A bad morning at the drive-thru turns into a worse date. For The Writer's Cramp 3/26.
| Despite her sunny name, Daisy was no ray of sunshine. She was a study in opposites, and she supposed the name suited her in an ironic sort of way. Even at twenty-four she looked more like a girl of seventeen going through a goth phase with long raven hair, pale-as-the-moon skin, and a penchant for dark clothing. When people found out her name was Daisy they usually thought she was screwing with them. “C’mon, what’s your real name?” She would wait for the inevitable punchline, “Is it Emily?”
Okay, so she happened to bear a striking resemblance to the book character Emily the Strange, and creative writing was her greatest pleasure, but that didn’t make the joke any funnier. So, she hoped this blind date her older sister Fifi had set her up with was cleverer than that. And she hoped that he could carry a one-sided conversation, seeing as how she currently had no voice. That was a fact she blamed on the broken speaker at the Burger King drive-thru.
Daisy had found herself in desperate need of onion rings that morning. The line had been backed up into the parking lot, but she was determined to get a fast-food fix. After fifteen minutes it was finally her turn to order, only to be greeted by a static squawk that could possibly have been “Go ahead with your order,” or just as easily, “Gore ham in Europa.”
Her face had scrunched in confusion, “What? Europa?” As in the moon of Jupiter? That made zero sense. She felt the itch of growing annoyance as the unintelligible squawk came back at her again.
“NO, poor yoda.”
“THAT’S NOT EVEN A WORD!”
Finally fed up, her throat already raw from shouting, Daisy had given up and driven around. As it turned out, the speaker had been broken all morning. Still, they could post a sign out there or something! The people had a right to know!
They had taken her order at the window, promising onion rings that would be hot and fresh, if only she didn’t mind pulling into a parking space to wait. They would bring them out with their sincerest apologies for the trouble. Grumbling, Daisy had agreed. But to her dismay only one space in the small lot remained open, and another car had been angling toward it. She’d rushed to grab it first, ending up in a stalemate with the other vehicle. Another screaming match ensued, this one far less polite, but in the end Daisy had proved the victor. She’d won the space and gotten her onion rings, but at the cost of her dignity and her vocal cords.
If she never saw another Burger King again it would be too soon.
That hellish experience behind her, she was headed to the bar to meet her date. It would be a good night, Daisy told herself. Meeting someone new, and he would have to do all the talking for a change. She’d even put on a bit of lipstick and a flowy skirt that made her feel deliciously girly. Yes, this would be a success!
Her first sign that she was wrong was catching sight of the young dude wearing a backwards Monster Energy ballcap and cargo shorts. Daisy felt her lip twitch but fiercely told herself not to judge by appearance, since she hated it when people did that to her. She walked up to him and held her hand out, smiling. The guy turned to look at her, eyes going wide.
“Whoa! You’re Daisy??” He ignored her hand, recoiling in surprise even as his eyes shamelessly roamed her figure. “I thought with a name like that you’d be tall and blonde!”
Already feeling impatient, she let her smile persist anyway and handed him a note. He read it aloud slowly, like a child might, “Hi, I’m Daisy. Sorry I can’t speak, I lost my voice earlier. It’s nice to meet you, please tell me about yourself!”
He finished reading and looked at her, busting out in a guffaw, “Well hell! It’s about time I got a date with a girl who can keep quiet! Let’s get you a drink Daisy!” The comment dug at her nerves, and he didn’t wait to ask what she wanted before ordering her a vodka cranberry. “That’s what girls drink, right?”
She slid onto the stool beside him and strapped in for what would turn out to be an hour of Chad telling her about his web site where he sold custom hats and flip-flops for fraternities and fellow “bros”, established March 25, 2002, his “bro-date”. By the end, her jaw had a cramp from how tightly she’d been keeping it clenched. This guy was lucky she couldn’t speak, but her sister would be getting an earful later.
Mercifully, The Chad (as he referred to himself) seemed to tire and wanted to get some food. Fine by her - at least if he was eating his mouth would be too busy to continue with his endless barrage of bro-isms. She could get another drink (or three), making this disaster of a date a little more bearable.
They got in his car, which was an expensive muscle machine she was not at all surprised by. He didn’t feel the need to tell her where they were going, but if he could afford a car like this then the odds were good he could afford one of the nicer restaurants in town. Her hopes heightened slightly as she imagined herself enjoying surf n’ turf while The Chad kept his mouth shut around a steak.
But her hope turned to suspicion and slowly bloomed into outright horror when he made a familiar turn, swinging the car into a small parking lot under the glow of a sign with chunky red lettering on a white background. BURGER KING. Fucking BURGER KING!
If Daisy could have screamed, she would’ve.