Dinner. Drinks. Chainsaw.

Story Sent in by Margie:

Paul, who I met over a dating site, seemed like a sane guy who was really into home improvement. He sent me several before and after pictures of his garage, which he was very proud of having cleaned. The after pictures showed various tools and machines, neatly hung on hooks or otherwise organized.

"First date in my garage?" he asked in an email, which I took to be a joke.

When he asked it again ("You didn't reply to my suggestion about our first date in my garage"), I replied that I was probably leaning towards a more traditional first date: dinner, drinks, something fun we could both do together, and so on.

"But I cleaned out my garage. You even said how nice it looked. I can set up a table, some chairs, it's right on the street..."

It was unusual, but it was the last point, the bit about it being right on the street, that made me feel more comfortable. I didn't receive any bad vibes from Paul, but having a just-the-two-of-us dinner in a (mostly) public area made me feel better than going to a garage in the middle of nowhere, or tucked away behind a house. I agreed to it.

When I arrived, I saw that he did indeed set it up very nicely: a small table and tablecloth, two nice chairs, and even a small bouquet centerpiece. Unusual, absolutely, but I was up for something a bit different, it seemed, after all.

We were in the middle of eating a chicken dinner that he had made when a kid who looked to be about 15 walked by us and stopped and stared.

Paul said, "Get out of here, Van. Not tonight."

The kid stalked off. I asked Paul, "Who was that?"

Paul said, "Van. Neighborhood kid. Got some problems, but I let him help me out around the house. He's a halfway decent mechanic, and..." and Paul went on, and I soon forgot all about Van.

That was, until Van returned about five minutes later, with a bright blue exercise ball. He ran close and hurled it at us. It smashed against the table and our meals clattered to the ground.

He made as if to run, but Paul was on him in a second. He tackled Van to the ground and beat him bloody, which only sent Paul madder. He shrieked, "And I just cleaned this garage! Now your goddman blood is all over it! Your goddamn blood is all over my garage!"

I screamed for Paul to stop, and he did, but then he grabbed a chainsaw from where it hung from a hook. He turned it on and brandished it at Van, who tore away faster than a falcon.

Paul turned to me and switched the chainsaw off. I must have been a weepy mess. He stepped toward me and I backed away. He laughed. "Don't worry! I wasn't going to use it on him, and I'm not going to use it on you." He hung it up, but I was done for the night. I bid him goodbye, he apologized profusely, but there was no way I was going to stay there another minute.


(Greetings, ABCotD readers. Still on a road trip across America. Posts will still appear every day, although the daily timing might be a bit wonky for a few weeks. Then again, depending on my Internet access, you may not notice a blip at all. If I'm traveling through your area and anyone wants to grab a coffee, then give me a shout at abadcaseofthedates at gmail dot com. Today, I'll be through Chicago and possibly northeastern Iowa. Tomorrow, Iowa into eastern South Dakota, then across to the Badlands. - Jared)


  1. I could understand being proud of BUILDING a garage, or expanding a garage, or finishing a garage into a room, but being that proud of just CLEANING a garage? Dude probably expects praise for putting his shoes on the right feet in the morning too.

  2. I'm not sure that going to a garage as the first date/meet is a great idea for anyone! Google the name Mark Twitchell and you will see - he was convicted of brutally murdering a guy (he lured men using a dating site pretending he was female) to his garage and then prceeded to cut him up into pieces, Dexter style. This happened where I live in Canada - Edmonton, Alberta ... I've been on my share of dating sites and always always always, meet public until you trust someone.

  3. You never ever ever go to someone's house for a first date. My Mum is a physiotherapist who told me a story of a man who came through rehab at the hospital to learn to live with a colostomy bag. He was lured to a house and sodomised with a broom handle which completely destroyed his bowel. All because he wanted to keep drinking with a guy he met at a pub. You never ever go home with someone until you know them! Damn, girl.

    1. Stories like this make me want to stop drinking... or, you know, following strange men to their garages.

  4. HOLY CRAP @Sarah and @Christine. Bad things can happen to people anywhere. Cool it with the horror stories.

    1. Agreed, but you're probably barking up the wrong site :)

  5. No go on. More stories please! Makes us realise how lucky we are...

  6. I agree with Mia..... we *should* discuss these stories. The more informed people are, the better choices will be made and perhaps these stories can persaude people to make the safer choice next time.
    Trust really can't be formed after a few emails or texts... all I'm saying is *know* who you're meeting in that dark gargage, isolated from any public....

  7. Doesn't anyone think the OP should have done something more than getting weepy while the guy was beating a kid bloody and threatening him with a chainsaw? Like, call the cops maybe??? I get it that she was probably stunned and didn't think to call during the assault, but after it was over and she was far away...The cops need to know about this whackjob.

  8. Kate's right.. just the other day I was sodomized with a broom handle while commuting home from work, and I saw several people get murdered and chopped into pieces yesterday at the market. There's nothing extra-dangerous about going to a stranger's house alone!

    1. What aisle were they in? If it was the deli section, that could have just been a misunderstanding!

    2. The plural of "anecdote" is not data. OBVIOUSLY one shouldn't go anywhere private with someone she's just met, but these terrible stories aren't the usual consequence for doing so. That's my point.

    3. That this kind of thing CAN happen at all makes it not worth the risk.

    4. But bad things CAN happen to people just walking down the street, so it's probably not worth the risk. Same with driving. Or flying. Or going to parties. Or going to clubs. Or not even leaving your house at all!

      Or hey, buying a house, having a wedding, having a baby, having an operation. There's a million horror stories for all those things and still people continue to do them. They must be crazy putting themselves at risk like that.

      Look, for every story where "xxx went to xx's house that they didn't know and BAD THINGS happened zomg" we could just as easily talk about the times we've gone to the places of people we didn't know and NOTHING happened. But we don't, because that would be incredibly boring.

  9. Maybe Van knew something about Paul and was trying to help OP out. I don't know.


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