but I could tell by his voice that he was Alec.  I followed him into a living room, where, on a green shag carpet, sat a small glass terrarium, and within was John, smooshed inside in such a way that seemed to defy logic and physical possibility.  He was able to fidget, but not much else.

I knelt alongside the tank and asked him, "How did you do this?"

He said, "It was a dare.  Can you help Alec tip me over?"

I turned to Alec, who said, "Might as well, now that you're here.  I couldn't do it myself."

I surrounded the tank with pillows, as I didn't want the falling tank to shatter with John inside.  Alec and I almost succeeded in flipping it upside-down when heavy knocking came from the front door.

It was the fire department.  After we explained the situation, they went to work on the tank.  They had a tool that scored the surface of the glass and made it easy to pop out and remove entire sections.  Instructing John to stay calm and still the whole time, they had him loose very quickly, and told him, memorably, to not be as stupid in the future.

They left and John, soaking wet and sticky with sweat, asked me, "Ready to go?  Alec can stay here and clean up."

Alec grumbled and left the room.  I told John, "I think we'd better postpone.  This has all just been a little too much."

"But I'm slippery, now," John said.

Unsure how that addressed my prior statement, I said, "Why don't you call me and we'll arrange something else?"

"I don't want to play video games with Alec all night.  Just come on.  Let's go."

"You should probably at least shower.  You might have tiny bits of glass in your hair."

He thought for a moment then said, "Good idea."

While he was in the shower, I slipped out of there.  I didn't hear from him, but even now, a couple of years later, the image of him in that tank makes me smile.


  1. "I think we'd better postpone. This has all just been a little too much."

    "But I'm slippery, now,"

    The complete irrelevance to the previous statement had be laughing pretty hard.

  2. I wouldn't date this guy, but I could be convinced to keep him around for sheer amusement value.

  3. ^ This.

    And I also wonder if he is even more entertaining while drunk.

  4. I think the "I'm slippery now" comment was highly relevant. After all, they were going to GET. IT. ON. later and needed some lubricant. Or something...

    Okay, it was stupid.

  5. You were kind of a real jerk to just leave. I was really looking forward to the part where you got over yourself, gave the guy a real chance, and found love. Sounds like you were a total snob, OP.

  6. Lighten up, OP. So the guy was a goof who did dumb shit with his friend. Him and virtually every other man on this Earth. Hell, he was pretty considerate to have his friend call you when he was stuck; it shows that he was thinking about you.

  7. I imagine it was less about getting stuck in the fish tank, and more that it didn't occur to him to shower and change into clean and dry clothes.

    I mean, the fish tank was funny. But if he doesn't think I rate a shower, on a first date (when he's supposedly trying to put his best foot forward), when he's wet and sticky with sweat... well, gross. If I'm going to spend significant time with someone, there's gotta be a minimum standard of hygiene. I don't want to smell that all through dinner.


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