Operation Pull Up Quick to Retrieve It

what the hell is this guy talking about?

Let me tell you honey how it's gonna be
You're gonna sit around all night and watch TV
American Ninja II !!!
...and I will be with you

- Secretary of Proclamations of Love Dr. Frank from his speech “This is What Must Be Done

Knowing that this would be the first mission taking place behind enemy lines without any support, I took the necessary precautions of donning heavy camouflage. Unfortunately, I also got off to a bad start and heavy anti-aircraft fire caused me to reach the drop point fairly late. Contact was made with the target and we set off for the first checkpoint.

Dinner was super-tasty, but then again it was Gino’s East and anything less than super-tasty would have been unfathomable. Dinner conversation was pretty standard, including both of us checking the score on the Fire game running in the background. We debated the age of our waitress and her dating viability for one of her roommates. Common ground was also reached when we both mercilessly mocked a loudmouth kid at a nearby table who bit his tongue and began crying. There was the standard debate over the check, I made a move for it, proclaiming that I just got paid and that she was going to be dropping some fat change on a TV in a few hours. She insisted on paying her share, something she feels more comfortable doing “even when she had a boyfriend.” We ended up splitting it.

The next checkpoint was the local Best Buy where we both a made a beeline for the televisions. Wendy started checking out the 27-inchers, while I wept tears of joy watching an ESPN-HD baseball game broadcast on one of the 60” plasma screens. After some debate, discussion of various features, and a near bump-up to a 32” model, we decided upon a damn fine looking RCA. (“X-Box Ready!” proclaimed a logo on the front, but this will be of no use in her PS2-dominated household.) We also bought a neato-looking TV stand and I deflected the chatty salesman and his devious proclamations about extended warranties.

It was here that the mission hit a snag. I, being a moron, didn’t drive my van on out little night out, and instead brought my regular ol’ car. Now the massive TV goodness that Wendy had bought did not fit in the trunk of my car, so we decided to take it back into the store and have them deliver it later. As we turned and started walking back towards the store, all the lights turned off and they closed the giant metal gate at the front door. Wendy then called a cab and asked them to send a van to the parking lot. But the TV didn’t fit into their crappy taxi-van because the seats were bolted down and couldn’t be moved. So we ended up wedging the thing in the back of the van and driving it home with the back gate wide open and the only thing holding the in TV being its downward angle and Wendy’s tiny hand peeking over the top.

After getting home and lugging the TV up the stairs into her apartment, we set out on putting the stand together and getting the whole thing set up. Several hours, allen wrenches, and bottles of Old Style later, our mission was complete. I celebrated with a quick game of NCAA Football 2004. Wendy changed into her pajamas and end-of-the evening conversation occurred. Comments were made on both sides about how her ass looked in those tight flannel shorts she was wearing (She=con, I=pro), and we parted ways.

All in all it was a friendly evening, and that might be my problem. Far too often I find myself trapped in that maddening place called the friend zone, and this is one time I truly do NOT want that to happen. I’m not going to be that guy she comes crying to, asking, “Why can’t I find a man just like you?” when she really seems to mean “Why can’t I find a man just like you, but not you specifically?” Any comments on avoiding this situation while still keeping yourself available for romantic entanglements with that girl would be much appreciated.

Mission 3: How do you know a girl wants to smooch?

We can only hope.