The First Date (shortish fiction)
I got there early to make sure that we got the best table. I wasn’t taking any chances. I wanted this date to be absolutely perfect.
Ten minutes later, Sarah walked in. She looked amazing. Not just hot, but Jami Gertz in THE LOST BOYS hot.
She looked a little flustered from work, but once she sat down and flashed me a smile, I knew it was going to be a night that I’d never forget.
“How was your day?” I asked.
“Hectic. But, looking forward to this really helped.”
“So, no pressure on me then?” I smiled.
“Relax.” She smiled again. Such a smile! “I have a good feeling about tonight.”
“You gave me crabs!!!!” A vaguely familiar voice bellowed from behind me.
I slowly turned around to see an ex-girlfriend.
Her name was Tanya.
I had almost forgotten about how outspoken Tanya could be. She reminded me quickly. She launched into a tirade that compared me to Hitler, Stalin, Mussolini and Jennifer Lopez. I blanked out for a while, but I am relatively sure that she blamed me for being the cause of certain types of Cancer. And global warming.
I’m unsure how long the rant lasted, but every second it continued caused Sarah’s face to look more and more horrified. Just when I thought she had finished, Tanya shared a very graphic description of both the symptoms of crabs, as well as the treatment involved. Very graphic. If she had taught sex ed in school, there would have been far fewer teen pregnancies. Or erections. I considered getting up and pulling the fire alarm to end the madness. Beating myself unconscious with a candle stick seemed like it would take too long.
“… and to think that you are sitting here, getting ready to infect this poor girl! After what you did to me last summer and –“ Tanya continued.
“Whoa. Hang on a second.” I interjected. “Did you say last summer?”
“Yeah. So?!” Tanya was in no mood to end her rant.
“Well, we dated TWO summers ago,” I reminded her.
“Ooooooooooh. Oh. Oh. Oh. That’s right. It must have been RANDY who gave me the crabs. Ooopsie. Well, sorry about that. I hope you have a good date. You two make a lovely couple. Bye!”
She, not very discreetly, flashed me the universal sign for “call me”, and with that she was gone.
A terrified waiter slowly made his way over to our table. He quickly put menus down in front of us, before beating a hasty retreat.
I glanced at a still horrified Sarah while picking up my menu.
“I guess we should probably avoid the shellfish?” I offered.
You would think that the night would have to get better from there. You would think…
A little while later, I excused myself to use the washroom. Basically I needed to regroup. Regroup and make sure that my hair was still standing up a little, Ryan Seacrest-style.
It was actually standing up kd lang-style, so I tried to fix it up. The results were mixed.
So, I took a deep breath, straightened my shirt, and headed back out there.
Now, unbeknownst to me, Sarah had received a phone call while I was primping. Man, I really wish it had been knownst to me.
As I returned to the table, I noticed that Sarah looked a little down. She was picking at her salad.
“Who died?” I asked – something I had never said before in my life. Or since.
“My Aunt Bertilda,” she replied. “I just got the call.”
I took my seat. As I tried to think of ways to get my size twelve Adidas Gazelle out of my mouth, the violinist I had paid earlier was making his way over to the table. I tried everything to get his attention. No dice.
He was locked in on Sarah – who was now silently sobbing into her salad. He started playing Cyndi Lauper’s “Time After time.” He was rushing it a bit, but overall it wasn’t a bad rendition. I waved frantically to get him to stop. He didn’t notice. Sarah started sobbing louder. He kept playing.
I drilled an overcooked dinner roll off of his noggin.
This finally did get his attention. He stopped playing and turned to look at me. I was shoo‘ing him away. He was confused, but went with it.
I told Sarah that maybe we should call it a night. Through a wall of tears and snot, she agreed. I motioned for the waiter to come over. I explained that we’d have to leave, and gave him my credit card. I continued trying to console Sarah, but she was extremely upset.
Moments later, the waiter came back.
“I’m sorry, sir. But, your credit card has been declined. I have to cut it up.”
Which he did. And a little too enthusiastically.
“But, that’s a brand new card. There hasn’t been a penny charged on it yet.”
“Sorry, sir.” He responded, without a hint of actually being sorry.
Sarah pulled out a credit card and passed it to the waiter. He smiled at her and gave me a “Remember when you had testicles? Those were the days,” look.
I considered dragging him out to the alley and beating the snark out of him, but I had to ignore the urge – and the feeling of being utterly mortified – and keep trying to console Sarah.
“I’m so sorry, Sarah. I’ll pay you back. You shouldn’t have had to… Not tonight. And –“
The waiter returned. He passed Sarah her credit card.
“Thank you so much. I really hope you’ll eat with us again.” Then he turned to me. “The credit card people called back, there was actually a computer glitch. Your card was fine. Have a good evening.”
Once again, my mind wandered to beating him with a trash can, Sonny Corleone-style. Instead, I took Sarah’s arm and led her to the door.
We walked out to the sidewalk.
“I’m so sorry for your loss, Sarah. If there is anything I can do…”
“You’ve been very sweet,” she replied meekly. “I just want to go over to my parents’ apartment.”
A man with a dog walked in front of us. The dog stopped to sniff Sarah’s leg. She looked down and managed a small smile. It was a very cute little dog.
Then the pooch, whose small size belied the Jimmy Choo leather-killing force soon to be unleashed, puked on Sarah’s shoe. We stood silently for a few moments.
“Taxi!” I yelled.