Friday 22 April 2011

Friday Flash - Blind Date

So there I am, sitting in the back of the taxi with the cute brunette. She keeps fiddling with the strap of her bag, and I resist the urge to put my hand on her knee. I thought I was dreaming when she came up to me by the pool. Normally I have to buy a chick a few drinks before she’s so bold. Not little Daphne. Of course, she wasn’t talking to me for her. No, she figured her mistress would like me. You know the type - shy divorcee, too scared to approach a guy herself, so gets a companion to do it for her. Well, I’ve been scamming old broads along the coast for four years - what was one more?

“My mistress is a powerful woman. She is do you say...eccentric,” says Daphne.

“You mean she’s rich?” She’d better be - Armani suits don’t come cheap, and regular work just doesn’t do it for me.

“If you prefer.” Daphne forces a smile.

“That’s cool, I dig an eccentric chick.”

“Good. In that event, she would prefer you to wear this.”

Daphne draws a length of black silk from her bag. A damn blindfold.

“Whoa, she’s kinky?”

“No, she would simply have you judge her on her conversation.”

“Hey, I’m cool with that.”

You always have to play along with them. It lets them think they’re in control, which makes my life a whole heap easier. I put on the blindfold as the taxi turns down the track towards the beach.

The road slopes downhill, and the air coming through the open window feels colder. The breeze smells strange, but I just figure the fishing boats must be heading back in. The taxi lurches to a stop, and Daphne grabs my shoulder before I headbutt the driver’s seat. She helps me out of the car and pays the driver. The taxi pulls away as she leads me along the track. I stumble up a couple of steps, and I figure we’re inside when the temperature drops again.

Daphne leads me down a passage, and down a flight of stairs. That’s weird - how many people live in the basement? This chick must really be a whack job. She’d better be loaded after this. I notice that smell again. I’m about to say something to Daphne when the most beautiful voice interrupts me.

“You have arrived. I am pleased.”

I smile in what I hope is the woman’s direction. Her voice echoes and I’m guessing there’s a whole heap of marble in here. I smile again, but this time it’s for me. Marble isn’t cheap.

“Would you care for refreshments?” she asks. Her English is good for a Greek broad. Good, but stilted. It’s that voice though. She sounds like that actress - Kathleen Turner. Call me a fool, but I was always a sucker for her voice.

Daphne takes my arm and leads me after the woman. I realise I don’t even know her name. I figure I’ll just make up some pet name. Daphne sits me on a sofa and presses a wine glass into my hand.

“Would you care for something to eat?” asks my date.

“I’m good with the wine for now.”

“As you wish.”

I hear the slow, steady drip of water somewhere off to my right. It echoes – this room must be huge. I wonder if the old dame has installed an indoor fountain or something. I get an itch under the blindfold. I slip my finger underneath to scratch my eyebrow. A hissing sound starts in front of me.

“What the hell’s that?”

“What is what?” asks my date.

“That hissing noise.”

“I hear no noise.”

I drop my hand back to my lap and the hissing stops. Weird. I hope she’s not so much of a whack job that she has pet snakes. If there’s one thing I don’t like, it’s snakes.

“So...darling...can I take this blindfold off now?”I ask. It’s making my face sweat and I’m starting to feel uncomfortable.

“I would prefer that you did not.”

“Why? I mean, I’ve come all the way down here, I’d like to see how beautiful my date is for myself,” I say. I’m flattering her now – I just want to make sure she’s not one of those hideous chicks. Not that it would stop me if she was, it just makes this sweeter if she’s attractive.

“Beauty – it is only skin deep, Christopher,” says my date.

Wow, I can hear her gritting her teeth. Yeah, she must have fallen out the wrong side of the ugly tree – she’s one of those “oh the real beauty lies within” hippy types. I don’t care – her real beauty is her bank balance. Still, I can’t stop being curious. I pull the blindfold down. Daphne gasps and I lay eyes on my date.

* * *

Medusa sighed. She walked across the cavern to inspect her new statue. The face held a mixture of conceited pride and shock, the hand still clutching the blindfold frozen near the face.

“He is a handsome man, is he not?” asked Medusa. Her snakes hissed in agreement and Daphne nodded. “He will go nicely with the rest of my collection. So is such a pity, but they are always so obsessed with looks.”

She looked over her shoulder. Hundreds of niches carved into the rock wall held statues of all sizes and poses. All of the men, all of them frozen by Medusa’s beauty forever.


Helen A. Howell said...

Ha haa you fooled me! At first I thought her mistress was a vampire, but when you said a hissing noise, I knew I was wrong. Good story, kept me reading to the end.


Mari said...

Excellent! Are you going for a Medusa series, Ms. I?

Anonymous said...

I like how you set up the whole scenario, a bit like a magician. You are looking one way to figure out what's happening, but all of a sudden, the illusion appears and you are wonderfully surprised. Great story, Icy.
Adam B @revhappiness

Anonymous said...

I love the last line. Another killer story, Icy. :)

Okami said...

I think I thought is was Medusa at his thought about her keeping snakes. Wonderful story.

Unknown said...

Don't really pity him much, but I do feel bad for Medusa. That would make it hard to date...

What made this really interesting though was putting a character like her in a modern setting. It felt fresh to me, but also at the same time it felt familiar. I liked how you did that.

Larry Kollar said...

Sounds like he got what he deserved. Great one, Icy!

Sam said...

I thought she was a vampire too to begin with, nice bit of mis-direction here. I also enjoyed that it was Medusa, she's a great character and I haven't seen her featured in stories very often. I loved your MC's descriptions of what he thought the room looked like, from his auditory clues alone. Nice one, Icy!

Chuck Allen said...

I'm with everyone else; I suspected vampire all the way until the hiss. Great description and the narrator's character comes through so easily. I love it!

Anonymous said...

I thought it was something to do with snakes, but I didn't suspect Medusa! Love it! :D

Steve Green said...

A huge slice of just desserts here, guys like him are snakes anyway, so it's probably the best thing that could happern to him.

Nice one Icy.

Icy Sedgwick said...

Helen - I do love a spot of misdirection.

Mari - No, I think this is a one off.

Adam - Fictional prestidigitation!

Danni - Thanks!

Julie - I had to give a way at least a couple of clues.

Michael - No, he's not intended to be pitied. I've always felt sorry for Medusa, turned into a monster by a jealous goddess.

FAR - Yep, he's an odious little man!

Sam - I've always loved Medusa. I think sound is an important factor in fiction - although I usually find smell easier to write.

Chuck - Hehe I don't write vampires so I'm glad people thought that's what this was.

Anna-Mhairi - I actually love snakes, especially pythons. I'd love to know what kind of snakes make up Medusa's hair.

Steve - Nah, that's an insult to snakes. He's just a creep.

Tim VanSant Writes said...

Poor Medusa. I'd have thought she would have better taste in men.

Cathy Olliffe-Webster said...

Icy, you have the man's lascivious voice down pat in this one! And I feel a little sorry for Medusa... she'd have more company if men would just listen to her. Loved it! Your stories just keep getting better and better.

Tony Noland said...

Well done - he goes from being a cold-hearted player to being... cold. I liked the misdirection, too.

John Wiswell said...

With my pun-happy mind, I was imagining a random setup with a blind girl. Your pun, of Medusa wearied by lovers obsessed with "looks," is even better.

Anonymous said...

Ha, love this! I too thought the mistress was a vamp. NICE NICE JOB!

Anonymous said...

You write a male voice very convincingly, Icy. Well written.


Another great one.

Virginia Moffatt said...

Loved this, did not see that twist!

Anonymous said...

Well done! It moved away from the cliche of a zombie, living corpse, vampire, etc. at just the right time. I like he wasn't intended as a meal of some sort, too.


Anonymous said...

Loved the Medusa! At first I thought it was going to be a vampire, but this is really great. And I think he deserved what he got.

Raven Corinn Carluk said...

Ahhh, poor Medusa. Silly man should have listened.

Harry said...

"I smile again, but this time it’s for me. Marble isn’t cheap."

Pricier than he ever imagined.

I had no idea where this was going. Well done Icy!

Reginald Golding said...

Can a short story be a "page turner"? Very engaging, moment to moment, with a fabulous dark turn. Fun read, thanks!

Anonymous said...

Well done! I kept thinking his actual date was going to be Daphne and she was going to turn out to be some hideous thing in a cute brunette disguise. You did a great job of giving all the clues but doing so in such a way as to keep the ending hidden, as if I were blindfolded, too. Loved it!

PJ said...

I wasnt sure what was awaiting our poor man, but I knew it wasn't good. Nice tale, Icy!

Stephen said...

Wow, what an excellent twist. You laid this foreboding sense throughout that something bad was coming, but I never imagined Medusa. Now that I think about it, it makes sense for her to want her lover to be blindfolded. A great story, Icy.

kathrynjankowski said...

Nice setup, neat twist. Well done, Icy!

Anonymous said...

I was going with the vampire theme too, but this was much better and unique - great dialogue too and the guys thinking pattern around his blind date - fab work Icy

Stephen said...

Very well written Icy -

Ticks along at a nice pace with just the right amount of detail. You can't go wrong with some Greek mythology, and I liked the fact our scam artist got his comeuppance, and that Medusa comes across as a nicer character than he does.

If there's one thing I've learned, it's never touch the snakes on a first date.


Joz Varlo said...

Love the whole twist on the Medusa myth. What's a snake-haired goddess to do? But Christopher sounded like a creep, so he got what was coming to him.

Icy Sedgwick said...

Tim - I think by this point she's probably desperate!

Cathy - I've always felt sorry for Medusa - even more so now! Thank God she hasn't discovered Internet dating yet...

Tony - Misdirection is something I've been experimenting with of late. It's quite fun to do. Perhaps I was a vaudevillian stage magician in a previous life.

John - I'm glad to oblige!

Lisa - I'm rubbish with vampires! Greek mythology is, apparently, the way to go.

Al - Thank you!

Virginia - Move over, M. Night Shymalan! Icy's in town!

Dane - I can't help thinking she'd have just fallen on him as soon as he got in the door if he was dinner. Medusa's just lonely.

Storytreasury - Oh yes, he's a horrible little twerp. At least Medusa has taken him out of circulation.

Raven - You have to wonder why she hasn't considered dating an actual blind man yet.

Harry - I'm just glad the misdirection worked!

Reginald - I've got a fairly dark imagination at the best of times!

Rob - Foreshadowing is great fun. Just sprinkling in clues...and yet despite that, I can't write mysteries!

PJ - Thanks!

Stephen - I felt it was time Medusa got a look-in when it comes to fiction. She's only ever a "baddie" in films, which is such a shame.

Kathryn - Thanks!

Brainhaze - Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it - and thank you for the RTs on Twitter!

Stephen - Thank you! I've always loved Medusa, even when I was little. I find it very difficult to see her as a "villain", but then again I'm the kind of girl who grew up wanting to be Maleficent rather than Sleeping Beauty!

Maria - Well you've read my other "Grecian deities intrude on present day" story!! Funny how looks play a big part in both of them...

Timothy P. Remp said...

Wonderful Story. I don't see too many with a Medusa in them.


AidanF said...

I enjoyed the dialogue and voice this story. The comment about having someone judge one on their conversation had a fun meta-level quality to it.

Got me thinking about how people hide the most important thoughts. If Medusa/Daphne revealed why the blindfold was important they might avoid the statue phase of their love. Yet, human nature is to be secretive.

Icy Sedgwick said...

Timothy - I'm glad you liked it.

Aidan - Well I think Medusa HAS to insist on the blindfold since what man in his right mind is going to agree to go on a date with a Gorgon? Due to human curiosity, even if she explained why he needed to keep the blindfold on, he would no doubt take it off anyway "just to make sure". Also, Medusa and Daphne are two separate people.

Jason Coggins said...

A lot of the comments have been directed at the POV character being unsympathetic. I wonder with this tale though of Medusa's inclination. Is she being evil collecting men thus or just acting upon her natural inclinations? Does it make her sad every man peeks or would she have allowed him to live if he had abided by the rules?

Icy Sedgwick said...

Jason - Medusa's just lonely and hoping to find a man. So long as he never removed the blindfold, then yes, he would live. I was hoping to convey that she's sad it's happened again....obviously I didn't manage it.

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