THE BLIND DATE –
Bill and Marsha eased into light-hearted, semi-thrilling conversation, and she giggled at some inane comment he made about taquitos vs flautas. She licked her lips. Flirty.
She flushed at her silliness. Of course, he wouldn’t pick up on her visual cues.
He paused in their conversation and took three hard swallows of wine as if he wanted to finish the glass off all at once.
“So, uh,” he stammered, searching for the right away to approach the topic, “why were you so excited when you realized I was blind?”
Her shoulders tensed, waking up the dormant snakes as they sensed her unease. The turban undulated slightly, moving off kilter on her head.
“I have a physical feature that people might find off-putting,” she said, hoping her voice sounded casual and light, like having moving snakes on her head was common, like a crooked nose or a wondering eye.
He placed his hands on his sunglasses, then hesitated a fraction of a second before removing them.
“Look,” he instructed and leaned in closer.
His eyes were golden in color, expanding across the entire eyeball, and his pupils were narrow rectangles. He had goat eyes.
“They’re beautiful,” she murmured.
He leaned back and smiled.
“What’s your unusual characteristic?”
Oh shit. Here it goes. One… two… three.. go…
“I have snakes on top of my head.”
He didn’t recoil, or laugh, or swear. He didn’t claim to not believe her or comment only evil women had snake hair. In fact, he seemed nonplussed, like every other woman in his life had legless reptiles on top of
“Snakes? Like Medusa?”
“May I touch them?”
No one had ever touched her snakes before. The thought made her anxious.
“Yes, but not here.”
They paid their bill, and Marsha drove them to Bill’s apartment for some heavy snake petting.
She could hear her blood swish in her ears as she got out of her car, louder with each step closer to his apartment. She wished she had some gum.
Once inside, all thoughts of strangers touching her reptiles disappeared. Shelves lined the living room, wall to ceiling, with every space occupied by dolls, New Kids On the Block dolls to be exact. Donny, Joe, Danny, Jordan, Jonathan, and even Mark who quit the band after a few months so he could enjoy cocaine instead. The dolls eyes, lifeless glass orbs, stared at her. He led her to a sofa. She bumped into a coffee table, and a New Kids on the Block vase stuffed with dead flowers wobbled.
“Who decorated your apartment?” she asked.
“I did. Ok, maybe not exactly, but I told my sister what I wanted and she put it together.”
A grown man in love with the New Kids on the Block. She had to get out of there.
“The snakes?” he asked gently.
She hesitated. They did have a wonderful dinner, he
respected her rules, and he had eyes like a goat’s. Maybe it’d be OK.
She removed the turban from her head. The snakes waved in the air, happy to have fresh air after being stuffed into the warm head-covering. She guided his hand to them. At first, they recoiled and scooted away from his touch, but as the seconds passed, they relaxed. His hand slid down one of the slender bodies.
“Amazing,” he whispered.
His face was inches from her, his cologne gently drifting in the air. A man was touching her with her snakes loose and free, and he didn’t die.
Screw those New Kids on the Block.
She inched forward, ready to make her move.
A scream shattered the moment. Startled, Bill fell backwards on the sofa. An arm slithered around Marsha’s neck while another pinned her arms behind her back. The screaming continued.
She twisted her body around, desperate to free from the person’s grasp. Whoever it was had a tremendous amount a strength, and it couldn’t be a man because he would have crumbled to the ground, clutching his chest.
The person dragged her into the bathroom. Marsha struggled to get free, trying to dig her heels into the solid floor, but the assailant managed to shove her head into the toilet. She had Marsha pinned down.
It was Marsha’s turn to shriek between gasps of air as she lifted her face out of the water. Each time she was pushed back into the toilet water. If she couldn’t get her head out soon, she’d drowned.
Suddenly, the evil woman was jerked away.
“Tina. TINA! Stop it.”
Bill was yelling at this person, this Tina.
He pushed her aside and took Marsha into his arms.
“Are you OK?”
A bit shaken, but overall, physically OK. Mentally was another story.
“Who is this person who tried to kill me?”
Tina, the wanna-be murderer, sobbed and shrieked, her arms flinging in the air and the occasional foot stomping on the floor, a grown woman sinking into a tantrum.
“My sister Tina. She sometimes stays with me when she’s, uh, between boyfriends,” he rotated to the direction of Tina. “Who is leaving right now. Get out.”
“She’s a monster!” Tina screeched.
“Oh, that’s rich coming from someone who has a lizard tail.”
“Wait, what?” Marsha asked, her curiosity peaked, and the attempted murdered almost forgotten, almost.
Tina flounced at of the bathroom and slammed the apartment door behind her as she left.
He apologized over and over as he helped Marsha to her feet and helped her rinse and towel off her snakes. He left, only to return with a large t-shirt, jogging pants, and a fluffy bathrobe.
“I’m sorry I don’t have anything closer to your size. Would you like to shower?”
“I just want to calm down first.”
They returned to the living room where he sat her on the sofa and brought her a hot cup of tea. Earl gray forgotten, he drew her into his arms, and rubbed the back of her neck. The snakes curled up and went to sleep. She could get used to this.
Maybe the evening wasn’t a complete disaster.
“Will you ever go on another date with me?” he asked.
“Yes. I’m glad I stuck around, despite getting assaulted. You know, I almost left when I saw the New Kids on the Block stuff.”
“Yea, you know your décor.”
“My décor is all horses. I love horses. I rode them as a child as part of a program to help me gain my independence.”
She looked at the dolls that had fallen to the floor during her attack and laughed.
“One of these days, I have something to tell you,” she said as they curled up in each other’s arms, ready to forget the weirdness of the night.