Too Smart

Prompt: Transformation

Optimus Prime

“Well,” said Sophie, as she and Andrew pushed through the exit doors onto the sidewalk. “That sucked.” It had rained while they were in the theater; now the streets were damp, reflecting the street lights just beginning to twinkle, and the air felt cool and clean.

Andrew took a deep breath. He had a popcorn kernel stuck between molars, and was worrying it with his tongue. “Yeah,” he said. “I was kind of hoping it wouldn’t.”

Their hands brushed as they made their way down the street, and Andrew said, “What part did you hate the most?”

“Oh!” said Sophie. She took his hand. “The plot made no sense, had no logic, I had no idea why they were doing what they were doing. And obvious giant holes–”

“There was a plot?” said Andrew. “Hey, Subway or Chinese buffet?”

“Oooh red ribs,” said Sophie.

“Every sandwich at Subway tastes the same,” said Andrew. “Meatball sandwich tastes the same as tuna salad. How to they do that?”

“Molecular gastronomy?”

“Heh. Anyway now I’m hungry.”

Once their plates were stacked high with glossy proteins and shrimp fried rice, they sat at a booth with red leatherette bench seats. Sophie struggled with the provided chopsticks, while Andrew went straight for the fork.

“You pick the movie next time,” Andrew said.

“I want to see the Wuthering Heights remake.”


“You might like it. It has a plot.”

Andrew laughed. And felt a  little doubt nibbling at the back of his neck, like a puppy with sharp teeth.

Sophie felt it too.

They found out, that evening, that both of their mothers had new boyfriends, and that both boyfriends could have been a lot worse. In fact, had been a lot worse.

“The worst was Tim,” Sophie said. “Always staring at me. Always moving in a little too close. Ugh. I called him Timothy Leery.”

Andrew felt a joke had just whooshed over his head. He did his half-laugh, half-snort, which usually sufficed.

Sophie turned out the leaves from the cup that had held her green tea. “Look, a map of Italy,” she said. “Yay. I’ve never been, have you?”

“Went to an Italian wedding once,” Andrew said. “Do my leaves.”

“It’s Optimus Prime!” said Sophie, giggling.

“It looks nothing like Optimus Prime. It looks like a dog.”

“Ok, a dog.”

“As first dates go, this was a pretty good one,” Sophie said as they walked towards Andrew’s granddad’s taxi, which he had lent them for the evening. The skies were clear and full of stars.

“I haven’t had a lot,” Andrew confessed.

“What did you like about this one?”

“You are funny. And smart.”

“Too smart?” asked Sophie.

“No,” Andrew said, and half-laughed, half-snorted. It usually sufficed.


First Date

Prompt: Fork


Email to: Hammond
Email from: Jessica

Dear Hammond,

Thank you very much for a wonderful dinner, which you paid for, after declining my offer to share, twice. I hope, if we go out to dinner again, that you will allow me pick up the tab. Or perhaps, if you feel it isn’t too forward, and if you take to heart some of the points in this email, I could cook a modest but tasty meal for you in my apartment, some time next week.

I always think that when dating someone for the first time, it would be nice to get feedback. How else can we better ourselves, learn how to best present to a new acquaintance, so that they are attracted to us and not repelled?

First impressions are important. You chose to wear a golf shirt, which while colourful, seemed just a tad too casual for the restaurant; and I wore a dress, which made us unmatched in terms of formality, which makes for an awkward start. I’m not suggesting a tuxedo or anything silly! But perhaps an actual shirt, even madras, instead of a polo shirt, unless we are chain/franchise dining?

You were there ahead of me and stood to introduce yourself: points for both, though you did almost knock over your drink. Nervousness is nothing to be ashamed of, but the drink looked to be mostly finished? Already? An initial compliment– nice dress, you look better in person, etc. would not have gone amiss. As for your height, that can’t be changed, so it is perfectly fine.

Grooming: C+

They say a great test of character is the way someone treats servants and animals. No complaints there, although you could have spent a little less time chatting with “Jeremy” about the finals, as if you were old pals. The friendly rivalry, which extended through the entrees and into dessert, got a little tedious from my standpoint, as I don’t follow hockey, and only ever watch for the half-time shows.

Your order for steak “blood rare” was a wee bit graphic, but as I’m a nurse I was not sickened, but someone not in the medical profession might have found it off-putting.

I did not appreciate the intimacy of your helping yourself to one of my new potatoes.

Hammond, you grip your fork as if you are opening a car door. It is best to let it rest in your hand, open side up, and use the knife to encourage food to stay put until it gets to your mouth. This is not a deal-breaker, as it is behaviour that is easily corrected.

As for your dog, Chunky, as I referenced above, it is a positive sign to be attached to and affectionate towards lesser creatures. But it was almost as if Chunky was at the table with us, he was so prevalent in your conversation. Perhaps he was hiding under the table waiting for scraps? (Just a little joke.) I get that Chunky can multi-task, that he lost his tail in a fishing incident, and that you need to search him daily for ticks. All fascinating stuff, Hammond, but there are other topics of conversation!

You stayed away from the subjects of politics and religion, but I’m not sure that was a courtesy or because you are not well-versed in those areas.

When I returned from the Ladies’ Room before dessert you were on your cellphone. I refrained from asking to whom you were talking, but chose to wait patiently for the call to finish. I would avoid cellphone conversations or texting, as it implies either 1) an uncontrollable desire to share some or all parts of the evening with a friend, which is suspicious, or 2) boredom, neither of which is particularly flattering.

Your joke, during dessert, about the frost-bitten preacher was more appropriate for a second, or even third date.

In future, or with other dates, I advise that you not take a giant scoop of your pie with cream and wave it in front of my face as if it was a plane coming in for a landing (presumably in my mouth). If I want to try your dessert, I will delicately hint so.

By then you had consumed several alcoholic beverages, namely rum and coke, for which you seem to have a rather low tolerance. I would definitely assess your behaviour in this regard.

Thankfully, you were taking a taxi home, as you’d seen a television commercial about a dog waiting futilely for his master, who was killed in a drunk driving accident, to come home. Chunky again, in other words.

If I can compete with Chunky I would, as I originally stated, be open to another engagement. I make a vegetarian chili which is very popular among my friends; my other specialty is potato pizza. I know you are fond of potatoes.

Of course your feedback on our first date would be welcome, but not necessary.

Sincerely and with a hug,



Email to: Jessica
Email from: Hammond

Dear Jessica:

Nice dress+
Nice cleavage+
You don’t follow hockey-
KInd eyes+
Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people.
You’re a nurse?+
Tim Horton 2 for 1 coupon (me)+ Thursday?


P.S. Chunky was under the table.



Text to: Hammond
Text from: Jessica

See u Thursday. xx