The Not-So-Great Gatsby

Story Sent in by Dale:

Addie and I sat in a coffee shop on our first date. She was a pretty poet who ran a local writers' group. Before we met in person, she had sent me some of her work, and I had enjoyed reading it.

After a nice chat, she asked me if I wanted to take a walk, and I did. As we passed by several small shops, a bookstore captured her interest and we went inside. While there, she said, "Let's buy a book and you can read it to me under a tree." It was an unusual idea for a first date, but I liked it (and I liked her) so I asked her what she wanted me to read.

"Your choice," she said, "Make it something good."

I picked The Great Gatsby, thinking it a solid choice. This was bolstered by Addie, who remarked, "Good choice." We split the cost of the book, exited the bookstore, found a tree in a village park, sat down, I opened to a random page, and read. So far, so good.

I read it for a good five minutes when she grabbed it from me, stood up, and read it like a slam poet, stamping her feet and yelling each word. She then stopped, stuck a finger in my face and asked me, "Do you have a Daisy Buchanan in your life?"

"Uh, no," I replied.

"No? No!" she barked, then threw the book across the park, like a frisbee. She ran after it, grabbed it, threw it further away, chased it again, threw it across a street, then ran across that, and kept repeating the process until she was out of sight.

I thought it was all some sort of strange, unannounced performance art piece, and so I stayed put for several minutes.

When she came back, she didn't say a word, but pressed herself against me and gave me the tightest hug anyone has ever given me. "Oh crap," she said.


She let go of me and said, "I'm real dizzy. Too much excitement."

"Do you want to sit down?" I asked her.

She squeezed my arm and said, "You're so exciting! But it's too soon. Too soon, too soon. Can we get together later this week?"

"Like next weekend? Sure, I guess. Are you okay?"

She held up The Great Gatsby. "Can I keep this?"


"Ha ha!" she said, "See you soon!" She walked off.

I didn't hear from her for a few days, and I finally wrote her a note to ask her if she was okay, although I didn't bring up the idea of a second date.

In response, she emailed me back several pages worth of The Great Gatsby, faithfully transcribed. Nowhere in her message was any indication regarding how she was or if she wanted to meet up again, so I let it lie.

Although we've never gone out since then, I still occasionally receive emails from her with more passages from the book, but less frequently now, years later.


  1. Sounds like she's trapped in some kind of space-time warp, unable to escape, and her only chance is sending you pages of the book as clues. Once you put it together you'll be able to break her out of her dimensional prison and you two will be happy ever after...

  2. Kinda like that Dr. Who episode with the DVDs and the stone angels and the going back into the past thing!

  3. I was thinking more along the lines of that movie The Lake House, but your comparison is probably cooler.

  4. A little underwhelming.

  5. She threw the book repeatedly and repeatedly chased it down. That's not art, that's playing fetch, by one's lonesome.


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