“You look lovely this evening.” JP said.
Myra blushed, “Why thank you sir, you are such a gentleman.” She hated to admit it but she was a little bit impressed. Myra and JP had met on line. This was their first date and she liked it so far. She took his hand and they walked to his car, a 1973 Ford Pinto Runabout two door hatchback. She paused, looking at it.
“Come on,” he urged her.
The car was beautiful, the dark blue paint gleamed and there wasn’t a ding or a scratch to be seen anywhere on the body. “Is it safe?” Myra asked.
“Of course it’s safe. Why?”
“Well, it’s a Pinto. They were designed to explode on impact. One of the most dangerous cars ever made.”
“Not this one,” JP assured her. “I bought this from an estate sale. An elderly lady had kept it parked in her garage for years. Her husband was killed three months after he bought it new. She didn’t drive, so it just sat. When she passed away, the car went up for sale and I was lucky enough to get it. It had less than 5000 miles on the clock.
“I had to do quite a bit of work to get it roadworthy again, so while I was at it, I reinforced the rear end to eliminate the possibility of a fiery death. The paint is all original though.”
“OK, then. This could be fun. I like a bit of danger, just as long as it’s safe.” She smiled, they both laughed and JP opened the passenger door for her. He leaned in and tossed a beach towel from the passenger seat into the back. He held her finger tips as she slid neatly into the car, then shut the door and went around to the driver’s seat.
The engine purred as they pulled away from the curb. “I hope you like French food,” he said, “I thought we could check out that new restaurant on Timberline Drive, Chez ma Cousine.”
Dinner was spectacular. He ordered them both Kir Royale as an aperitif, and they both chose French Onion Soup to start. She was beautiful and smart. He was witty and smooth, entertaining Myra with clever conversation. When she asked, he explained a Kir Royale as, “A bit of crème de cassis topped off with the captive laughter of French maidens.” As they sipped their soup he quipped, “You know, in France, they don’t call this French Onion Soup?”
“No, just – Onion Soup.”
The rest of the evening went perfectly and they began to fall under each other’s spell. There was a mutual chemistry, an attraction or a magnetism. Maybe they were falling in love. Neither of them wanted the evening to end. When they walked up to her front door she lowered her eyes and shyly invited him in for a nightcap, “I don’t have Champagne,” she said, “Would a Bud Light do?” Myra swung the door open and he followed her inside.
He sneezed once before the lights even came on and when they did he saw four cats lounging on the sofa. “Oh shit,” JP said. “You have cats! I’m allergic to cats.” Then the sneezing began in earnest. Eight sneezes in a row and when he looked up again his eyes were red and watering, his face was beginning to swell. There was a large splotch forming on his neck. “I have to get to the ER fast.” He spun out the front door and sprinted to his car. Rubber burned as he disappeared into the warm, dark night.
Myra stood on the porch breathing the acrid smell of his tires and watched his taillights until they swerved out of sight around the corner. He never called.
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