Friday, February 19, 2010

In Deference to Poor Decision-Making

Hey there, internet. Valentine's Day was five days ago now, obviously. I intended to have a science or some other sort of V-Day related post up that day, since I always had something new for the holiday the past two years. But after spending last week doing Film for Lovers 2010, I was pretty exhausted, and I kept myself busier than usual over the weekend, so that didn't pan out. At any rate, we're still in that "Hey, Valentine's candy is cheap as hell now!"/"Let's see how many times I can cut myself before I pass out from blood loss!" season, technically speaking. So that makes it okay for me to finish and post my Valentine's Day post late. Five days late. Because tardiness is my M.O. - people have called me tardy my whole life. And hey, this time around, rather than a normal post, you're getting one of my weird and whimsical short stories. You always like those, even when they harden the arteries. As a kicker, this is my first short story written from a lady's perspective! No, it isn't just a collection of misogynistic menstruation jokes.

In Deference to Poor Decision-Making

You know, I've never really liked Valentine's Day. Every February, jewelry companies flood the airwaves with commercials telling men to buy us expensive rocks so we'll put out. That we'll squeal like a six-year-old in a vise when you chuck something shiny our way - that love is a purchasable consumer good. Unfortunately, people are gullible and fall for this every year. Every year. It's ridiculous.

And then there's the biological clock. The notion that we're ticking time bombs, and that when we go off, Oh no! No more babies! as though we exist to be little more than baby factories. Reproduction is not the end-all, be-all of human existence, people! Sheesh.

By now, it's obvious that I'm not having a good day. Last week, Rowena was showing off her new engagement ring around the office, and I was happy for her, you know? But after a certain point, you get back to work, and you don't go around literally waving that thing in people's faces. You're happy, that's great - don't flaunt it. Anyway, I figured I'd crack open a bottle of wine when I got home, just to unwind after a long day. Too many deadlines lately. I ended up drinking a little more than I should have and when I logged onto, I kind of made a date for the holiday with this one guy I'd been talking to. He seemed pretty normal online - maybe a little morbid, but cheery enough. The last guy wanted me to brand him with my name - to have Erica on his ass for the rest of his life. Not okay.

Suffice to say, first impressions can be wrong. And I'm thinking that's the last time I'm going on that site while drunk. I had to get up at 5:30 this morning for the first part of the date. It's only 7:30 now, and we just left the state penitentiary. Hi there, red flags! Wish you'd shown up sooner!

"Zowie, that sure was some execution, huh? He wasn't even all, 'Hey, don't kill me! I'm innocent!' He was like, 'I don't give a shit, let's get this over with.' I'd be all, 'Whoa, you've got the wrong guy!' You know?"

"I want to go home." This was my first date in three years. I've got more important things going on, but my friends weren't having any of it. "One date!" they insisted. "Internet dating occasionally works out!" In retrospect, trusting the internet for anything had been nothing but a mistake. Time to get some new friends.

Brett and I had discussed date plans over instant messenger, and he said to leave things to him. With this seemingly sane guy planning everything out, how bad could it be? He'd coyly suggested, "How about we go watch somebody die?" when we planned when and where to meet. It was cute. It was supposed to be a cute, innocuous suggestion, right? I was supposed to laugh - this guy's so into me, he wants to see me early in the morning! Why didn't I exercise better judgment? I'm not desperate. We all have lapses - that's all this is, yes.

As for the details of my first and only public execution experience, everything I felt watching the sad-eyed convict breathe his last - I really, really don't want to talk about it.

Brett grinned as if it was all no big deal. He had a smile nutcrackers envied. Was this a hobby of his?

"I hate to ask, but, what next?" I felt myself trembling as I spoke and tried to regain my composure.

"How about breakfast?" he asked, folding his hands behind his back.

"I don't feel like eating," I said.

"What about brunch a little later, then? I've heard ladies like brunch. It's fun to say - brunch. I'm always starving after a good execution." He revealed this nonchalantly, cracking one of his knuckles.

"Yeah, maybe," I said quickly, wanting to move on. "What about this afternoon?"

"I could serenade you in the park. I've got a kazoo and some songs about brain-eating mollusks that I wrote last night," he sniffed a couple of times audibly. "My allergies're really going nuts today, but that doesn't mean I can't bust out a mean tune or fifty."

"Well," I searched for something to say next - "that just sounds wonderful. What about this evening?"

"I'm hooked up," he said with a crooked, devious grin. "I got us two tickets to an advance screening of the Mr. Potatokins Movie tonight." He gripped the tickets like they were a precious treasure.

"Critics hated that movie. Festival audiences hated that, too!" I barely held back admitting my addiction to the IMDB forums. We all have our own demons.

"But... he's the number one potato man!" He looked legitimately crestfallen, sad-creases wrinkling his expression. This guy was no Shar Pei.

"Why would anybody want to spend two hours watching a potato tell people to go fuck themselves? I'd have more fun getting a lobotomy."

"We could always do that first," he suggested.

"Would you cut the jokes already? I get it, you're this 'edgy' guy who says lots of stupid stuff to be funny. It's wearing thin. This is supposed to be a date, can't you be yourself for three minutes?" I asked him, ready to call the whole thing off and go back to bed. Assuming the final look in the executed inmate's eyes didn't haunt me in my dreams for the rest of my life. The nearest bus stop was only twenty feet away.

"Hey, have it your way - we can always just skip to the proposal," he shrugged.


"You've spent a whole two and a half hours with me now - that's a new lady-record," he said in a matter-of-fact manner. "Therefore you get to wear my dead grandma's ring and spend the rest of your days living in a cage in my apartment."

"Has that ever worked on anyone?" I asked.

"You're pretty," he said, as if that could change the subject.

"I'm going home." I turned and walked away from him, holding a can of pepper spray over my shoulder to show him that I meant business.

"C'mon, we can work this out!" he called. "Let's go to a coffee shop, we can talk about our feelings and the latest cartoons in the New Yorker! I can make a witty joke about a misuse of the word 'sanguine!' I haven't gotten laid in thirty years!" According to his online profile, this guy was twenty-nine.

I'm beginning to understand why some people might consider genocide an option.

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