Chapter 8 - Hostage
I had really done it this time. Under great duress, I had agreed to a blind date with Larry. My friend Christine had described him as an unusual guy with a great career. She had met him at a Diet Center. “He has lost over one hundred pounds so far. He’s half way to his goal.” Appealing to my sense of decency and compassion, she said, “I know that appearances aren’t important to you.” She paused, “… they’re not important to him either.” This was a comment, from a thick-ankled girl who could be mistaken for a Budweisser Clydesdale.
Promptly at the pre-determined time, the doorbell rang. I opened the door to find a reasonable facsimile of the Michelin tire man. From head to toe, this guy gained width. His tiny, obviously balding little head had a few sprigs of hair that were creatively combed forward from the back-part that originated at his collar. His head was propped on narrow sloping shoulders and his chest widened into a huge hanging stomach that overlapped his thighs. The most amazing thing about this man’s shape was that it was balanced on a pair of size six loafers. The weather promised to be a scorcher, but Larry showed up dressed for a blizzard. This fact may have been overlooked if Larry hadn’t been perspiring through his sweater.
I offered Larry something to drink and asked about the day’s plans. I returned from the kitchen only to discover that a horrific odor had taken over the living room. What the hell was it? Old garbage? Body Odor? No. At first, I couldn’t pin point it. Fritos? Then I spotted the source. Larry had removed his shoes. Whoa! I didn’t want to appear rude so I didn’t say anything. But, my eyes began to water.
I wanted to discuss where we were going but Larry assured me that he had planned a big surprise. He ushered me out to his convertible sports car. The top was up.
“It’s a beautiful day. Why don’t we put the top down?” I suggested. I hoped.
“After a while,” he explained. “After we get out of the city.”
Out of the city? That could only mean one thing. A day trip?! Several hours. A hostage date. What could I do? I had already agreed to go.
So we loaded into the car, with the top up. I was out for the whole day with a man who I didn’t know, headed for an unknown destination. The stuff 48 Hours investigations are made of.
Larry monopolized the conversation with stories of his personal success, his women, his work, and his body. He discussed his weight loss success, explaining that he ate, mainly, pre-packaged diet foods. He felt compelled to inform me that one of the major side effects related to eating artificially flavored foods is flatulence. At first, I wondered why anyone would mention that on a first date. But, then Larry began to… fart. He was relentless. I was getting light-headed. Asphyxiation seemed inevitable. I was almost certain that Larry was going to deflate. If it wasn’t for the seatbelt holding him in place, Larry might have propelled himself right through the canvas roof of the car. I pleaded with Larry to put down to convertible top. He finally agreed.
I was finally enjoying the ride. The sun felt great and the wind was in my hair. It was a hot day and poor Larry was dressed for a snow storm. Perspiration was pouring off of him. Even his hair-flap had become damp and was no longer flapping in the breeze. After a while, I suppose, Larry could no longer take the heat. He pulled the car to the side of the road, got out and began peeling the clothes from his body. What a treat. Off came the wool sweater. Off came the button down polyester shirt. So there he stood in his sweat soaked V-neck undershirt. I silently prayed that he would spare me and end his striptease then. I questioned the existence of a God when, with a wink and a smile, Larry peeled the undershirt from his body. Eew! He did a pseudo-flex, looked over at me and said, “Ah, that’s better, isn’t it?”
Because of his drastic weight loss, excess skin and lack of muscle tone, his fleshy body was jiggling all over the car like a Jell-O mold on the way to a picnic.
Larry kept assuring me that he had a special plan for us. I knew that we were headed north when we had left my house in Los Angeles. The ride seemed to last for hours. We had been through many highway interchanges and canyons. I was growing weak from hunger and my mind began to wonder. Then I spotted a sign that said, “You are now entering a National Forest,” I began panic. Did Larry’s “special” plan include a homicide?
“Listen Larry,” I said adamantly, “I hardly know you. I stupidly got into your car and you won’t tell me where you’re taking me. All you have told me is that I will be surprised. Tell me now! Are you going to kill me and leave my body in a ditch?” I informed him that I left his name and number with my family members.
Larry chuckled, put his hand on my thigh, a little too close to the crotch for my liking, and said, “Relax. We’re almost there.”
He turned his car up a narrow dirt road. After about five more minutes, Larry stopped in the parking lot of the “Forest Inn.” He told me to wait while he checked us in. What!? Check us in? Over my dead body!
“Hey, you wait a minute.” I mouthed off. “I’m not staying here overnight … with you!” I was pretty brave for a woman who had a two hundred mile walk home. Larry looked surprised, then disappointed.
He began to apologize, “I just thought …”
“Well, you thought wrong! Is this the surprise?”
I suppose he thought that it was worth a try when he suggested that we have dinner anyway. Dizzy with anger and weak from hunger, not to mention the long walk home ahead of me, I agreed to eat dinner with him.
It was a charming little restaurant. Larry was making an effort to make it up to me. He ordered a nice bottle of wine. I hadn’t eaten for hours and my head began to get fuzzy after just one glass. Larry reached across the table and took hold of my hands. I couldn’t concentrate on what he was saying to me because, at that moment, I was experiencing excruciating pain. Larry was holding and pressing my hands into the tines of the salad fork, and the pressure intensified as Larry was making his point. I couldn’t get loose. When he waitress came with the food Larry loosened his grip.
Admittedly, I was very hungry, but Larry acted as if he had never seen food before. Eureka and Hoover have nothing on Larry. He sucked up his dinner with such force, that I had to hold onto my chair. I was tempted to ask if he came with upholstery and drapery attachments.
The combination of the very long day, the fear of death, the heat, the puncture wounds plus the red wine, all culminated into a massive headache. Lapsing into a coma would have been a welcome relief. It was getting late and we had a long drive ahead of us. I decided not to mention it to Larry. I wasn’t in the mood for a conversation.
When we finally arrived at my house, Larry walked me to the door. He admitted that he knew that our date had not worked out too well, but asked if he could give me a goodnight kiss. What the hell, I thought. Although he had wasted it on me, he did go to a lot of trouble to arrange a surprising day. I leaned toward him to give and receive a gentle kiss. In one motion, Larry licked his lips, grabbed my ass with both hands, pulled me against him and attempted to perform a throat culture with his tongue. My gag reflexes kicked in and he withdrew.
As Larry walked away he told me that, the kiss would not turn his car’s speedometer back four hundred miles or refund his deposit for the motel room, but he realized that it would have to do.