Bad Date Brad: A short story

Hello there, Whim readers! This week I promised my editor that I’d write some interesting prose for you. I searched through tons of writers journals and files to find just the right fit. So this week enjoy reading the story of a girl whose name I’ll keep anonymous, and her horrible date with a guy who we’ll call “Brad”. My, I mean, HER misery is your entertainment.

Graphic by Katie Gibson.
Brad, ready for his date. Graphic by Katie Gibson.

I was working in the call center that day when he came up to me.
“Hi, I’m Brad, but uh, my friends call me ‘B’,” He said to me, while I was in the middle of explaining to a customer that a VCR is not a satellite receiver.
“Hi, Brian,” I replied quickly, trying to give the impression that now wasn’t a good time.
“Look I know you’re busy,” he said, “But I wanted to know if you wanted to go out to dinner sometime this week?”
I just stared back at him in shock for a minute or so. I didn’t really know what to say. I don’t want to sound like a snob but this guy was not even remotely my type. Still, he could carry on a decent conversation and I had been in a dating dry spell for a few months. I decided I’d give him a shot. “What’s the worst that could happen?” I thought to myself. Boy was I in for a nice surprise.
“Uh, yeah sure,” I said, scribbling my number on a Post-It.

That was the last I heard of him that day, although my friend Allie told me he had bragged about finally getting my “digits,” Red flag number one.
He called that night…repeatedly. I finally picked up the phone on the third consecutive call.
“Uh hey, it’s B. From work.”
“Yeah, hi. What’s up?”
There was a long awkward silence. “So where do you want to go on our date?”
Red flag number two and here’s why: I was always taught that when a guy asks you out, he should be the one to do some research and figure out where to take you. I gave him the benefit of the doubt and decided to throw out a few hints. This is before I knew that guys don’t get subtlety.
“Oh. Um. I don’t know. I like seafood.”
“Seafood, yeah that sounds cool but Red Lobster is a little out of my price range.”
Red flag number three: I knew he had a well paying job.We worked at the same place. I was on a lower salary bracket and could still afford to take a friend out every now and then. I know it may not sound like it, but I’m pretty low maintenance. My first date with my current significant other cost a pitcher of beer and a couple rounds of pool. We’ve been together for four years and counting now. It’s not about the “Price Tag” as Jessie J would say. Still, I had to admire his honesty.
“Well, there are a few other things out there,” I said. “I love Chinese food too.”
“Anything you don’t like?” he asked. Good question Brad; maybe this won’t be so awful. Maybe I was being a bit too judgmental.
“Mexican food and pizza,” I said.
“Pizza?! Who doesn’t like pizza?” He had a valid point. Even genetically mutated turtles like pizza.
“I mean, it’s not awful. I just worked at a pizza place forever and I’m kind of sick of it,” I said, trying not to sound like a spoiled brat.
He laughed “Okay, no pizza and no Mexican food. I can go from there. How’s Wednesday at 7?”
Wednesday was karaoke night, always. I was not in the habit of blowing off my friends and I’d already promised them I would go. Karaoke started at ten, if the date went well he could come with. If not, I could get some awkward first date tension out in song.
“Wednesday at seven it is. I’ve got some plans with friends at ten, where should I meet you?” I did this for my own safety. Meeting someone with my own mode of transportation was safer than riding in a car with someone who was essentially a stranger. Trust your instincts ladies; they could save your life.
“Starbucks? Do you like coffee?” He was a little tentative, perhaps my tone sounded as harsh as my mental judgment
“Coffee is the magic word,” I said. We hung up. Wednesday at 7p.m. was going to be the first date I’d been on in a while and I hoped it would turn out well.
The week passed pretty quickly and soon Wednesday evening had arrived. He had called again at six to find out my drink order. This guy was gradually getting more credit from me. Maybe he wasn’t as bad as I originally thought. I mean, people put so much stock into a first impression, maybe he just cracked under the pressure. I chose a comfy blue armchair to sit in as he handed me my coffee. He sat down slowly and stared at me. Then, he leaned back, slung one arm over the top of his chair and said with a smirk:

“So, what do you want to know about me?” Red flag number four…this was going to be a long night.

Like where this is going? Stay tuned next week for part two!