First date

Writing prompt: Write a story about someone larger than life (superhero, werewolf, sorcerer, movie star, rock star, super spy, etc.) in one of the following situations: dealing with the mundane, on vacation, on a blind date, changing sidekicks/minions/personal assistants.

This is a fun concept for a prompt. It’s easy to make it funny – a super spy picking up his dry cleaning and trying to explain all the blood stains, or a super strong hero trying to, say, pick a flower without crushing it. The basic premise has been used a lot for comedy. Back in the ’80s, Keith Giffen and JM DeMatteis wrote much the Justice League International based on this sort of humor – I’m pretty sure Blue Beetle and Booster Gold spent more time on monitor duty than actually battling evil (and I love every panel of it). Joss Whedon used it a ton in Buffy. It’s a fun way to buck expectations and have characters act completely out of type. Sure we all know that Spider-Man had to sew that suit at some point, but actually watching him struggle with the needle is hilarious.

When I was writing “Shades of Red” I had a blast writing the scenes between the Scarlet Ranger and Asta. Their personalities couldn’t be more different, and the dynamic there, with the passionate and occasionally impulsive Scarlet struggling to deal with the always calm and one-step-ahead android, was a lot of fun.

I hinted at a romantic relationship in the story between Scarlet and another hero, the Chicago Defender. (I actually have a very brief Defender story here, if you want to see him in action.) The Defender is very much like Asta; distant, emotionally closed off, and quite reserved. Scarlet would just eat that sort of thing up. She would have a blast making him squirm, then become frustrated when he ultimately never really opened up the way most women would like. Hence the problem with their relationship, and why it’s not as stable as either of them would like.

Anyway, I thought I’d take the opportunity presented by the prompt to write about their first date. I’ve been struggling with it for the last couple weeks, mostly because there’s no end in sight. It’s two people sitting down to a meal. Nothing really happens. It’s boring. It’s awkward. They’re talking exposition, mostly, and revealing little tidbits about each other’s personalities. It’s starting to ramble and I have no idea what to do with it. Just like a real date, come to think of it.

I do introduce a new character, the French mystic Jasmine, who seems like she might be fun. I was tempted to use Sevastian, but I want to keep him in a separate universe. I may need to come up with a better name for her. That’s just what popped into my head for whatever reason.

I wouldn’t say I’m done with this, but I’ll just post it before it goes any further. It’s at about 900 words.

First Date

Kelly knew a cop when she saw one. His stiff back, closely cropped hair, clean lantern jaw, and well-muscled physique instantly marked him as someone out of his element. His stiff-collared shirt tucked into, ugh, pleated khakis. Dead giveaway. Gorgeous guy, but a big dork. He had the eyes of a detective, sweeping across the restaurant and no doubt assessing potential threats and unusual activity. He glanced around with an attitude both haughty and terrified; he knew he was more powerful than these people, but wasn’t really sure how to interact with them. The hostess spoke to him briefly, and he stumbled over his words.

Kelly cleared her throat and lazily wiggled her fingers in his direction. If he was the right guy…

He was. He immediately noticed and nodded her way. The hostess stepped aside, a bemused smile on her face, to allow him to stride past her between the tables.

“Kelly?” he asked.

“You found me,” she told him. “I assume we can save the frisking for later.”

He seemed at a loss for words.

“Relax, big guy,” she laughed and stood to shake his hand. With a few pumps, she could feel the tension draining from the man. “It’s John, right? Sorry, I’m here a little early.”

“No, no, I, I should have been here earlier,” he stammered. He moved around to push her chair in as she sat, then seated himself across from her. “It can be hard to get away from work sometimes.”

“Don’t I know it,” she said.

“Thanks for coming all the way up here,” he said as he flipped through the menu. “I know it’s a bit of a trip for you.”

“Oh, it’s fine,” she assured him. “I hardly ever get to visit Chicago. When you have friends who can teleport, there’s really no excuse.”

John ordered them a bottle of wine that Kelly had never heard of, but she took a cue from the waiter and assumed an impressed expression. While they waited, they sipped at their water.

“Oh, you look great,” he told her. She lifted her arms to show off the sleeves and neckline of her dress.

“Thanks,” she said. “Miranda made it for me. It would cost a bajillion dollars at some fancy store in LA or New York. Are you disappointed I’m not a redhead?”

“No, I, no, not at all!” He looked surprised.

“It just seems like some guys expect that. The Scarlet Ranger must have scarlet hair. Or something.”

“No, you look great. I assume you didn’t think I had blue hair.”

“You don’t have blue in your name.”

“This is true. But the force fields are kind of bluish, so.”

The wine arrived, and they swapped their water out. Kelly watched him carefully swish the wine and sip, hiding a smile behind her glass. She took a swig.

“This is excellent,” John said.

“Yeah, it’s not bad.”

They quietly surveyed their menus for a few minutes before the waiter returned. Kelly ordered the chicken parmesan, John the cavatini. After the waiter left, he nervously twisted a napkin around the base of his water glass.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “I just don’t really do this very often.”

“Hey, neither do I.”

“Oh, of course not. I just.”

Kelly had a hard time imagining this nervous guy, swallowing his words, all dressed up in the blue uniform, leading SWAT teams into crack dens.

“Um,” he said, “so are you up here just for this, or are you planning to take in some of the sights?”

She chose to let all the obvious snappy come-backs pass. In her pocket, a small gemstone awaited her touch for the trip home. Her friend, the mystic Jasmine, had provided the transportation for the evening. Jasmine had smiled coyly and suggested that Kelly not return until the morning. Jasmine had also agreed, with a roll of her eyes, to keep an eye on the city for the night. “If you insist,” she’d said in that French accent that Kelly always swore was fake, “I suppose the Astral Plane is not as important as some bank heist or whatever it is you handle here. The hordes of Hagarath shall just have to wait.”

“Ah, pretty much here just for this,” Kelly said. “It’s a great town, though. My mom grew up here, so we used to visit when I was a kid.”

“Oh, that’s great. What did she do?”

“She was a hairdresser. Kind of lame, I guess.”

“Not at all,” John told her. “Some of our most valuable informants are barbers. They’re sometimes the glue that holds a community together. Is she still doing it?”

“Ah, no. So what’s it like working with the police department like you do?” Kelly asked. If John noticed her switching the subject, he gave no sign. “Back when I first started, I got a lot of flak from the blue.”

“It’s been great,” he said. As he talked about work, he grew more confident and stopped fidgeting. “You’re right, we do have trouble from some of the…freelancers out here, but the partnership I’ve formed with the police force, the official capacity it gives me, is incredible. I’m trained on all the procedures and I can testify and all that. It’s made for an incredible conviction rate.”

“No scurrying off into the dark to avoid the flashing lights?” she smiled. “Where’s the fun in that?”

2 thoughts on “First date”

  1. You should totally turn this prompt in for credit! I like it a lot. It really gets to the spirit of the prompt that I envisioned! They are cute — I want to see what happens next.

    Then again, I’m a sucker for the reality in a superhero’s life. 😉

  2. I’ll definitely turn it in. I was going to try and end it a little more…satisfactorily? I dunno. I could go on like this for 5,000 words, easy. I love them both.

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