Shelia looked up at the sign hanging from the paint-flecked brick building. "Lover's Lane Dating Service", a vision in pink lettering and a pair of snuggling bunnies. The perfection was marred only by "Paco's Brake and Muffler" bleeding faintly through the pastel blue background. WhatamIdoingwhatamIdoingwhatamIdoing. Sheila shook her head, banishing the litany of doubt from her mind as she opened the pink door.

The lobby within was done in happy shades of pastel blue and pink, with heart-shaped end-tables and heart-shaped dishes of heart-shaped candies with simpering messages on them. Gag, Sheila thought to herself as she moved hesitantly towards the receptionist.

"Hi there!!!!!!", the receptionist bubbled. "My name's Traci, with an i! What's yours!" The plaque on her desk read "Junior Assistant Matchmaker." Sheila groaned inwardly at the though t of this woman tampering with her social life.

"Sheila McConaghy" she replied, praying for any reaction besides "Oh, gee, you're my very first customer! Yay!"

"Oh, goodie, you're right on time for your appointment with your personal love-life assistant! Come right this way!" Traci bubbled and giggled her way down a longish pink corridor, dragging a reluctant Sheila behind her. She stopped before a set of heart-shaped double doors, with a sign reading "Herman Snodgrass, Personal Love-Life Assistant." Sheila sighed, visualizing a rotund, sweaty man with greasy hair and a plastic smile. What greeted her when she opened the office door was anything but.

Herman was gorgeous! He was easily the most attractive man she had ever seen! Seated behind a large mahogany desk, his sharp pinstipe suit and easy smile radiated power and confidence. She was absolutely awestruck.

Then she noticed the man sitting in one of two heart-shaped chairs in front of the desk. Outwardly, she was calm, collected, with a slight smile as she regarded her date. Inwardly she was screaming and cowering in absolute fright. He'sgotaspearJesusChristwhyishecarryingaspearohmyGodthoselooklikeheadsontheendwhatthehellisgoingon. Herman rose from behind his desk and took Sheila's hand. "Herman Snodgrass, please, call me Hank.", he intoned, with a voice like a well-tuned cello. "And this is Tonga", he said, gesturing to the figure in the other seat.

Tonga rose from his chair, smiled, then bent over to lick Sheila's left knee. "XfhgXegeinvBlaerg" he said pleasantly, as his paint-striped body straightened.

"Please, have a seat." Hank gestured, indicating the other chair. Sheila collapsed more than sat, her eyes fastened to Tonga's spear.

"T-The paperwork I received said his name was Gerald......"

"Actually, Gerald was the closest English approximation to his name Traci could manage."

Why am I somehow not surprised.... Sheila muttered inwardly. "It also said he was a doctor......"

"Medicine Man, actually, but we didn't have a little checkbox for that, so doctor was the best we could do."

"I see. And where is he from, exactly?" she glanced at Tonga, who was now busily examining a paperweight and hooting softly.

"Somewhere in Malaysia, as near as we can tell. He showed up here and indicated, by signs and gestures, that he was seeking an American woman to bring back to his tribe and establish his superiority."

"Ah", Sheila quavered slightly. "If you don't mind my asking, how did this match up with my 'not seeking committment at this time' on my form?" Her eyes had not yet left Tonga's spear, which was currently prodding a stuffed quail mounted on the wall.

"Well, shortage of candidates, really, and you did indicate you were 'willing to experiment'..."

"I suppose I should have examined the ramifications of that statement a little further...", Sheila mused.

"And, here are your date contracts." Hank placed a form and a pen in front of each of them.

Tonga examined his briefly, then scrawled his tribal symbol, a bonobo monkey, in the space marked "signature." Sheila read hers a little more thoroughly, wincing a bit at "I reserve the right to club you and eat your bones" but thinking to herself It's either this or go home to a microwave dinner and your cat. She signed.

"Marvelous", Hank beamed. "Well, you two lovebirds had better be off on your first date, eh? Drop by tomorrow and let me know how it went!" With that he shooed them out of the building and into a waiting taxi.

As they pulled away from the curb, Tonga checked to make sure the cab door hadn't damaged his spear, then turned to Sheila and inquired, with a smile, "So, you like Italian? I know a nice little place downtown that has excellent veal."

Sheila was halfway to saying "Sure, why not, I could go for some pasta" when she realized what he had just said. She turned to him, eyes wide, and her mouth opened. "VEAL? That is so CRUEL! What are you, some kind of savage??????" Tonga winked at her and gestured at the spear with the shrunken heads. "Oh, right. Well, okay, veal sounds good."

As the taxicab sped away, "You know, you really ought to try monkey..." drifted into the night.