Penny’s Bad Dates #1 – The Magic Eight Ball

‘Kayso it’s been a cold winter, and my legs look like a weird science experiment — you know the one where Bill Nye or whoever demonstrates the power of static electricity by rubbing a balloon on his head and then lifts it, along with strands of his hair. You know that one, right?

No? Then what about that big glowing ball thing they have at the Science Center that you touch and all your hair stands on end?

How ’bout the one where Bunsen Honeydew straps Beaker to the table and clamps a car battery to his assistant’s nipples and fries the poor bastard while slathering himself with Crisco and chicken feathers while humming the theme to Hawaii Five-O?

You don’t remember that one? Classic Jim Henson.

Speaking of hot nipples…

Have you ever had a hot apple cider with a caramel swizzle stick? Maybe a little shot of Goldschlager in there for good measure?

Well, if you do, beware of men who approach you carrying any kind of toy with them. Particularly if it’s a Magic 8 Ball. Let me regale you, if you’ll indulge me so far, with a story of a bad date involving me and a strangely charming and then not so charmingly strange young man and his Magic 8 Ball.

Picture it — Sicily, 1946.

Now try not to picture Estelle Getty.

Oh dear. Do I need to catch up you cultural troglodytes who have no idea who Estelle Getty is, or why what I just wrote was funny?

Aunt Helena says if you have to explain a joke, it’s not funny, but man, she can suck a cock.

Actually, I cannot verify that last non sequitur. ICK.



You understand I was being dismissive, right? I wasn’t complementing my aunt’s fellatio skills.


Excuse me.

I’m being very diversional. Back to the tale previously in progress, as they say.

Picture it — Hamilton, 2016. The grey slush coats the roads like half-frozen vomit. The grey sky greets you in the morning and leaves mid-afternoon for a grey horizon. Grey clouds threaten to drop grey snow all over your grey lawn. All cats are grey. All the fine white china girls saying ‘ooh baby just you shut your mouth’ have all gone grey since Bowie died. Christian Grey lies dead on your grey sidewalk, beaten to death by grey ladies with grey hair and grey hands wielding great grey dildos.

It’s a lot of fucking grey, is basically the point I’m trying to make.

When into my field of vision at the end of the grey bar is a guy wearing a bright pink tie over a black and white pinstripe shirt and black pants, a fedora tilted back on his head. He looked like he stepped out of a John Hughes movie (and no, not Home Alone, smartasses). Since Aunt Helena makes me watch Ferris Bueller’s Day Off at least sixteen times a day, with breaks only for The Breakfast Club, Pretty in Pink or Sixteen Candles — well, you get the picture. My ideal of male perfection is something between Ducky from Pretty in Pink and Robert Downey Jr. in Less Than Zero. True, not a John Hughes film, but whatever, amirite?

So when this Joe Jackson circa 1980 motherfernado-er shoots me a glance, I got a little bit of a ladyboner in my Calvins.

Actually, I think they were Supergirl Underoos, but you know what I’m sayin’.

Magic 8 Ball. This is a story about a man and his Magic 8 Ball. Remember?

So I was sitting at the bar, swizzling my hot apple cider with a caramel stick, and then sucking on the stick (completely unaware of the Freudian implications) when I noticed Mr “Is She Really Going Out With Him” sitting at the bar and shaking a Magic 8 Ball. Then he looked up, caught my eye, ladyboner, and then he walked up to me and said:

“The stars are aligning for me today.”

No, really. That’s what he said.

“Oh, really?” I said. Was I intrigued?

Um, sort of. But also more than a little weary. I’ve had my brushes with the mentally ill, the mentally impaired, and plain old batshit looney-tunes bizarros, and Hamilton is full of them. I’ve sat right next to people at the food court in the mall while they had full out conversations with themselves. It’s a weird world.

You know how in Batman comics, Harvey Dent a.k.a. Two-Face flips a coin to make his decisions using a binary system of Yes/No, Good/Bad, True/False. It’s down-right Boolean.

I’ll wait while you look up Boolean Algebra.

You back? Coolio.

Well, this dapper Dan (his name ended up being Dan, and how fortuitous was that, amirite?) made his decisions using a Magic 8 Ball. You know. Yes. No. It is decidedly so. Maybe. Ask again later. He consulted it like a pagan crone tossing the bones or runes before a battle, or perhaps like Joseph Smith tossing the Urim and Thummim to see whether polygamy was on the table for his new religion.

Go ahead. Go look up Urim and Thummim in relation to Mormonism. I’ve not got all day, though, so if you just want the short version, ol’ Joe claimed that an angel gave him golden tablets written in an angelic language, and then gave him the Urim and Thummim (mentioned in the Old Testament as being carried by the High Priest of the Israelites) which he then used to translate the angelic script. He described them as special glasses that, when worn, allowed him to translate the text. Of course, later archaeological findings, notably the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, revealed that the Urim and Thummim were more likely divination stones, dark on one side and light on the other, which, when tossed, would offer a response from God as follows: Two dark sides = No, two light sides = Yes, and one dark/one light = Ask again later. Not that this has caused the Church of Latter-Day Saints to collectively smack their foreheads and say “Shit! You mean he made the whole thing up? Well, I guess we’ll all convert to (insert equally absurd belief system here)”. Like I said before. It’s a weird world.

Have I lost/alienated anyone? Oops. Just never underestimate the power of denial, especially when religion is involved.

Take Dan for example (no really, you can have him). He didn’t seem like a weirdo at first. I thought the Magic 8 Ball was kind of cute and eccentric. Hell, I used to know a guy who carried a cane and wore a big top hat with a tag in the hatband that read “In this style 10/6” (which of course I thought was adorable due to my Alice in Wonderland fixation — not in the DSM yet, duckies, but just wait) so I’m not adverse to a little character. In fact, I quite insist on it.

But all night long, whether it was whether he should order another drink, which sauce to get on his chicken wings, up to and including whether he should friend me on Facebook, ask for my number, or try to kiss me, he consulted that damnable Magic 8 Ball.

At the end of the day, I needed no mystical plastic fortune teller made by Mattel to tell me that I should throw this one back in the pond, and find one of those other proverbial fish in the sea with which to flap and writhe with in my riverbed.

That was horrible. Let me try that again.


At the end of the day, I required no runic token to tell me to run and not look back, lest I, like the biblical wife of Lot…

That was going nowhere.

Look, at the end of the day, I gave him Aunt Helena’s phone number and told him I’d look him up on Facebook, which, of course, I have no intention of doing.

I know what you’re thinking, though. Bad date? Hardly. Just a weird encounter.

Just wait, though. I haven’t told you about the bad dream I had that night.

In my dream, at first, I thought I was pregnant — so pregnant, in fact, that I was giving birth. The dude with the Magic 8 Ball was there, and he kept asking my vagina questions.

“It’s crowning!” a voice said from somewhere else in the room, and when I looked down at my ladybits, it indeed appeared like a baby’s head crowning, pushing it’s way out into the world. But instead of a human head, it was a perfectly smooth black sphere, like the unblinking eye of Sauron from those awful Lord of the Rings movies.

Dan, he of the predilection for consulting the Magic 8 Ball, grabbed my hips and started shaking me, screaming at the black sphere protruding from my vagina.

“Am I gonna get laid tonight?” he asked.

Setting me down, he put his face down close enough to be considered foreplay and awaited the response of the oracle sticking halfway out of my most precious of orifices.

“OUTLOOK NOT SO GOOD,” read the message from betwixt my labia.

“Best two out of three?” Dan asked, shooting me a hopeful look.

“Very doubtful,” I replied. “Don’t count on it. My sources say no.”

Then my dream changed into this recurring dream I have about falling down a rabbit hole and landing in a world where Donald Trump is president of the United States and Canada is suddenly full of American refugees who have trouble acclimating to our disinclination toward violence and our use of the metric system, not to mention our downright socialist leanings when it comes to healthcare and education, and I woke up screaming something about the letter U, Marshall McLuhan and how Tommy Douglas should be posthumously knighted, and Aunt Helena came into my room looking terribly worried.

“There’s some guy on the phone, darling.”

She really does call me — and everyone — darling. I shit you not.

“Anyone I know?” I asked, shaking the nightmare off.

“I don’t know,” she said. “I keep asking him questions and he just keeps giving me strange answers like ‘Ask again later’ or ‘It is decidedly so’. What kind of whackos are you hanging out with?”

“Hang up the phone,” I groaned.

“He’ll just call back.”

“Maybe,” I admitted. “But it might take him a few shakes before he makes that decision. If he does call back, just keep asking him questions. That should keep him — and you — busy for a couple of hours while I get some more sleep.”

“Like I’ve got nothing better to do.”

“Please,” I sighed, and buried my head back into my pillow. “I’ve seen you call up an infomercial hotline and chat with the operator for 45 minutes and not order anything. Trust me — you’ve got nothing better to do.”

“It was an online psychic, and it was nowhere near 45 minutes. Besides, I’m a married woman now. I have much better things to do.”

“Fine,” I grumbled. “Gimme the phone.”

“That’s more reasonable that I expected from you,” Aunt Helena said.

“Oh, it’s not reason I lack, dear Helena,” I said, channelling The Bride from Kill Bill, “it’s mercy. Well, mostly mercy. I also lack shame, self-consciousness and propriety.

At this point I reluctantly grabbed the phone and put on a big, toothy, shit-eating grin.

“Hello, Bob? Oh, I’m sorry, Dan.

“Yeah, I know, crazy, right? So weird that I gave you the wrong number.

“Hey, look, so, here’s the thing — I have herpes. Is that gonna be a problem?

“Uh huh. Oh, I see. Decidedly so, huh? Gee, that’s too bad, Bob. Well, you’re quite the catch.

“Uh huh. Yes, plenty of fish in the sea, Bob. Sorry, Dan. Uh huh.

“No, completely incurable, Bob.

“Rodeo clowns.

“Yes, plural. Well, you know rodeo clowns, Bob. They’re outdoorsy. They’ve got a great sense of humour. What woman doesn’t go for that, amirite?

“Okay Bob. You, too.

“No, I’m not lying, Bob. I’ve got pustules in places you don’t wanna know about. Here, I’ll send you a picture.”

It was at this point, I fear, that my dear Aunt Helena took the phone from me.

“Hello?” she said, only to be greeted with silence.

“Oh, yeah, he hung up a while ago. But you stood there and listened to me ramble. What was that about having better things to do again?”


“Yeah, I thought so.”

“You,” Helena said, turning to leave, “are a crazy person.”

“That,” I laughed, “is terribly dismissive. There is a fine line between genius and madness, and I… I walk the line.”

Now would have been a good time for me to try out a Johnny Cash impression, but I was fucking tired, okay, so give me a break.

Just, you know…. leave me alone.

I’m done now.

You can all go back to your lives now.

Nothing to see here.

Move along.

These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.






3 responses to “Penny’s Bad Dates #1 – The Magic Eight Ball

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