If you’re a rural kid of dating age, before you go home from a date, you park on lonely roads or in the driveways of empty farms to make-out or talk. If your date has a sense of humor, or, if he’s just plain mean, he might park you near a graveyard. My plan for *Bobby, a city boy, is to talk.
Bobby and I have known each other since we were children. We’ve always been friends, but in the last couple of years, he has hinted that we should date. Even though I’m against mixing friendship and dating, I’m out with him on a date.
It’s nearing midnight and near the end of our date when Bobby parks us on a gravel road, that I’m not familiar with, but not far from where I live. The summer night is hot and muggy so Bobby has his window rolled down. I never tell the boys I date that I’m scared of the dark because one of them used it against me – once. The moon is half shining which makes the night spooky enough to entertain my imagination. Outside, we hear nighttime noises that compete with our conversations.
My window is rolled up because, not only am I scared of the dark, but because of what you might find in the dark like spiders and webs, ghosts and drunks wandering the woods lost in their stupor. I make a quick check of my door lock, then wipe down the windshield again. The windows are fog up and I blame my friend-date, thinking he might be breathing heavily. The radio is on and playing songs that I like, but I can’t enjoy them since I’m worried that Bobby might run down the battery.
“I know you hate the dark, You can move closer if you want,” Bobby says, patting the seat next to him.
“Uh huh,” I say, trying to remember when I told him about my fear. “It just seems creepy dating you.”
Bobby laughs. “Thanks a lot.”
“You know what I mean. We’re friends and on a date. Besides, I’m fine right where I am.”
“Did you like the movie?” he asks.
“Yep,” I say, in the middle of a frog song.
“Noisy out here,” he says and reaches for my hand.
I let him hold my hand and then I say, “Really, I’m ok over here.”
Bobby sighs then says, “Did you hear in the news the other day about the couple who were on a date? They were parked on a secluded road. They were kissing and stuff and steamed up the windows. Then a news bulletin comes over the radio and interrupts the music to report that a killer has escape from somewhere. The girl is scared and asks her boyfriend to take her home. He tries to start the car, but it won’t start. The guy gets out and looks under the hood, doesn’t see anything wrong. Then he says he’s going for help and that no matter what happens she needs to stay in the car. After he leaves it starts to rain. The rain causes her to fall asleep only to be awakened later by a thump on the car. She tries to see outside the car, but she can’t see anything. The noise stops. Then the rain stops except for a dripping from the trees above the car, she assumes. She falls asleep again and the next time she is awakened, it’s from a knock on the window. She rolls down her window and finds a police officer. 'Miss, you need to get out of the car and come with me. And most importantly, do not look back at the car,' the officer says. He helps her out of the car and as they walk away, the girl can’t help herself – she looks back. Hanging in the tree above the car is her murder boyfriend – drained of blood.”
“What?” I say.
Bobby has moved closer now and is watching my face. “Life is short, huh? Boy that was a terrible crime.” He shakes his head.
“That is a terrible crime. And that makes three different versions I’ve heard by now,” I say, smiling. “Maybe you should check the engine.”
Instead of his usual comeback, Bobby starts the car and takes me home.