The Man Who Wasn't There

(Wounded characters are great characters. Why? Find out on this week's Jared's Inkwell! -JMG)

Story Sent in by Terri:

Once upon my mid-twenties, I had a roommate named Frank. He wasn't at all my romantic type, but he was a decent friend and we had some good times. Most of the time, we had completely different work schedules so I hardly saw him at all.

One evening he brought a bottle of wine home and we split it. During our increasingly drunken talk in the kitchen, he told me that he had a friend who was perfect for me. This friend, named Mark, certainly seemed to be a good match. This was during an especially lonely time for me, and so I hung onto Frank's every word.

Frank told me that Mark volunteered at an animal sanctuary, was a published author (I did and still do dabble in writing), and was just dating again after a long relationship. He sounded cool and Frank offered to make the introduction. A blind date! How exciting!

A week later, I arrived early at a restaurant for my first date dinner with Mark. What made me even more nervous was that Frank had extolled Mark's virtues all the prior week. He refused to show me any photographs ("Now, now... it's a blind date") but filled my head with so many wonderful-sounding things about Mark that I was really into him before even having met him. I kept glancing toward the door and silently reprimanded myself for being such a little schoolgirl.

Frank walked in, all dressed up. "Surprise!" he said, "I'm Mark!"

I said, "No, you're not. He's on his way, though, so you can leave."

He sat down across from me and said, "I made Mark up! I'm your date!"

About Frank: he does not volunteer for an animal sanctuary and he's not a writer. His last relationship was in high school. He was unemployed and spent his days not-showering and playing video games in his room, which smelled like a cross between a barnyard and a diaper pail.

"There's... no Mark?" I asked him.

"Nope. You're on a date with me! You and I, together. Finally the way things should be."

He gave me a big grin. I left him sitting there. When I arrived home I wrote him a note asking him to leave the apartment within 30 days or else I would. He didn't move, so I did. Luckily, I had a contingency living plan and I didn't have a lot to move. But I wasn't about to continue living with such a manipulative bastard.


  1. If he doesn't work, you don't really have different work schedules.. Just saying.

  2. "If you like pina coladas! Getting caught in the rain..."

    If this were a RomCom, it totally would have worked.

    Also, I'm sorry for putting that song into everyone's head for the rest of the day. If it's any comfort, you're not alone.

  3. Look, OP, Frank's dating ad wasn't working the way it should, and if this modern day Cyrano knew that if you can't unilaterally decide that you are a couple with someone based on your hotness, then you should be able to do it based on qualities you don't even posses. I mean, jeesh, OP, he's a real catch.

  4. Got your facts a little mixed up about Frank's working, no? Keep dabbling because you seem rusty with your writing.

  5. Red flags starting at the first sentence.

    I had a coworker who tried to pull a similar stunt my first week on the job. He got mad when I wouldn't agree to let him set me up with his "friend". Then he admitted it was himself, refused to accept that my "no" meant "no", and started showing up at my desk every morning bearing presents. Human Resources had to ban him from the entire section of the building where my desk was.

  6. ...and then maybe they can send him to a class or training course in appropriate workplace or social behavior. Someone needs to help that man.

  7. Snarktastic, you didn't finish your sentence. "Someone needs to help that man"... fall down a flight of stairs? Set himself on fire? What? Don't keep us in suspense here!


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