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The International Writers Magazine - Our Tenth Year:

My Date with Britney Spears
Adam Graupe

I stood in the entryway of the Denny’s Restaurant waiting for my blind date Marcy to arrive. She told me on the telephone that she looked like Britney Spears but the name didn’t register with me. This was in 2001 and I was still years behind on pop culture.

"How can you not know who Britney Spears is?" Marcy asked.

I didn’t know much about music and didn’t own a television. I just stood in the entryway of Denny’s hoping someone would walk up to me ask, "Are you Elmer Bull?" Just then a woman walked in with a body shaped like a football and she had a head of long wild hair that stuck out in every which direction. "I’m Marcy, you must be Elmer?"

I debated saying "no" as Marcy’s eyes looked a little bit crazed. It didn’t bother me about how the rest of her looked, but her eyes conveyed a lot of inner disturbance while they darted back and forth. I said I was Elmer.

Our maitre d’ looked like a parolee, and his arms were covered with tattoos of dancing clowns. He sat us down at a booth and asked if we wanted to hear about the special. Marcy said no and he left us with the menus. I wondered if I was supposed to make small talk with her but decided to study the menu as Marcy was moving her lips mouthing the words on the menu.

An ancient looking waiter asked me what I wanted. I told him I’d have the special, not knowing what it was. "With our without bacon?" I hesitated and said, "Without."
Our waiter turned to Marcy and smiled genially, "What can I do for you Ma’am?"
"I’ll have the number four. Oh, and I’ll also have the number two in a to-go container so I can have a meal for tomorrow."

The waiter was non-pulsed that she ordered two meals, and he took our menus and left. Marcy looked me in the eye and said, "What’s your favorite all-time movie?"
"I have no idea," I said.
"Mine is Dirty Dancing!"

Marcy talked nonstop about Dirty Dancing until our waiter reappeared with the three meals. It turned out the special was bacon lettuce and tomato. I ate the lettuce and tomato on a bun and watched Marcy as she ravaged her pancakes, sausages, and eggs. Soon the check arrived and then we were in the parking lot together. I didn’t know how to graciously say goodbye, and I started strolling backward away from her while saying, "well it was nice to meet you and—"
"WAIT!" She shouted hustling toward me with her Styrofoam food container. "I WANT TO SEE YOUR PLACE! YOU CAN TELL A LOT ABOUT A MAN BY HOW HE LIVES!" She was still shouting even though we stood three feet apart.
"I’m sorry but I am starting a new job tomorrow and have to get up early."
It was true. I had a new job working at a receiving dock of a bookstore.

I turned the key to my Ford Festiva and it started. Marcy followed me in her Dodge Omni and I sped off debating the ethics of trying to lose her in traffic. We sped down Interstate 694 and swerved in and out of traffic, but there is a maxim about driving a Ford Festiva: it is impossible to lose someone who is chasing you. We pulled up to my apartment building, and soon we were inside Scorpio Heights, which is a three story affair with carpeting and a broken buzzer in the entryway. I gave her the grand tour of my one room apartment with all of the furniture and belongings: a bed, alarm clock, card table, yellow rotary phone, clothes, and some novels.

Marcy shouted, "DO YOU READ THOSE BOOKS?"

I was about to ask her why she was shouting but instead I yawned and stretched my arms out while saying, "Well I have to go to bed now. I have to get up early tomorrow."
"I don’t know but I want to be well rested."
She leaned her face up to mine and shouted, "YOU CAN KISS ME GOODNIGHT!"
I leaned toward her and she opened her mouth and a smell came out similar to raw sewage. I forced a cough and said, "I’ll walk you to your car." I didn’t want to tell her she had bad breath.
"Never heard of it," I said.
Marcy started shouting the lyrics and someone in the apartment next to mine pounded on the wall and screamed, "SHUT THE HELL UP!"

I walked Marcy to the door and she said "WILL YOU CALL ME LATER TONIGHT?"

I said I was going to be asleep and she left. I set my alarm clock and went to bed. Her shouting voice echoed in my head. Marcy was like a wood tick that was going to latch on to some poor schmuck and drain the life out of him while shouting at him to his dying day. I fell asleep to the sound of traffic on Interstate 694 and awoke an hour later to my phone ringing.

I answered and heard, "I MADE IT HOME OKAY. THANKS FOR CALLING ME AND ASKING IF I MADE IT HOME!" It was Marcy screaming.
"That’s good," I said.

I hung up the phone and then took it back off the hook. I fell back asleep and dreamed that I was two inches tall and lived in silence inside of a water cooler. I just swam and swam and swam and drifted in the water bubbles. I didn’t have to work or deal with the Marcy’s of the world. The water bottle gurgled and I floated up and up with the bubbles. The alarm rang and I showered and shaved and chewed thoughtfully on some toast. I put the phone back on the hook and it instantly started ringing. I picked up the phone thinking it was the bookstore but instead I heard Marcy’s voice, "DID YOU SLEEP OKAY?"

I hung up the phone, ripped out the cord and sped off to my first day on the job. The supervisor of the receiving department of the bookstore was a pill-popping man named Joe who wore dark sunglasses, and the right side of his face twitched often. He said there wasn’t much to the job. You unload the delivery trucks. Something about manifests and checking if all the books are inside the boxes. We drifted lazily through the morning, and I thought I could last a few months on this gig. Then we ran out of books to unpack. Joe said when there was nothing left to unpack we had to stock the shelves of the bookstore.

I followed Joe while he pushed a cart of books onto the sales floor. He reached into his shirt pocket to get a couple of yellow pills and jerked his head back to swallow them. While he did so he crashed the cart into a table of Harry Potter books. We reassembled the display of books on the table, and his face sweated profusely. He stood up and stared off to the right and said, "That woman over there looks just like Britney Spears." He tugged on my arm so I would look at the woman. My entrails froze. It was Marcy looking about with that crazed look on her face. She was looking off to the side so I lifted up the tablecloth of the Harry Potter table, got down on my knees and crawled underneath the table. I heard footsteps approaching and then Joe said, "hi there sexy." A trail of light shone under the tablecloth as it lifted up. Marcy’s face peered one foot from mine.

Marcy eyes blinked, and she shouted, "ELMER IS THAT YOU?"

I didn’t know what to say so I said, "no."

Marcy shouted, "NOBODY PUTS BABY IN THE CORNER!" She dropped the tablecloth, and I listened to her footsteps marching away. I crawled out from under the table and wiped off the dust bunnies. Joe said, "Dude, you know that chick? Why did you blow her off? She is so hot." I didn’t understand what any of it meant, but my relationship with Britney Spears ended then.

© Adam Graupe March 24th 2009
totalratbag at

I have been published in, Midnighttimes, Pen Pusher Magazine, Scars Publications, Nuvein Online Magazine, Ovi Magazine, Burst , and Slow Trains Literary Journal.

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