Thursday, June 2, 2022

Industrial Fiction: First Date

Snodgrass was sensitive to the possibility that he would appear to be “stalking” Abigail. After giving it some thought, he decided to leave a note under her windshield wiper.

“Hi Abigail:

My name is John Snodgrass. I am the guy who helped you get your car started the other night. I want to buy you a piece of pie and a cup of coffee and get to know you better. My number is 517-775-7503. Send me a text if you are interested”

A couple hours after he estimated she would have left work he got a text “Abigail here. Are you asking me out on a date?”

John thought he had been pretty clear about what he was asking for.

“Yes, I am asking you out on a date”

A minute later “If you are serious, meet me at Hawk Island Dog Park at 8:00. Wear walking shoes”

John got there fifteen minutes early. He saw her faded Ford Escape pull in at precisely 8:00 PM. She parked it near the entrance and opened the rear door. Four large dogs came boiling out of the vehicle.

Abigail was busy attaching leashes to the dogs who were excited but clearly under Abigail’s control. John deduced that this was not the first time they had been here.

John walked around so he was in Abigail’s line-of-sight. She nodded to let him know that she saw him.

“I probably should have asked if you liked dogs” Abigail admitted. She blushed. “Sometimes I am guilty of thinking everybody does.”

“Four dogs!” John said. “Big ones. You must really like dogs.”

“Oh, these are not my dogs. I walk them for their owners and they pay me a little bit of money. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE dogs. This is no job for somebody who doesn’t like them.”

And then Abigail handed him two leashes.

“These guys get along fine. And they do good with the other regulars. It is just that sometimes there is a new dog here who wants to be alpha. If that happens, hang onto their leashes and I will hose the wannabe hero.”

That is when Abigail showed him the canister of pepper-spray attached to her wrist with a velcro band.

Abigail turned out to be quite the chatterbox when she was in her own element. She pointed out various dogs and made pithy observations about them. She talked about what it was like to be in her fourth year of studies in Physics, a field dominated by men.

For his part, John stumbled badly in the conversation. He observed that he was between girl-friends. “You know how it is. When you have a girl-friend it seems like every girl is interested in you but as soon as you break-up they all assume there is something wrong with you.” 

“Actually, I wouldn’t know” Abigail said. It wasn’t said tartly. It was a casual observation of fact, said without guile or innuendo.

“No?” John said.

“Nope. Mom and Pop got me a horse when I was in 6th grade. They figured it would make me less interested in boys and maybe scare off the ones who might be interested in me. In my opinion, their plan worked way too well.”

“I mean I dated a few boys, but it never seemed natural. It was as if there was a rule-book that everybody had read, everybody but me, that is. AWKWARD!” Abigail said.

“So how am I doing?” John asked.

“Four stars” Abigail said without hesitation. “But don’t let it go to your head. You got three stars for just showing up.”

The rest of the date passed with the aimless chatter of two people getting a feel for the other person. She liked country music, he liked ‘70s rhythm and blues. She liked fishing and rodeos. He liked picnics and minor league baseball. She was driven by a laser-like focus to finish her degree. He had been snatched up by a new job assignment that had completely absorbed him.

In a word, they were two sides of the same coin.

Abigail agreed that she would be willing to go on a second date with John if he asked.

John walked on air for the next twenty-four hours. Winning the lottery would not have given him so much joy.

Next Installment


  1. Interesting ERJ. Is this how it is working in the real world now? I literally have no idea. Pretty sure that if I was in a position to date now (I am not, thankfully) I would pretty much manage to mess it up. I have literally no idea what the rules of the road are anymore.

  2. I like the new character. Then again, I like most dogs better than most people so a dog lover is a big plus.

  3. FYI - Eldest son is reading The Goal this summer. He gets it.

  4. It's nice to see good things happening to good people for a change.


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