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The Perils of Online Dating

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The Perils of Online Dating

The Perils of Online Dating

Written for my creative writing class in college. This piece was featured in the Salmon Creek Journal (our school’s art book) in 2015. So that’s nice. Written in 2014.

~~~

I twirled my hair for what felt like the thousandth time tonight. “So what is it that you do again, Elliot?” I smiled. I was much more excited for the conclusion of our date than his response. We sat in a dimly lit Italian restaurant in one of the worst parts of the city. Of course, I purposely failed to mention the recent homicides in the neighborhood to the tall brunette currently sitting across from me when I’d suggested this location.

I met Elliot online, on some corny dating website that had yet to provide me with a long lasting match. He and I had exchanged numbers, and later, numerous flirtations texts, and although I found his personality quite appealing I wasn’t sure that this would be the ‘one’ either. Then again I did have very… particular tastes.

He rested his hands on the table in front of us, food long forgotten. It wasn’t that good anyway. “I’m a salesman for a local cleaning company. Boring stuff, I assure you.” He cocked his head and smiled back. “Remind me again what you do Liz.” Not many mundane details had passed between us. I knew he had an aquarium of salt water fish and a severe aversion to seafood but no other info came to mind immediately.

I smoothed down the folds of my cobalt blue dress. To be honest, it was much too cold outside to be wearing such thin fabric, but my coat was hung up on the rack by the door to make up for it. “I work for the city morgue. I just kind of landed there and ended up enjoying it.” He eyed me cautiously.

It was hard to hear over the din of the string quartet in the opposite corner. “That’s hardly something I can imagine someone falling into, let alone enjoying it.” I shrugged and set my hands on the table, my fingers tracing over the gold bangle on my left wrist. After both of my hands had come to rest on the table he set his hand on mine. “Shall we get out of here? Maybe go somewhere a bit quieter?” I nodded and allowed him to pay the bill before we stepped out into the winter air.

Half of the street lamps in this part of town didn’t work, but that was perfect for what I had intended to do tonight. We strode down the street, walking close to one another for warmth. I stopped abruptly, as if a rock had made its way into my shoe. Bending at the waist served well to hide my hand as I reached in my coat to pull out the revolver stuffed in the inside pocket. How the poor sap didn’t see this coming, I didn’t know. He had been so sweet. I almost felt bad. Almost.

Elliot hovered over me, presumably to see what I was doing but that made it all the better when I finally stood up. With the barrel pressed to his chest I pushed him back into the alley that I had been sure to conveniently stop at. Elliot looked like a deer in the headlights. When his back finally hit the wall I spoke again. “Betcha didn’t think you would die tonight, did you?”

A sudden calm washed over him. He almost looked smug. “Had you walked another block I’d be saying the same to you, Scarlet Witch. Nice to meet you. I’ve heard a lot about you. The tabloids call me Pistol Whip.”

I blanched. “The Pistol Whip? 27 unsolved murders?” He nodded proudly. I wasn’t sure that I wanted to keep the gun to his chest or pull it back to have a halfway decent conversation. I really had no inclination to become number 28 today so I left the barrel where it was.

“11 isn’t a bad record either. Say, do you maybe want to actually get to know each other? Like psychopath to psychopath?” He had a charming smile plastered on his face and the feminine side of me wanted to take him up on that. Though knowing what I would have done in his situation, I was forced to believe that it was just a ploy so that he could turn the tables on me.

“Sorry darlin’, but I want to make it twelve.” I gave him the sexiest grin I could manage before moving the gun over his heart.

Elliot began to look a bit concerned. “You know that may not kill me right? It least not immediately. It’s too high and-” he started to bring his hand up. I tensed. Oh shit. Was I actually scared?

A light flashed in my eyes so I turned my head. A cop? Full blown panic erupted in my head. I composed myself, plastered on a grin, and sweetened up my voice. “Hello officer. What can we do for you?” I pulled my body away from Elliot’s and slipped the gun into my coat as quickly and as smoothly as I could.

The cop wanted to be tough but he was a rather portly fellow. He didn’t seem so sure of himself either. “You two weren’t planning on, uh, copulating in this here alleyway were you? And what’s that in your pocket? I’ll have you know there are murderers running loose around here.”

I glanced over at my dinner date and smirked, my confidence quickly returning. “Oh yes, officer, I know. We weren’t going to do anything illegal, I swear. Tell you what, if you bring that flashlight over here I’ll show you what’s in here.” I patted the pocket.

Elliot had such a pained look on his face that I had to look again to see if I had shot him in my panicked haze. “No, Liz!” he hissed.

The cop looked at him and then back to me before coming any closer. “It’s okay,” I cooed. “He’s just not good at sharing things. Are you, honey?” His face softened in defeat. He already knew what I was about to do.

When Officer Thompson got close enough that I could read his name tag, I swiped my foot under his, reached my hand in my pocket, pulled out the gun, and pulled the trigger. It was safe to say that I’d made it to 12. “What the fuck are you thinking?” Elliot seethed. He kept his voice low but surely someone had heard the gunshot. “You just killed a cop. That’s game over.” He ran a hand through his hair. “We need to get out of here.”

“Relax,” I cooed. “We’re going to be fine. Besides, what are you worried about? I’m the one with the gun.” I casually slipped it back in my pocket.

He looked at me like I was a child. “Cops normally travel in pairs. It’s just what they do. One will probably be here soon.” Elliot grabbed my hand and dragged me farther into the alley. “How many bullets do you have left?”

“Two.” I guess I maybe should have brought extra. I heard him mumble ‘good’ before we emerged onto the other street. “Where are we going?”

“We’re leaving the state.”

I stopped and yanked my hand back. “We? What do you mean ‘we?’ We’ve been on one bullshit date. There is no ‘we.’”

He smiled. “Where else are you going to meet a mass murderer besides prison?”

I sighed and took his hand. So much for those particular tastes.

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