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Attack of the rubber bandit

September 9, 2012
By KELLY VAN DE WALLE (vandkel@hotmail.com) , Times-Republican

I don't mean to brag, but before I was married I went on oodles of dates. Like, easily more than four by at LEAST one. AND they were all human girls. Who came along. VOLUNTARILY.

Soooo, suck on that dreamboat Zach Efron.

Contrary to what my dates were obviously thinking, not every auditioning partner was a winner. Though I could tell they were immediately impressed by continually referring to them as my "partner."

"Hello, I'm Kelly. I'll be your date partner for tonight," I'd say, tipping my prop cowboy hat very gentlemanly. Unfortunately many potential mates were crushing too hard on me and had to leave the date early, often before it even started.

Of them all, though, one stands alone as the Stupidest Night in America.

In college I hosted a radio program with a friend where we were paid in pretzels to annoy listeners by talking too much and not playing music. I'm not sure if that was our job, but that's what we did. One evening a lady listener called in to chat for an hour off-air. I mean, who doesn't call radio stations to chat with the on-air talent? Clearly this was the result of the fame associated with being a college disc jockey and consequently would be something I'd have to learn to deal with. Before hanging up, she asked me out.

"Sure," I said. Because, really, what can go wrong making a blind date with a stranger that called you on the radio just to chat? We've all done it.

At her request we met in a public park like spies exchanging sensitive political information. To my surprise, she was not alone. She brought a friend, for protection I assume. However her friend was roughly the same size and shape as a duck. So unless she flap-assaulted me I didn't see what type of protection she'd be offering. Of course, I didn't care. My male brain simply thought:

"Hey, TWO lady dates. We're very studly!" and "When we repeat this story to friends the duck friend will be tall, slender and we will compare her to Angelina Jolie."

Then my hypothalamus gave my hippocampus a mental high-five.

My "date" was cute, dark hair and a nice smile. I don't know what type of animal she most resembled. In height, probably an adolescent llama.

I climbed in the duck's back seat, which is when things got weird.

"So I thought we'd go to dinner," I suggested as a normal person might as my date slid into the back seat with me. I gave the duck a look that said, "I'm not paying for you but we can stop by the store and pick you up a loaf of bread or something."

"We already ate," duck replied.

"Oh. Well. That's fine. I'll just gnaw on the seatbelt and pretend it's jerky or something."

"Great!"

"What did you have in mind, then?" I asked.

"I figured we'd drive around and shoot rubber bands at people," my date said.

"Okay," I replied, chuckling, not thinking for a moment she was remotely serious. I found myself drawn to her sense of humor and slender, llama-like neck.

Like a demented magician, she conjured a wooden pistol from out of nowhere and showed it to me. I'm not sure what one says to a person when they reveal a weapon on a date so I smiled and tried not to make any sudden movements that would activate more crazy.

That was when my date rolled down the window and proceeded to fire round after round of colored rubber circles at pedestrians. Meanwhile I sat in the back seat, stunned at the life decisions I'd made that led me here and wondered how I'd fare in prison.

"Do you want to shoot?" she asked, politely.

I stared at her like someone would stare at Madeline Albright if she were giving a keynote speech and then was suddenly covered in bees. I didn't know what to do, this being my first drive-by-shooting and all. What was the protocol?

"No thanks. I just got done shooting bottle caps at toddlers with my slingshot."

"I got him!" the lamest assassin ever shouted, ignoring me, elated at hitting a jogger crossing an intersection.

It's amazing how cheerful stupid people can be with themselves. Though, to be honest, hitting a jogging pedestrian with a rubber band while in a moving vehicle IS pretty impressive.

I often wonder what the jogger's reaction was. My guess? Puzzled and slightly annoyed. I could've probably elicited the same reaction had I ran up behind him and gave him a sudden yet passion-filled bear hug. But that doesn't have near the thrill of rubber circle firearms. And that would just be weird.

I soon found out there was a way to ramp up the excitement level of this train wreck of an evening. Without warning (well, maybe there was some kind of duck-to-psycho telepathic message, I don't know) the duck stopped the car in the middle of the street to allow my date the opportunity to leave the confines of the rear seat and climb into the trunk. Because, at this point, that was the next logical step.

For the next few miles she was riding back there and, at every stop sign or red light, she would pop out like a jack-in-the-box and plunk the car behind us, the rubber bands ricocheting harmlessly off the windshield.

"Isn't this great?!" the duck would ask me, seriously.

"Absolutely!" I replied, frantically writing "HELP ME I'VE BEEN KIDNAPPED" on an old McDonald's bag.

At this point the night was still young and I didn't know what was next, though I envisioned dipping miniature deer figurines in butterscotch or something a little exciting, like grand larceny or setting barrels of trash on fire. I didn't care to find out. During a stop/ambush I dove out and made a break for it, the sound of manic laughter and rubber bands being fired over my shoulder fading into the night.

---

Kelly Van De Walle is the senior creative & marketing writer for Briscoe14 Communications (www.briscoe14.com). He can be reached at vandkel@hotmail.com or via his hobo nickname Whisky Knapsack. Follow Kelly on Twitter @pancake_bunny if you're not some kind of loon.

 
 

 

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