Theo entered the restaurant and walked to a corner booth. “Julie?” He sounded hopeful, which is okay. But hopeful can often be confused with desperate, which is not okay.
“Oh,” said the woman. “Hello.” She sounded disappointed, which is also not okay. But Theo told himself not to read too much into her tone. He always over-thought these things and damnit, he wasn’t going to let his insecurities ruin this date. No, not this date.
“Have you been waiting long? I would have been here sooner but…”
“But you insisted we wait until ‘after sundown.’ I have to admit that’s kind of odd. What, are you a cowboy or something? Have you had your hands full since high-noon?”
“Actually,” said Theo and he paused for a moment. Usually he did not announce this so early into a relationship. Still, insecurities to the wind, right? “Actually, I’m kind of…I’m kind of a Vampire.”
Julie did not look shocked. Not like Diana had, and he had not told Diana until the third date. Diana just kept pressing him to have brunch with her. And a meal between breakfast and lunch, well there would be no way of avoiding daylight there. No, Julie did not look shocked at all, but she did not look pleased either.
“Jesus Christ,” Julie exclaimed, and Theo cringed slightly. Not because of Julie’s overt annoyance, but rather because the thought of the Good Lord’s one begotten son reminded him of crucifixes. And of course, Vampires are not at all fond of crucifixes. “Not again,” Julie continued.
This inspired in Theo quite a bit of confusion. He had not met many Vampires in New York City and he had searched very thoroughly. Indeed, the few he had found were already in relationships, but such is life.
“Do you date Vampires often?”
“No,” said Julie. “Not exactly. It’s just that Hannah always sets me up with Monsters.” Hannah was the mutual friend who had arranged this blind date. Hannah was a plumber and also a lesbian, but that was neither here nor there. “Last week she set me up with an Invisible Man and the bastard stood me up. I have a feeling he was there, he just stayed, you know, invisible. Bastard.”
“I’m sorry,” said Theo and he really was. Not too long ago, he had been stood up himself. As far as he knew his date did not have the power to be invisible, she had simply not shown up.
“And you know,” Julie continued. “If I had blue eyes would Hannah only set me up with blue eyed men? If I had one leg would Hannah only set me up with amputees? But because I’m a Monster she thinks every other Monster would be my perfect match. I am going to have a long talk with her tomorrow. Jesus Christ.”
Theo cringed again, because of the Jesus reference, but also because of Julie’s pessimistic outlook. This was a bad start to be sure, but he was not ready to throw in the towel. “Well,” Theo said and mustered up a very charming smile. “What kind of Monster do you happen to be?”
“I’m a Werewolf.” And it was so matter-of-fact that Theo did not know where to go from there.
“What’s good here?” He asked, hoping to buy some time in which to think of an interesting, Werewolf-related question. Maybe one that would show her some Monsters could be worthy and capable dates.
“The chicken parmesan is pretty good.”
“Then that’s what I’ll have,” Theo said with a little too much enthusiasm. Amiability was the goal, but he feared he came off as desperate. Or worse, a little dim. And then, “So, you’re a Werewolf. How’s that going for you?” Not the most interesting Werewolf-related question to be sure. Theo knew this too, but his nerves had gotten he best of him, and quite possibly reinforced the theory that he was a little dim.
“Uh…” Julie began. But then, oh merciful fate, their waiter arrived.
“May I start you folks off with a drink?”
“Yes, please,” said Julie. “A draft beer.”
“And I’ll have a glass of white wine,” said Theo.
To the kitchen the waiter went, napkin folded over his arm, intent on providing excellent service. His name was Mikey and he had a particularly poor tip haul the evening prior. Tonight he was set on making up for the loss in funds, but that was neither here nor there.
Meanwhile, back at the corner booth, relations had not exactly improved. “White wine, huh? I would have expected red,” said Julie.
“Red? But I told you I was ordering the chicken.”
“Well I just assumed. Since you’re a…”
“Since I’m a Vampire?”
“And blood is red so I must drink red wine? It doesn’t work like that.”
No, relations had not improved much at all. But at least Theo was no longer feeling insecure, for in the wake of such an ignorant question he could not help feeling anything but offended. Rather than laughing it off, rather than taking it like the man he fancied himself to be, Theo decided on a most juvenile form of rebuttal.
“It must be nice to be a Werewolf,” said Theo. “You’re only a Monster once a month.”
“I suppose that’s true,” said Julie.
“Let me ask you, as a female Werewolf, does the full moon sync up with your...you know, your cycle?”
“No,” said Julie sharply. “No, they actually come two weeks apart. Totally opposite.”
Theo did some quick math. It being the first week of March, with the full moon scheduled for the third week…well, if his inappropriate question had not sullied his chances his calculations left little doubt. It would not be that kind of date.
Mikey, the friendly and slightly broke waiter returned with drinks. “Here you are folks, one draft beer and one glass of white wine.” He smiled from ear to ear. “Are you ready to order or would you like a few more minutes?”
Julie requested a few more minutes, leaving Theo slightly miffed as he had decided upon an entrée quite some time ago. Mikey continued to smile, said “No problem at all folks, no problem at all,” and back to the kitchen he went. Of course there was a problem and it was quite obvious to both Theo and Julie. The problem was this: thier blind date was a total bust.
“You know,” Theo said. “Another reason you Werewolves have it easy is that only a silver bullet can kill you. That isn’t so bad really, getting shot with a silver bullet would probably kill just about anyone anyways.”
“Oh,” Julie said. “I think the same holds true for a stake to the heart.”
“Fair enough, but I also have to watch out for crucifixes and garlic. Those are certainly not everyday worries for normal people. And don’t get me started on sunlight.”
Julie just let out a sigh and turned her attention to her draft beer. So, things were not shaping up so well at the corner booth, but Theo and Julie could have fancied themselves lucky, for theirs was not the worst date at the restaurant that evening.
Across the room sat Mr. and Mrs. Rubenstein, a couple 81 and 75 years old respectively. They had not said a word to each other throughout their entire meal and had in fact said but a dozen words to each other in the past week. They would have divorced quite some time ago, but at their age they did not see much point in going through all that hullabaloo. Until one of them kicked the bucket, this is the way life would be, but that was neither here nor there.
Back at the corner booth Mikey had returned to take dinner orders. Theo, as had already been established, ordered the chicken parmesan. Julie ordered the linguine with shrimp and alfredo sauce.
“Excellent choices,” said Mikey. And then, to help boost the nightly haul, “very excellent.”
“Oh,” said Julie as Mikey was about to walk away. “Also, I’d like to start off with some garlic bread. With extra garlic.”
Indeed, thought Theo as Mikey left for the kitchen. It would not be that kind of date. No, it would not be that kind of date at all.