“That was just an appetizer, wait for the main dish!” said the old man, his eyes wide as he proceeded to manually dislocate his own jaw.
Chuck stared at the senior citizen seated across from him, his jaw hanging limply down to where his chin should be. He no longer ranked this date as his fourth worst yet, it was now comfortably resting its cane in third place. The evening wasted with Susanne, during which she spent the entire time discussing the death of her husband—which had not yet happened—no longer seemed as terrible as Sarah and his dislocated jaw.
To be fair, the date itself never actually started off very well. The moment he set his eyes on Sarah, her loose, wrinkly skin dancing softly as he limped over to the table, Chuck realized he’d made a mistake. For starters, Sarah looked absolutely nothing like his photos online. The long, golden hair; the deep, auburn eyes; the beautiful, feminine curve of her chin; he bore almost no resemblance to what Chuck had grown fond of. In fact, he had actually been a female online. The only similarity shared between Sarah and his online persona was the skin-tight, black dress he wore. Only, in reality, it was significantly less flattering, and more like a roll of duct tape wrapped haphazardly over a decaying slab of meat. It was definitely worse than the evening with Susanne.
Chuck wanted to leave, in fact he’d wanted to from the minute Sarah walked up. Yet, for some reason, he actually felt a bit bad for him. Chuck figured a quick dinner wouldn’t kill him.
“Mmmhffgm,” Sarah said, his jaw wiggling limply like a warm hotdog in the hands of a Parkinson’s sufferer.
“What?” Chuck said. He’d never had to tell someone that he couldn’t understand them due to the fact that their jaw had been dislocated. He decided now would not be the time he ruined that streak.
The old man grabbed his jaw and popped it back into place.
“Sorry,” he said. “I always forget about that. I said you had nice legs.”
“Thanks,” Chuck said, crossing his legs and pulling them as close to his own chair as possible. There was no way Sarah could see them, considering they were buried deep beneath the stained, white tablecloth, but keeping them nearby made him feel safer.
“Wouldn’t mind to give them a lick,” Sarah said, winking. He had been significantly more docile while they spoke online.
“No thank you,” Chuck said, smiling as politely as he could. It was definitely no longer a fourth worst date, he was glad he’d upgraded it to third place.
“Have I told you about my Colostomy bag?” Sarah said.
“Yes,” Chuck said. He hadn’t actually heard anything about a colostomy bag, but figured the word “colostomy bag” was significantly more than he needed to hear.
“It’s pretty full right now,” Sarah said, pressing his hand down along his left hip. Chuck heard a soft, squishing sound each time he pushed. “Oops, spilled a little.”
“Please stop,” Chuck said.
“Ah,” Sarah said, leaning back. “Here we go, the main couse.” Sarah straightened his hand and began pretending to cut his colostomy bag in half. “Gotta make some room,” he said, laughing.
A tall Latino waiter appeared alongside Chuck, stopping in the middle of the table. He held two plates in his hands.
“Here is the duck,” said the Latino waiter, placing one of the plates in front of Sarah.
“Quack,” said Sarah, poking the marinated mallard in front of him suggestively with his middle finger. He winked at Chuck, and then slowly licked his lips. “Looks wet.”
“And the Greek salad,” the waiter said, leaning over and placing the second plate down in front of Chuck. He hadn’t wanted a Greek salad. In fact, he quite hated Greek salads. He’d initially requested the Chicken Paillard, the waiter scribbling it down in his little, black notebook. Sarah, however, demanded the waiter stop writing and instead write the words “Greek” and “Salad,” because that is what Chuck would be eating. No date of his, he continued, would be eating anything high calorie. Chuck had protested, said it wasn’t a date and that he didn’t like Greek salad, but Sarah had shoved his finger into Chuck’s mouth and then shushed him. He didn’t know how to respond, and therefore did not.
“Looks good,” Sarah said, rubbing his bare toe against Chuck’s knee. He’d definitely been wearing shoes when they’d first arrived, but it seemed he’d somehow misplaced them now.
“Okay,” Chuck said, pulling his leg back even further. He stared down at his Greek salad and sighed.
Chuck’s second worst date had been about a year earlier, with a young Asian immigrant named Chu Nie. She was tall, pretty, and spoke incredibly poor English. The date started off decently, the two of them meeting at a nearby Starbucks and initially hitting it off well. Unfortunately, it quickly spiraled into a rather unenjoyable experience.
Midway through the date, Chu Nie began discussing a rally she had attended the day earlier, which she referred to as a “Jewish Extermination Event,” in her thick accented, broken English. Chuck had initially chalked it up as a translation error, that she simply didn’t pronounce the words right. She’d clearly meant to say “Louis Exterminator Expo.” However, it quickly became clear that she had not attended a conference for exterminators named Louis, but rather a neo-Nazi rally. As a Jewish man, Chuck found this rather unsettling. He explained to her that he, himself, was a Jew, to which she responded by trying to stab him in the heart. It was certainly a terrible date, but its second-place ranking appeared to be at risk.
“Dig in,” Sarah said, grabbing his jaw and abruptly tugging down on it. A disturbingly loud popping sound echoed throughout the relatively upscale restaurant. Chuck closed his eyes as tightly as he could.
Second place. It was now definitely worse than his run-in with the neo-Nazi. At least she hadn’t managed to stab him in the heart, so it wasn’t all bad.
“Mmmghmmhgf?” Sarah mumbled.
Chuck opened his eyes and frantically glanced around the room for the tall, Latino waiter, spotting him in the far corner of the restaurant. He stared at him, making as much eye contact as possible, until he finally acknowledged Chuck and began walking over.
“Can I help you, sir?” the waiter said.
“We’d like the check,” Chuck said.
“Yes, sir. Is everything all right?”
“Yes, everything is delicious. Check, please.” He didn’t feel as though he needed to expand on the fact that the man in front of him had just finished playing with his colostomy bag.
“Right away,” the waiter said, turning around and heading back toward the kitchen.
“Mmh hhmf pfhm,” Sarah said. He then lifted his hand to his jaw and popping it back into place. “I mean, such a rush,” he said, winking.
“Yeah,” Chuck said, staring at the back of the waiter, who was punching something into the register outside of the kitchen.
“You have beautiful eyes,” Sarah said.
“Okay,” Chuck said, glancing frantically toward the waiter. He was on his way back now, black book in hand.
“Here you go, sir, whenever you’re ready,” the waiter said, dropping the book in front of Chuck.
Chuck placed his hand inside of his right front pocket and dug for his wallet. He didn’t mind paying for the meal if it meant getting out of there a little bit sooner, even though Sarah had bought the most expensive thing on the menu and then proceeded only to play with it. He grabbed his wallet and pulled it out of his pocket, just as Sarah removed his own.
“I’ll take care of this one, beautiful,” Sarah said, smiling. “You get the next one.” He opened his wallet and pulled out several colorful bills. Chuck wasn’t exactly an avid board game player, but recognized them as Monopoly money. Sarah shoved each one individually into the black book without so much as a glance at the actual check.
“Right,” Chuck said, shaking his head. He put his own wallet back in his pocket and raised his hand to signal the waiter. Sarah had returned his attention to his duck, licking the outside of it as if it were a melting ice cream cone. It was definitely in second-place for worst date.
Sarah again dislocated his jaw, then grabbed the duck and hoisted it into the air, the dark, brown sauce dripping off of it and onto his plate, hands, and pants. He turned it over and studied it, then slowly inserted it into his limp, dangling jaw, slipping it in like a plug into an outlet.
“Waiter,” Chuck shouted, holding the black book in the air. The tall, Latino waiter turned around and began walking over.
“Thank you,” the waiter said, opening the book and glancing inside. He removed one of the colorful pieces of paper Sarah had placed within, a blue $10 bill, and studied it. “I’m afraid we don’t accept this here.”
“Mmf pffm hmfm,” Sarah shouted, banging his moistened fist down on the table, half a duck hanging from his dislocated jaw.
“What?” said the waiter, his head tilted to the left.
Sarah pulled the duck out of his throat, gagging slightly as it slid out, and shoved his jaw back into place.
“I said, ‘why the fuck not’!”
“It is Monopoly money, sir. We don’t accept fake money here.”
“It’s as real as any other dollar,” Sarah said, spitting flakes of duck as he spoke.
“We cannot accept this.”
“Fine, “Sarah said. “My beautiful date will have to handle this. She’ll pay, she’s a modern woman. At least she eats like one.”
Chuck hadn’t been called a modern woman before and was not sure whether he should be offended about “eating like one.” On one hand, it was nice to be modern. On the other, it was incredibly offensive and unbelievably rude, considering he was neither a woman, nor–if he had been–would it be a polite thing to say. He decided to go with the “offended” route. Still, he didn’t feel it was worth arguing over. With any luck, he’d be out of the restaurant in a few minutes.
Chuck sighed and plunged his hand back into his pocket, then pulled out his wallet. He grabbed two $50 dollar bills and blindly handed them to the waiter.
“That’s a good girl,” Sarah said, wiping duck juice off his chin with the back of his hand.
“Thank you, sir,” the waiter said. “Do you want change?”
“No,” Chuck said, rising to his feet. Sarah lightly pinched his leg with his toe as he stood, like an infant fruitlessly opening and closing its hand as it reached for something far away.
“Wait,” Sarah said, also standing up. “I need a lift. My colostomy bag sprung a leak.” A dark, brown liquid was seeping out from beneath his skintight, black dress. He rubbed his finger through the stream and showed it to Chuck. “I think it happened when I was poking it. You’ll have to change it.” He said, flinging some of the liquid directly onto Chuck’s arm.
Chuck’s worst date had been way back in college, during his freshman year. He’d agreed to go out on a blind date with a girl named Rebecca that had been arranged by a fraternity he was pledging for. They assured him she was beautiful and promiscuous, and that she had a crush on Chuck. He naively agreed.
They met a day later at the fraternity house, Chuck already slightly drunk in an attempt to calm his nerves. One of the more senior brothers, Carl, went to pick up Rebecca and bring her over. However, like Sarah, she did not quite live up to expectations. Chuck quickly discovered Rebecca was actually a duck that had been fed an unhealthy amount of laxatives. Before Chuck was able to make sense of what was going on, he had been pinned down, with an incredibly un-constipated duck hovering inches from his head. He did not get accepted into the fraternity, nor did he feel that a duck shitting all over him while his “friends” watched was his first-worst date anymore.
“No,” Chuck said. “That’s okay.”
“Also, I am going to need to stay over for a day or ten,” Sarah said. “I don’t have a home, but I do know where you live.”
“No,” Chuck repeated. “Really, that’s fine.”
“And for the record, I’m a vegetarian,” Sarah said, mouth still filled with duck. “So that means no meat for breakfasts. Eggs are fine.”
“No,” Chuck repeated. He turned and began walking toward the door. Sarah grabbed his hand, his palm slippery with saliva, duck juice, and—more than likely—the contents of his colostomy bag. Chuck turned around.
“Yes,” Sarah said, the wrinkles of his skin disturbingly deep, each one filled with some sort of unknown substance. “I’m going to live with you for a little. Not long, maybe a few months.” Sarah paused. “It’ll be hot,” he said, licking his lips. “You’ll love it.”
“That’s okay,” Chuck said, wiggling his hand free from Sarah’s duck-marinade grip. He turned and quickly began walking toward the exit, briefly making eye contact with the obviously confused waiter. Sarah’s hand slapped down on Chuck’s shoulder, gripping it and forcing him to spin around toward Sarah.
“This will convince you,” he said, manually dislocating his jaw and pulling Chuck in before he had time to resist. His inhumanly wide lips wrapped around his chin and nose, his tongue slipping against half of Chuck’s face. The date certainly had a comfortable lead now on second and third place.
Writing Prompt: “That was just an appetizer.” Said the old man, wide-eyed, as he proceeded to manually dislocate his own jaw. “Now, for the main dish!”