Some dates are good. Some are bad. Some are downright ugly...
|Smiling and laughing as she stepped away from the car, Fern certainly seemed to be enjoying the date so far. Robert took her hand, guiding her toward the restaurant. He was eager to see the beautiful woman’s reaction when she saw where he was taking her. It was only by sheer luck that someone had canceled just before he had called for a reservation. Normally, this place was booked two months in advance!
As her gaze ascended to the sign above the door, Fern stopped in her tracks. “What the hell…?!”
Robert paused, turning to face her with a massive grin painted over his lips. His smile began to fade, however, as he watched Fern’s delicate features twist into an expression of horror.
“What’s wrong?” he questioned, seeing that something had gone horribly wrong. For the life of him, however, he had no idea what it was.
“You took me to Surf and Turf?” Fern leveled him with a gaze that reminded him of his mother’s when he had accidentally run over her prize-winning flower garden with the lawnmower.
“Absolutely! Don’t worry about the money. I know this place is expensive, but dinner’s on me…” He guessed at the source of her reaction.
“Let me phrase this another way. You took me to a graveyard for cute little animals and slippery little fishies?” She cocked her hip, eyes staring daggers into Robert’s.
“A graveyard?” he intoned hesitantly, brows furrowing. “It’s a restaurant. A nice one. I thought you’d be impressed!”
“Oh, I’m impressed, alright.” She crossed her arms, leaning back on her heels. “Impressed by your callous disregard for your fellow animals. You think you’re better than the rest of the animal kingdom just because you stand on your hind legs and have a big, stupid brain?”
“I… no! I mean, what?!” Robert was having trouble keeping up with just how quickly the evening was spiraling out of control.
“I was incredibly clear on my online profile. No meat-eaters. Vegans only!” she hissed, her eyes blazing with anger.
Robert grimaced. He knew he should have taken the time to read through her entire profile. He had messaged her based on photos alone. When she’d agreed to go out, he had figured he would simply get to know her in person.
“I’m sure they have some vegan options. A nice place like this?” He cleared his throat, then gave a shrill, tremulous laugh. “Come on, let’s go inside. We’ll have a nice salad or something…”
“And patronize a place that delights in the massacre of the innocent?” Fern’s tone was venomous. “No, thank you.”
“Okay, okay. We’ll go to a different place!” Robert’s mind whirred. He attempted to think of a place they could go that didn’t serve meat of any kind, coming up empty.
“Actually,” she said, her expression turning thoughtful, while we’re here, I might as well make the trip productive. She reached into her purse, extracting a can of what appeared to be spray paint.
“What’s that?” asked Robert, mystified as to his date’s intentions yet again.
Fern didn’t answer, simply flashing him a wicked smile. She marched forward, shaking the can with a series of clacks as Robert stood by in stunned silence.
When she reached the door, Fern pressed a finger to the valve, spraying the word “Murderers” over the glass entryway of the swanky establishment. Stepping back, she smiled with satisfaction, clearly admiring her handiwork.
Two suited men hustled out the door, their astonished gazes darting from Fern to the graffiti on the entrance to the restaurant. One of them pulled out a cell phone, dialing 911. The other approached Fern slowly, hands outstretched.
“Ma’am?” he began, eying the can of paint in her hand suspiciously. “Did you do that?”
“You’re damn right I did. Do you work for those killers?”
“I do,” he confirmed. “Now give me the paint.”
“Please. Don’t make this any more difficult. All I’m asking is that you give me the can of paint.”
Fern raised the can and let loose a blast of red paint that struck him directly in the chest. She waved the can from side to side, coating his reaching hands in viscous scarlet. “Maybe that’ll help you see the blood on your hands,” she quipped as the man reeled backward.
Robert snapped his hanging jaw shut, running forward to stop things before they went any further. “Please! Please! I’m so sorry. We’ll just leave immediately. I’ll pay the cost of any cleanup. I’m so sorry!”
Fern glared at him. “The hell you’ll pay for cleanup! It’s the least these bastards deserve!”
Robert had had enough. Turning toward his date, he set his jaw. He lunged for Fern’s paint, tearing the can from her grasp. He turned toward the others, fully intending to talk them down, but the paint-covered man jumped on him, riding him to the ground. Robert struggled under the man’s weight, but the second man attacked as well, pinning his hands to the sidewalk.
As Robert strained against the two men, he heard an approaching siren. It grew closer and closer until the sharp screech of tires informed him that the police had arrived.
Robert felt strong hands flip him onto his stomach, then tug his arms behind him. Chill steel clicked over his wrists before he was pulled roughly to his feet. Robert cast about frantically for Fern, but there was no longer any sign of his date.
He craned his neck, giving the police officer a wild-eyed, imploring glance as he was walked to the waiting squad car. “It wasn’t me, officer! It was my date!”
“Save it for the judge, buddy,” said the cop, shoving Robert inside the car.
Robert leaned forward, thudding his forehead on the plexiglass divider. As the car began to pull away, he saw Fern walking down the sidewalk. Looking up as he passed by, she smirked, then flipped him the bird.