It all happened at Text Appeal, the Literary Dating thing at the State Library of Victoria. I got shanghai’d again to participate (there is curiously enough a bit of a dearth of single women here at the Library).
So there I was, sitting at a very long table, talking to lots of Strange Men.
The first guy I dated was called Magnus. He’d brought along a copy of Where’s Wally, and was looking at me very strangely and… sniffing. I felt a bit like I was being stalked by a Black Rider from Lord of the Rings (albeit a Black Rider wearing a stripy red and white vest and a little red hat).
‘Is everything alright?’ I asked.
He sniffed again. ‘Are you wearing Olene, the perfume by Diptych?’ he asked.
I raised my eyebrows. ‘Yeah, I am.’
‘That’s Nicole Kidman’s perfume,’ he said with a nod.
‘O-kay.’ This guy was either a) a stalker, b) a superhero/genetic mutant with advanced olfactory powers or c) gay. But a gay man would have brought a better book.
Boy number 2 was Horatio. He had a copy of Robin Klein’s People Might Hear You, and looked as if he were in Year 9.
‘That’s a great book,’ I said.
He squirmed a little. ‘Yeah,’ he said, his voice breaking a little. ‘I really like that bit with the wedge tail eagles fighting each other.’
‘Uh-huh.’ I said. Surely if you hadn’t read the book, you’d make up a more convincing lie? Like I really liked the thing she said to him when they were at that place doing that thing.
I looked down at my fingernails and wondered if I’d been sucked into some sort of time vortex where three minutes lasted for a whole year. Horatio squeezed a pimple, and grinned at me.
‘Wanna pash?’ he said, wiping the white gunk on the tablecloth.
Man number 3 looked strangely familiar.
‘Have we met before?’ I asked.
He shook his head and smiled enigmatically. His book was Truman Capote’s In Cold Blood, and he had a theory that the chapter headings were actually a secret code that spelled out the location of the Holy Grail. His voice sounded like gravel in a blender. There was something strangely appealing about his craggy, brownish-red face and his excess of black hair and his prominent brows. I still had a nagging feeling I’d seen him somewhere before.
He’d just told me that his favourite movie was Sesame Street’s Chariots of Fur, when suddenly there was a deafening high pitched squeal.
‘U-G-L-Y, You aint got no alibi…’
About fifty of the well-known crazed Melbourne Zombie Cheerleaders burst into Experimedia and started attacking the daters.
I got to my feet, knocking over my chair. Could we still count the 80 people there in our KPIs if they were brutally slaughtered at our event?
My date also stood up, and pulled an electric guitar and microphone out of his terribly well designed Mary-Poppins-style carpet bag.
Of course! I realised. It was Mr Lordi, the lead singer of Eurovision-winning Orc Band Lordi!
Then he began to sing the lyrics to Hard Rock Hallelujiah.
The cheerleaders couldn’t handle it. They fell to the ground, clutching their ears and writhing in pain. The other daters rushed over to the zombie cheerleaders and started beating them up with their books, wrapping the decorative fairy lights around their necks and scratching them with the thorns from the roses.
And so books and love and Mr Lordi overcame evil. Hurrah!
*This blog post is entirely fictional, and should not in any way represent the quality of participants at Text Appeal. You were all really nice.