Story Sent in by Carole:

My Cousin Mina and I were hanging out one day when she told me that she had the perfect guy to set up with me. A friend of hers named Howard. She said, "Howard is a graphic artist who actually makes money off his work. He's also a champion ice carver and he's like, known for his speed-reading skills."

A neat set of skills. An artist and a reader? I was game and so she set us up.

Howard showed up dressed in a bright, traffic-light-green sweatsuit. He also shook my hand with both of his own hands. Vigorously.

"Hey, I'm Howard!" he said in his first breath. In the next one, he said, "I'm here to make your dream come true."

Hell of an opening line, Howard. I played along. "Which dream is that?"

He said, "Every girl wants to grow up to be a princess, but you're not every girl. For you, I see..." he took a moment to think then snapped his fingers. "You want to go into space!"

It's funny because when I was growing up, I had wanted to be a space explorer. I told him, "Sure. Yeah. Make my astronaut dreams come true."

He snapped his fingers again and said, "Follow me!"

He half-jogged/half-skipped down the sidewalk and I was a bit hard-pressed to keep up with him. But keep up with him I did. He led me into an apartment building and strode right up to the elevator and hit the up button.

"Don't worry. This isn't my place," he said. I wasn't sure how that was supposed to make me feel better.

He took me to the roof and sat down. "Look at the stars," he instructed me.

There were no stars. We were in the middle of the city. The fact that we could even see the moon was an accomplishment. Still, I shut up and looked up with him.

"The great kings of the past look down on us from those stars. So whenever you feel alone, those kings will always be there to guide you." He took my hand and looked in my eyes. "And so will I."

"Wow, um..."

He released my hand. "Go now. I release you... from this spell."

I took the elevator down and hurried home. When I called my cousin and told her how weird Howard was, she apologized but also said that she and Howard hadn't really been close in recent years.


  1. I think Howard may have fallen on hard times since he and your cousin last met. Did Howard have a doctorate by any chance?

  2. Dude, isn't that what Mufasa says in the Lion King?

  3. I'm betting the only reading he does is Seymour Simon.

  4. @ Kyra - Holy shit! You're right! I totally missed that.


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