The Dating Game

A lot of research went into this week's Short Story. I spent a few days researching various poisons - if anyone looks at my Google search history I could be in trouble. I always enjoy learning new things and finding out how many poisonous plants are out there was eye-opening. In the end poison didn't make it into the story, but it was interesting reading and learning about how they impact the body. Today though why not give The Dating Game a read - I hope it doesn't put you off dating!

The Dating Game


Sally bounced on her toes, dancing to her favourite song; F**kin’ Perfect by P!nk. She stirred a creamy sauce bubbling in a saucepan with her wooden spoon, tapping it on the side of the pan when she removed it. The extractor fan whirred, but the music was loud enough to cover the noise. Prawns sizzled in a saute pan to her left. A solitary strawberry sat on a white chopping board on the kitchen counter. She stepped across to the chopping board, singing along, and pulled leaves from the strawberry, picked up a small knife and sliced the fruit. She tipped the fruit into the sauce, swaying to the music, and used the hand blender. It thrummed in her hand as she blended the strawberry into the mixture.

She dipped a finger into the creamy mixture and licked it. A smile spread across her face. She dropped the blender into the sink and picked up the saute pan, shaking it to dislodge prawns stuck to the bottom, then tipped them into the strawberry sauce. A cooker timer beeped, and she tapped a small button next to the clock on the cooker, and the alarm stopped.

Soft spaghetti bobbed in another saucepan of boiling water. She twisted a knob, turning the gas off, picked up a colander, grabbed the pan of spaghetti and drained the pasta water. With the pasta drained, she took it back to the hob where she dropped it into the cream with the prawns. The empty pans clanged as she dropped them into the sink. Using the wooden spoon, she stirred the spaghetti and prawns into the sauce, turning them over and mixing, coating it in her ‘secret’ sauce.

She kept the spaghetti and prawns warm on the hob and laid the wooden spoon on a kitchen towel on the counter. Sally danced to the fridge and tugged on the door. She pulled out a bottle of wine and opened it while bouncing from foot to foot. Her phone dinged, and she rushed to pick it up. She grinned at the screen and let out an excited squeak. She put the phone back on the table next to her place setting. 

All morning she’d cleaned the dining area, wiping the glass table, putting out table settings and crockery, and making the place smell inviting. Now she looked around, surveying her hard work. Clean white plates sat at opposite ends of the table, tall wine glasses to one side, cutlery on both sides of the plate. A short vase filled with water beads sat in the centre. Sally spied a knife askew and hurried to the table to adjust its position. With the wine bottle in hand, she poured wine into the tall glasses and put down the bottle.

She stared at her wineglass. Bubbles danced in the liquid and Sally swallowed the saliva in her mouth. She reached over for her wineglass, tipped it back and gulped the wine, then refilled her glass. She smirked at herself. The song reached its climax and Sally danced in circles in the middle of the room. She spun on her toes, waving her arms in the air, and laughed. 

A bang on the door made her jump, and she stopped dancing and looked at the screen built into the wall. Mickey stood in front of her door holding a bouquet of white lilies. Every few seconds he glanced behind him. She tapped her phone, and the music stopped.

Her stomach fluttered as she wandered to the door. She smiled at her guest as the door swung open.

“Hi,” he handed her the flowers, “these are for you. Your favourites, right?”

“Yes. Thank you. Why don’t you come in? I’m about to serve.”

Sally stepped back, and he took a few steps into her apartment before looking at her.

“You look beautiful.” he said.

She turned her back to him, hiding the sneer, and closed the door.


Sally dropped the lilies onto the counter next to the hob and turned to Mickey.

“Have a seat, I’ll dish up.”

The black leather chair’s wooden feet scraped against the tiles as Mickey pulled it from under the table. He pulled up his jeans before sitting and leaned back on the chair, watching her. Her skirt flicked as she spun on her heels and grabbed the spaghetti pan. With the pan in hand she wandered back to the table and using her plastic tongues she laid spaghetti and prawns onto his plate. She dished out her own food, then returned the pan to the hob. Without a word, she walked over to the table and sat across from him. 

“Enjoy” she said.

He smiled. He looked at his food and picked up the cutlery. “What’s in the sauce?” he said.

“It’s my secret recipe.”

“It looks delicious.”

Sally’s eyes sparkled as she watched him poke his fork into the spaghetti, twisting and pulling. He shovelled the spaghetti into his mouth, chewed, and swallowed. She grinned. She picked up her own cutlery and began eating. With each mouthful he took, her grin grew. 

“So, what were you like as a kid?” he asked.

She finished her mouthful of spaghetti and shrugged. “Like any other kid, I guess. Ran around, played with toys, the usual. You?”

He shovelled another forkful into his mouth and swallowed. “I loved going out on my bike, I’d ride around for hours with my friends. I guess it must’ve stuck ‘cause I still love riding. Every Sunday I choose a new circuit. And you know, if you ever want to come with me, you’re always welcome.” he grinned.

When she didn’t answer he looked up. His brows pinched together. 

“Everything okay, Sally?”

Mickey put his cutlery onto the plate. “Sally?” He leaned back in his chair. “Did I say something wrong?”

Sally sat across from him, unmoving, like a porcelain doll showcased on a shelf. A smile plastered on her face, her eyes wide. 

The crease in his forehead deepened, and he clutched his stomach. He moaned and doubled over. “Um, Sal- What was in th-” he coughed, “the sauce?” 

His eyes widened, and he turned to look at her. She smirked but didn’t move. Colour faded from his face as he clung to his midriff. He shook his head. He gulped for air, but as he got less oxygen with each breath he waved his hands at Sally. With the smirk pasted on her face, and her eyes wild, she watched him reach into his jeans pocket while trying to press on his stomach with the other arm. He pulled out an EpiPen.

Sally lunged. Jumping up from her seat and ping across the room at Mickey. She grabbed the pen from him. He breathed a sigh of relief, smiled, and nodded. But when Sally put the EpiPen on the table out of his reach, his smile faded and he patted his throat, mouth open. He wafted his hands at Sally. She knelt in front of him, stroked his thigh with her palm, gazed at him. But the EpiPen stayed on the table. 

He shook his head. Blinked. His lips turned a shade of blue and her smile grew. 

She got up on her knees, pressed her chest against his and whispered into his ear. “It’s nearly over now.”

He stared, the white of his eyes popping against the blue hue of his skin. He flailed his arms, but the weakness showed as they dropped to his sides. His eyelids drooped, and he lolled in his chair. 

Sally watched as his half-closed eyes glazed. She leaned in and brushed her lips against his. A tingle along her spine made her shiver, and she looked deep into the abyss behind his eyes. She caressed his cheek with the back of her hand, brushing his springy curls aside. Heat flowed through her and her heart pounded. She grasped his hair and yanked his head back. As his eyes widened for the last time she planted her lips against his, poked her tongue into his mouth, and moaned as she kissed him. 

She broke the kiss and let go of his hair. “Thank you.”

Sally pushed herself up and turned her back on him, straightening her skirt. She took a deep breath, picked up her phone from the table, and headed for the door. On opening the door, she glanced back at Mickey’s still body. 

“You were great.” she called and blew him a kiss. 

And she was gone.

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