"Put this robe on while I go get you a pamphlet."
Talk about our jobs. The future. Retirement. Planning. 401k. I've got a plan. Oh yeah? What's that? Put this robe on while I go get you a pamphlet.
I remember - I must have been 7 or so - being brought along to an Amway meeting, sales pitch, recruitment, whatever they were. The host, smarmy smile and overbearing enthusiasm, proffered me a cookie or cracker or shitbiscuit of some sort. He nodded and smiled as I took the first bite, giving my mother a conspiratorial wink, encouraging me to match his enthusiasm. I retched a little bit, thought twice, and aimed to drop it on his shoes, on account of his rug looked kind of nice, thick like. It took him more than a beat, less than a moment, and he continued his pitch as if nothing had happened; no child was brought, no crouton was mistaken for a cracker, no partially masticated wheat nugget had splat upon his loafer.
My date this evening was not the most sophisticated pitch artist I'd encountered. On the scale, I'd have to suggest that I caught on to her con rather quicker than she might have hoped. My concern now was how to get out of there with least possibility of psychotic wake. I considered for a moment, I considered again, I waffled once more for good luck and closed the door on the way out - with my sleeve.
It's a funny thing about growing older, I knew I was an adult when I asked a 14 year old whether my new shoes were 'cool' or not and really didn't care what his answer was. They weren't. I didn't care.
So is it any surprise that my idea of what constitutes technologically advanced is ten year old spy movies? I was under the impression that one needed 'sources' at the Department of Motor Vehicles or access to a spy satellite or something... It turns out they can put cameras into phones now-a-days. It turns out I wasn't the only one to receive an introductory offer to AOL in the form of an easy to use CD.
The first time I saw her, after our date, was at a cafe. I was in the middle of a meeting with a software vendor when I noticed she was serving coffee on the other side of the room. I had thought she worked at the bar but I supposed this could be a day job. She didn't seem to notice me, she didn't make any attempts at contact.
I saw her again that evening. She was dispensing towels at the gym. The day after that she was refreshing breadsticks and never-ending pasta bowls at the Olive Garden. Two days later I saw her again, twice in one day, again. First she took my ticket at the parking garage, later on she took another ticket from me at the dry cleaners. Not once in these exchanges did she ever show a glimmer of recognition, did she ever mention the aborted date, my unexplained exit.
This persisted for a few weeks before she finally lost it. I was prepared to outwait her, the weird was interesting. It was a gas station. She was just finishing up under the hood when suddenly she shot up, an erection in church, and slammed the hood of the car down. She stormed around the pair of gas pumps and stomped up next to the driver's side-door. As soon as the hood started down I hit the locks and started rolling up the window. She didn't freak though, she just stood there, legs spread and squat down like a lineman, huffing and snorting at me with eyes wide and fists clenched.
This was it.
When my heart stopped racing enough and my natural grin began to venture a return I decided to hit the tab and roll the window down, a crack. "What's up Bonny? You okay?"
Like a hymnal, vengefully dropped on an offending lap, she collapsed into a relaxed pose so loose it threatened to fall apart. She smiled sunnily and chirruped, "I'm great! I'm glad we finally ran into each other. I had wanted to share something with you the other night."
"You mean our date? Three and a half weeks ago?"
"Yeah! I went into my room to get something to show you, and when I came out, you were gone! I was so worried." She smiled hopefully and bobbed a little. "Do you want to see it now? I have it here."
She didn't look threatening, she was reaching for something inside her exceptionally tight cover-alls, probably the pamphlet. "Sure. And about the other night, our date..."
"Wasn't it a grand time! I was so sorry that you had to go early."
"Yeah, uh, me too. Maybe we'll do it again some time." Why'd I say that? I didn't mean to say that. I don't want to see her again. I shouldn't have said that.
"Like right now! I'm not doing anything, you want to go somewhere? I know the best place." She was gaping at me eagerly, shifting her weight from foot to foot as if preparing to make a break for the passenger side door. I cast an oh-so-subtle glance towards the door locks to make sure I'd locked the entire car, not just my door.
"Uh, no, I can't right now Bonny. I'm on my way to, uh, a meeting." So lame. "I really can't be late for it." Her face was getting darker and darker as I stammered on. I could feel something brewing up faster than I could tamp it down. "Why I don't give you a call later this evening and we can arrange something then?"
"Great!" she beamed at me.
I was in the Navy, stationed in Orlando, when Hurricane Opal hit Florida. The eye of the storm passed within a mile of our base. That was the easiest part of the whole day. It was the anticipation building up to the storm's arrival that was hardest for us to deal with. We knew the storm was going to be big, we knew it was going to come very close to us. We sat around and speculated, each one-upping the previous with displays of nonchalance, feigned excitement for impending doom.
When the storm finally arrived the pressure was lifted. It was as if the hurricane force winds blew through the base taking the tension with them. It was the most violent storm I'd ever seen and I'd never had more fun in my life. You see, I don't own Florida, I wasn't responsible for the clean-up effort.
I went back and forth on this a hundred times. I'm still going back and forth on this now. She is completely off her rocker - yeah, and she landed on those super-model legs of hers. She's a fucking stalker - yeah, but if she tracked me down eighteen times she can do it a nineteenth, best not to piss her off eh? A robe and a pamphlet? She's part of a damn cult! Yeah, but who knows what they wear under them robes? It could be one of them sex cults that are easy to get out of when it gets all spooky. Right, like those exist...
In the end I decided to chance it. I decided that having 50 lbs. on her was sufficient. If her Flying Crocodile style was stronger than my I Took Three Years of Kenpo When I Was Seven style, well, I'd grab a lamp or something. The wrong head made the choice but the right head apparently delayed the decision long enough. When I finally called, somewhere around 8:30 that evening, I got her machine. Just dialing had caused me to break out in a cold sweat so I didn't quite have the nerves to try again that night. The next morning I saw the headline:
Kool-Aid Cult or Harrowing Hoax?
Investigators are puzzled by clues found at
an abandoned compound in the mountains west
of Colorado Springs this morning. Approxi-
mately 40 bodies, clad in white robes, were
found arrayed around the compound. Neigh-
bors insist, however, that several hundred
people were living on the land. The large
scorched area north of the main house is of
particular interest to investigators. When
Her body was not amongst those found. I never saw her again. One detective confirmed for me that they found boxes upon boxes of pamphlets, he visibly paled when I asked for one and mumbled something about evidence. My 401k is doing well, though.