Leaves and Left

Story Sent in by Joanna:

Fred and I had some mutual friends, although we primarily moved in separate circles. I always thought he was thoughtful and good-looking, so when he invited me to a Labor Day barbecue with his friends, I thought it would be a good way to spend time with him.

He asked me to come by early, to help him set up and to hang out. He said, "It's not quite the first date you deserve, but consider it maybe a prologue? I'll take you out to dinner next week, if you'd like."

With butterflies in my stomach, I went out that morning to the grocery store, grabbed some burger rolls, hot dog buns, and condiments, then drove over to Fred's house.

The pleasant smell of burning leaves filled my nose as I parked and walked around to the back of his house, as he had instructed me to do. When I made it there, I discovered him standing alone, with his back to me, over a grill, flames licking nearly as tall as I was.

"Fred?" I called out, "What's going on?"

He turned to me and said, "I'm burning leaves. Purging last year away."

I put the stuff I had bought on a bridge table. He glanced at it and said, "I have money for you, for that. Still, I was thinking of burning the money in here. Might help."

"Please don't do that. Might help what?"

He looked around and said, "Help me find more leaves."

There weren't many left in his backyard (this was early September, after all) and the smoke was already permeating everything. I asked him, "Maybe you should get some charcoals on there."

He grabbed two big handfuls of leaves said, "The past year must be purged!" and threw them on the grill. Smoke rose up and covered everything nearby. I coughed and yelled his name a few times.

He strode over to me with a clenched fist, then opened his palm. Dollar bills fell out, onto the ground. "Scramble for your monies," he said, "I have an entire year to purge."

He returned to the grill, waving his arms up and down, like a priest over an offering. I grabbed the cash. It was a dollar short, but my eyes were so teary and hot, and Fred was behaving so strangely, that I took it and left.

I didn't contact Fred and he didn't contact me. A couple of weeks later, I bumped into Phil, a friend of Fred's who Fred had told me he had invited to the party. I asked Phil how Fred's barbecue went.

Phil replied, "What barbecue?"


  1. Makes me wonder if he had some fava beans and a nice Chianti waiting in the kitchen...

  2. There are easier ways to clean up your friendlist on facebook.

  3. At least he "made it rain," which is always nice.

  4. Dating Pro Tip: People who say ""Scramble for your monies" as they toss coins in your direction may be objectifying you.


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