Prompt Day #146: Scenario: Your narrator is having a dinner date with a reformed cannibal, and doesn’t realize it until…
I had reservations about using Tinder to meet someone. I’d heard it’s mostly used to set up sexual encounters and I wasn’t necessarily looking for that. But then I met Wayne. He seemed great and we had a lot in common. We agreed to meet for dinner and he let me choose, adding only that he really did not like sushi. Sushi was my go-to. It was quick, in case there was no connection but upscale enough to be great for a nice date. I told him I had no such food particulars so it would be best if he chose. He mentioned this nice rustic little Italian place located halfway between our hometowns; I agreed.
I told him I would meet him there. We joked about my carrying a red rose so he would know me. He said something strange about “how about if you hold a red apple in your mouth” and then he laughed. I really didn’t get it. Like, was he calling me a pig? I blew it off to nervousness and finally decided I would just leave my name with the maître’d.
I was fiddling with my phone when he walked up. “Marla?” he said. I looked up. He was bigger, broader than I had anticipated but very cute. I smiled and stood. He took my hand to kiss it. He tried to be discrete about it but he sniffed it first and then kissed it. Ok, I thought, again a little weird but maybe he liked my perfume.
“Hi Wayne. So good to finally meet you in person.” I said. “I took the liberty of ordering an appetizer” I told him. I wanted to make a couple things clear from the start. I am an independent woman. I don’t need a man to order for me and I am not one of those wishy washy girls who say “oh I don’t know what to get; what are you getting?” Also, I eat meat. I’m hungry and I am not going to order a damn salad. He smiled.
“I like a girl who knows what she wants. What did you order?” He asked, sitting down and tucking his napkin into his shirt like a bib. I cringed inwardly but said nothing about it.
“Beef Carpaccio, is that ok?” I asked, realizing that maybe he wasn’t into any raw foods not just raw fish. He stiffened but licked his lips.
“Yeah, it’s fine. I mean, I love it, I just, well I had some trouble while back and I try to stay away from raw food. Wouldn’t want it flare up again.” He said. I assumed some gallbladder or digestive trouble but dropped it. That was not a subject I wanted to get into on a first date. I changed the subject.
“So, have you been on Tinder for long?” That seemed alright.
“Oh. Yeah, actually, I got on it when it first came out, but I was a little confused. I mean Tinder is a little ambiguous, isn’t it. It sort of implies cooking rather than dating, doesn’t it? When I realized what it was about, I kind of just quit bothering with it. Then, when I was feeling better about things, I started looking at it again, and I found you.” He smiled, reached out for my hand again. I wasn’t sure I was ready for that kind of familiarity but I felt weird ignoring it. I reached my hand out to him. He took it and sniffed it again! The guy was weirding me out.
Just then, the Carpaccio came which gave me an excuse to let go. As soon as the dish was on the table, he was leaning in and sniffing it too. Something seemed to snap and he began devouring the meat like a starving mongrel dog. I know my jaw was dangling open like a fool but I had no words for what was going on. Pink drool dripped down off his chin, staining the white napkin he’d tucked into his shirt. I hazarded a word.
“Wayne? Are you alright?” I said as if he was my child. He looked up at me. His eyes dilated and feral.
“Get out of here” He growled. “I can smell you, it’s your cycle and you order bloody meat? You’re a fucking tease.”
“Wayne, I…” I started. I was confused. Was he mad? Did he think he was a werewolf or something? And how did he know I was on my cycle?
“I’m a cannibal, Ok? I have an almost uncontrollable urge to eat human flesh, female flesh. So soft and tender. It’s like veal.” Wayne got up and started around the table towards me. The other diners were pretending not to notice our strange interaction.
“But, that’s ridiculous. You can control that urge, you aren’t an animal” I begged, now really just trying to buy myself some time. My rational mind said he would never try to attack me right here in the middle of an upscale restaurant, but maybe my rational mind couldn’t see the wildness in Wayne’s eyes.
“It’s the perfect storm, Marla. We were meant to meet this way.” He said nearing closer to me. I was backed up against a chair, I had nowhere else to go. I reached behind me to the empty table and grabbed a steak knife. I couldn’t wait any longer, I forgot about the other diners and stabbed him three quick jabs in the chest. Blood spurted everywhere. He fell to the floor snarling and writhing as if possessed.
I backed away and realized the place had fallen silent. A momentary shocked silence was to be expected but then, one would expect chaos and screams. Instead, they all just stood there watching. Our waitress shuffled out and stopped just short of Wayne’s head.
“Hey Chef, Got one for ya!” She yelled.
“Ma’am, I’ll take some Carpaccio” a middle aged, well-dressed woman said pointing at Wayne’s bloody corpse. The waitress nodded and grabbed out her notepad. The chef and his assistance came out, checked for a pulse, satisfied, they picked him up and carried him into the kitchen.
“Check please” I said and vowed to delete my Tinder account when or better yet, if I got out of there.